Guest blog: High standards at the Royal National Mod
Allan Campbell, Senior Adjudicator at the Royal National Mod, discusses the impressive language skills on display at this year’s competition.
‘S e beul a labhras ach ‘s e an gnìomh a dhearbhas! A Gaelic version of the proverb “actions speak louder than words”, but in the children’s competitions at the Royal National Mod in Dunoon last week it was speech that was particularly special for me as one of those involved in adjudicating 1,536 young people in 116 competitions.
Mod competitions assess a variety of linguistic and musical abilities and, depending on how many events they may be involved in, participants can be required to memorise substantial amounts of prose and verse. This is challenging for competitors of all ages, but in my personal opinion the ultimate test of language ability is in conversation and story-telling competitions.
It was a privilege to have been an adjudicator in those competitions for upper primary school pupils at the Dunoon Mod. Conversational ability was generally confident and relaxed, and children also demonstrated humour in their use of Gaelic.
The story-telling competitions were outstanding, and in the 10-11 year-old sector in particular I found myself awarding the highest range of marks I have ever given in any Mod competition! This was a result of exceptional performance standards, and while the highlights concerts broadcast on television reflected these standards to an extent the programmes could not fully demonstrate the consistently high overall quality of competition.
There is no doubt in my mind that Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is a major contributing factor to this most encouraging growth in language confidence and competence. These Mod performances provide further evidence of a successful Gaelic-English bilingual sector in Scottish education which offers a good quality education and is demonstrating excellent levels of attainment.
I hope that the images and sounds emanating from Dunoon’s Mod will attract new learners, and lapsed users, to the language as well as encouraging more parents to choose GME for their children. Another encouraging feature of this year’s Mod was the degree of integration of Gaelic language development activity by a variety of public, voluntary and private organisations.
What more could we do to promote and encourage the growth of Gaelic medium education in Scottish schools?
Royal National Mod
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