Course Content (including module information)
At Level 1, the two language modules are concerned exclusively with core oral and written language skills. Learning is enhanced by small-group teaching and computer-assisted language learning methods.
Optional modules include Irish Folklore - in which students study folk story, performance, ritual, belief, festival and worldview, and material culture and lifestyle - and Celtic Mythology, which explores the mythology and religious belief in Ireland and the Continent.
Levels 2 and 3
The language modules at Levels 2 and 3 not only build on the language skills acquired at Level 1, leading to fluency and proficiency in speech and writing, but also contain strands examining earlier phases of the language, dialects and phonetics.
The other modules at Levels 2 and 3 cover topics including folklore, the novel in Irish, early Irish sagas and the Irish poetic tradition. Students also have the opportunity to learn some Scottish Gaelic, a language and tradition closely related to Irish, and to study Translation and Film in the Irish Language.
At all levels of the degree, teaching and assessment are mainly through the medium of Irish, thus creating a mini-Gaeltacht that supports students' language learning.
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment: The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. There are also oral examinations which enable students to demonstrate their ability to analyse and present material in Irish and pursue high-level discussion in the target language. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards students should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once students have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high-quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support, to enable you to achieve your full academic potential.
On the BA in Irish and Politics we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course:
- Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics and outline theoretical and methodological concepts as a starting point for further study. Lectures may also provide opportunities to ask questions, and receive advice on assessments.
- Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (rarely more than 15 students). The majority of seminars and tutorials are taught by permanent members of the academic staff. Such small-group teaching provides opportunities for you to engage with active researchers who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess your own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Language classes: Almost all of the teaching in Modern Languages is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students) in English and Irish. Written language classes meet for two hours each week, and involve intensive work on developing linguistic competence, vocabulary, idiom, knowledge of grammar, comprehension and translation skills, essay-writing skills etc. Students should expect to prepare work in advance of each of these classes, where they will receive regular written and oral feedback on their work.
- Oral classes: Students have opportunities to develop oral skills and apply grammar and vocabulary in real-life, practical contexts. All these classes are taught in very small groups (typically 6-12 students) and are facilitated by native speakers.
- Residence Course: Students taking the BA in Irish and Politics spend a total of six weeks at the beginning of levels 2 and 3 on a residence course in Rinn na Feirste in the Donegal Gaeltacht. Here students engage with the spoken language in its native environment while staying in accommodation with a host family. Intensive, structured tuition is provided by qualified native Irish speakers during the course. In addition to the benefits for oral competence in Irish, the residence course provides a unique opportunity for immersion in Gaeltacht culture and establishes a tremendous esprit de corps among students.
- E-Learning technologies:Most information associated with lectures and assignments is communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: computer-based grammar learning packages in the Language Centre; interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work, interactive group workshops, online discussions, and web-based learning activities.
- Self-directed study: This is an important part of life as a Queen’s student, when private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date, and research and preparation work for assignments is carried out. Academic staff will provide tailored bibliographies for research projects and self-directed reading.
- Supervised projects and dissertations: In final year, students have the opportunity to undertake these. If they do so, they receive support from a supervisor who guides then in terms of how to carry out research and who will provide feedback on drafts of work. All supervision is undertaken by permanent members of staff, many of whom are world-class experts in their field.
- Personal Tutor: Every undergraduate has a Personal Tutor who is a member of the academic staff. The Personal Tutor meets with his/her students throughout their academic career and provides advice on personal development, employment opportunities, and their general progress through university.