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 (general): 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. 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 your 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 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 you 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 their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their 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 our students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BA in Irish and Spanish 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. The School of Modern Languages is the smallest School in the University and because of this we foster a supportive learning environment in which we get to know each of our students individually. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- Seminars/tutorials: Almost all of the teaching in Modern Languages is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students) in English, Irish and Spanish. These provide significant opportunities for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Oral classes: Students will 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.
- Lectures: Theseare normally delivered in larger groups of approximately 40 students introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments. Only a few of our modules are delivered in this way.
- E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often 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 and for presentations etc.
- Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
- Year Abroad/Gaeltacht Placement: This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity during which students can study at university, work as an English-Language Teacher, or undertake a paid work placement etc. in a Spanish-speaking country. This feature of our degree programme gives students the opportunity for personal and professional development, further develops communication and language skills, and the experience of living abroad is important for developing intercultural awareness. Students also 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 involving approximately 40 hours of placement learning during each visit. 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.
- Personal Tutor: Students are allocated a Personal Tutor who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development. This gives students one identified contact to discuss any difficulties they might encounter and who can answer any queries they might have.