Isle of Man News - POSTED Thu 05-01-2012

December 2011: New Manx language officer appointed

by Tessa Hawley

December 2011: New Manx language officer appointed

IT was announced in December that Rob Teare will take over as the Department of Education and Children's Manx language officer in January.


He will succeed Rosemary Derbyshire when she retires at Christmas after seven years in the post.


Mr Teare will head the Manx Language Unit (MLU), based at Unnid Ghaelgagh in Derby Road, Peel, and lead a team of peripatetic teachers who work with pupils from Key Stage 2 right through to Key Stage 5.


Developments in the teaching of Manx in schools mean there are now far greater opportunities for young people wishing to learn the Island's native language than there were when the subject was re-established in schools in 1992.

 

A new, two-year, A-level qualification has been developed, based on Irish Gaelic exams and replacing the previous modular qualification which was designed for distance learning.


The qualification is now directly comparable to other language A-levels which is important when it comes to university entry.


The MLU is responsible for producing all the necessary resources for teaching the language at all levels, including A level, as well as providing teachers for all of the Island's schools.


The team is multi-lingual and includes fluent speakers of French, Welsh, Italian, German, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Japanese whose common passion is Manx.


Mr Teare said: "The MLU tries to ensure that every child on the Island who wants to learn Manx has the opportunity.

 

"I believe that every local child should be offered the chance to learn our language.


"There will always be people who question the value of learning Manx and I suppose I would have been in that camp myself once upon a time.


"I was very fortunate to meet people like Leslie Quirk and Brian Stowell, who introduced me to the language and its fascinating and articulate way of describing the world that I otherwise never would have guessed existed.


"For me, as for many others, Manx has not only added another dimension to life on the Island, but has also been a springboard to wider language learning, which was a major advantage for me when working overseas."


A fluent Manx speaker, Mr Teare has been a teacher for 22 years and has taught students aged from seven to 70.


In addition to BA and MA degrees, he holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Education in Gaelic from Strathclyde University.


He has taught timetabled and extra-curricular lessons at 17 of the Island's 35 primary schools and all its secondary schools and has offered a Manx Gaelic dimension to other aspects of school life, running sport, music and cultural activities.


Mr Teare – also known as Bob – is a member of Yn Çheshaght Ghaelgagh (the Manx Language Society) and Coonseil ny Gaelgey (the regulatory body responsible for official translations into Manx).

 

Paul Craine, co-ordinating adviser for 11-19 Education, welcomed Mr Teare to the role.


He said: "In taking on the leadership and management of the MLU, Rob brings a remarkable level of commitment to Manx Gaelic and a determination to see others have opportunities to experience and share his passion for the language.


"I have no doubt that this small but hugely committed team will continue to flourish under his leadership."


This story is part of isleofman.com's Review of the Year 2011.

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