Pupils impress with their Gaelic skills

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P5 pupils from Castlehill Primary School became so proficient in Gaelic after eight weeks of lessons that they held a show featuring songs and a play written in the language.

As part of a topic on Scotland, class teacher Alison Semple invited David McEwan, formerly a music teacher at Campbeltown Grammar School, to teach the children some Gaelic.

By listening to music and drawing pictures of what they thought the songs were about, writing descriptions of the songs in English, learning some simple phrases and composing their own tune, the students developed their existing music, drama and art skills.

They adapted to the Scots language so well that they invited their family, friends and fellow students to watch them display their new skills on Monday afternoon.

They showed off their drawings and two descriptive passages were read out, giving members of the audience who may not be as accomplished in Gaelic a real feeling of what the songs encompassed.

They sang eight songs, and their own composition, accompanied by Mr McEwan on the piano.

They shared some simple phrases with the audience, said their names in Gaelic and also various place names across Scotland.

The afternoon culminated in a play, which put together all the phrases they had learned into one seamless production – the only problem was the audience trying to keep up with their impressive Gaelic!

At the end, each child – and Miss Semple – was given a certificate, written in Gaelic, to acknowledge their achievements.

Mr McEwan said: ‘Miss Semple asked me to come in and do some work with the children and when I heard the word “Gaelic” I couldn’t resist!

‘I’ve been delighted by all these young people who have given me great attention. I’ve been buoyed along by their enthusiasm and I hope that was communicated today.’

Miss Semple said: ‘All the pupils adapted extremely well, acted enthusiastically, worked hard and learned so much, as did I.

‘We would like to thank Mr McEwan very much for his patience, passion, hard work and dedication – he is extremely inspirational!’

Afterwards, the youngsters created mock newspaper front pages about the show and dropped some examples into the Courier office.

Eoin wrote: ‘The performance took about 50 minutes. We all enjoyed it. All that hard eight weeks of work for that one performance!’

Jade wrote: ‘I spoke to the very talented Mr McEwan and he said it was an honour to work with this class.’