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Alasdair MacPhee works as Gaelic Medium Primary teacher at Whinhill Primary School in Greenock, Inverclyde. A native Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Benbecula, his work experience placement in an island primary school inspired him to gain his B.Ed in Primary Education at the University of Strathclyde from which he graduated in 2014. Alasdair is a recognised Gaelic ambassador, and his passion for good Gaelic and Good Practice has benefitted both his pupils and colleagues throughout Scotland.

“In secondary school I got the opportunity to spend time working in a primary school, and from that moment I was sure I wanted to be a teacher, to make a difference in young people’s lives and bring Gaelic culture and heritage alive to them in exciting ways.

I enjoy using Gaelic in my daily work. It is a pleasure to teach the language to children in Gaelic Medium Education and throughout the school as part of 1+2 Languages. As a teacher in Gaelic, it is very important to find different strategies to teach the language. Therefore, I use Gaelic music to teach Gaelic culture to my pupils whilst also developing their language skills. I have set up clubs and choirs to give them the opportunity to use the language outside the classroom.

As soon as I started teaching, I realised that our relationships with our pupils were the most important part of learning and teaching. We must ensure we understand their needs and fight hard for everything that they require to succeed.

I once worked with a teacher who said that the teacher was the absolutely best resource we had for keeping Gaelic alive. I think about her words often to keep myself going! Teachers of the highest quality in the Gaelic classroom have an incredibly positive impact upon pupils’ attainment – and we must commit to doing our best to achieving just that.

In Gaelic Medium Education, professional development at any level has a deep impact upon what occurs in our classrooms. Therefore, I aim to develop opportunities for me and other teachers. I created a Facebook group as a place for colleagues from across the country to share resources and communicate with each other.

Teaching through the Medium of Gaelic is an incredible job. There are many benefits for both teachers and pupils. It is essential for me that pupils are encouraged to expand their abilities and talents. Each one of my pupils raise my spirit every day, so it is my pleasure to work to ensure that every single one of them reaches their full potential.”

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