Sgoil-Earraich Nàiseanta 2010

This year was the second time we have had our annual residential sgoil in Canberra, and once again we stayed at the comfortable University House. This time, however, we had our classes and sessions ten minutes' walk away at the School of Music where we had some large quiet rooms to hold our classes, and for our ceilidh on the Saturday night.

The students were divided into four groups according to level of fluency from beginners to advanced learners.

Our teachers were native speakers Joan Mitchell, from the Gaelic Society of Victoria, and Kristina Nicolson, and fluent speaker Seonaidh MacFhraing. We were also treated to some music classes with Ruth Lee Martin from ANU in Canberra, who taught us some lovely songs, deceptively simple, but requiring some work to get our pronunciation right.

Our language classes covered conversation practice, with our teachers using some interesting techniques to encourage us to speak in Gaelic, and some reading, comprehension and writing.

As usual, we had a range of levels of fluency in Gaelic, from beginners right up to fluent speakers, and it was stimulating to be able to spend a whole weekend concentrating on Gaelic without having the usual distractions of home to divert our attention.

On the Saturday night we had a ceilidh, during which almost everyone presented something, whether it was a musical item on bagpipes, uileann pipes, recorder or piano, an anecdote, song, poem, or small play, and we finished up being taught some Scottish Country dances by one of our students.

After our final sessions on the Sunday, we concluded with a Gaelic-related Trivia Quiz, devised for us by Alasdair Shearer, and closely contested by two teams, with only one point difference in the final scores!