Orla Ní Fhinneadha
Pioneering research commissioned by TG4 and conducted by RED C Research and Marketing has found that 44% of primary school teachers use TG4/Cúla4 in the classroom, the equivalent to 10,100 teachers across the country. The estimated audience was 244,000 students.
In Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna, that figure is higher where 81% of teachers use TG4/Cúla4 in the classroom.
The research found that Cúla4 ar Scoil is a service for all students not just for those in Irish speaking schools.
In general, 18% of all teachers surveyed had used Cúla4 ar Scoil in class in the current academic year and 14% saying that they use it on a regular basis. That would mean that approximately 100,000 children had seen Cúla4 ar Scoil in class in the first term.
Caitriona Ní Chulain
A key finding in the research was that despite resource and operational challenges, a huge majority of teachers are using and have an appetite for video resources; 94% of teachers have access to a desktop in the classroom and 88% of those surveyed use visual material every week while teaching.
With visual media a key part of the lesson plan for most teachers, Irish in fact is the one subject where it is most likely to be used than any other. Just over half of all teachers (and close to two-thirds of teachers of Junior Infants up to second class) use visual media most or all of the time when teaching Irish. But visual media is also regularly used across a wide range of subjects. There is seen to be a genuine educational value in having access to video-based content for classroom and there is both a recognition and a desire to see the Irish language resources extended.
Teachers are using “short” video based content to enrich, to engage and to diversify the learning environment. 84% of teachers use YouTube in class and of those, more than one-third accessing the TG4 and/or the Cúla4 YouTube channels. This is broadly in-line with usage of the RTÉ YouTube channel.
Both the TG4 Player and the Cúla4 Player are rated on a par with RTÉ Home School Hub, while Bua na Cainte comes out best. Those teaching through Irish rate Cúla4 higher than those teaching through English, with over 90% of teachers who use it saying that it was either good or very good.
When asked why they like using Cúla4, Age Appropriate, Enjoyable/Fun and Good Variety came out strongest as the most popular reasons. Most popular Cúla4 programmes used regularly in the classroom by those teaching through Irish; 39% use Cúla4 ar Scoil regularly, 35% Is Eolaí Mé, 29% Dónall Dána, 23% SpongeBob SquarePants, 16% Scéal an Lae.
TG4's Director of Marketing, Development and Partnerships, Lís Ní Dhálaigh welcomed the results of the survey saying: "We are very grateful to the teachers who took the time to participate in this research study by Red C Marketing & Research for TG4. The findings are very encouraging for TG4 in that they show that there an educational value to using Cúla4 and TG4 content in teaching of Irish in all schools.
"We are delighted to see that all schools use Cúla4 content, not just Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools. There are great programmes available such as 'Is Eolaí Mé', 'Is Mise', 'An Siopa Ealaíne' as well as 'Cúla4 ar Scoil' that provide visual, engaging content which can support classroom learning and which can be accessed easily on the Cúla4 Player and Cúla4 YouTube Channel."
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