60 Seconds with Elspeth McCoull

Elspeth McCoull attended the Award in Leadership for Teachers programme in 2015. She shares her thoughts on teaching, the Gaelic-language in education, and why it’s so important for teachers and other education practitioners to keep developing their leadership learning.

Chaidh Elspeth McCoull tro phrògram Duais ann an Ceannardas do Thidsearan ann an 2015. Ann an seo, tha i a’ toirt a smuaintean air teagasg, a bhith a’ cleachdadh a’ chànain Gàidhlig ann an foghlam agus air carson a tha e cho cudromach do thidsearan agus luchd-cleachdaidh foghlaim eile a chumail orra am foghlam ceannardais a leasachadh

 

1. What inspired you to become a teacher?  Dè thug brosnachadh dhut a bhith nad thidsear?

While I was at university studying Gaelic I worked with children in school holiday play programmes and did a bit of tutoring. I really enjoyed working with children and supporting their learning.

Nuair a bha mi a’ dèanamh ceum ann an Gàidhlig ann an oilthigh, bha mi ag obair còmhla ri cloinn ann an prògraman cluich làithean-saora agus a’ toirt taic dhaibh cuideachd. Chòrd e rium cho mòr a bhith ag obair le cloinn agus a bhith a’ toirt taic dhaibh anns an t-ionnsachadh aca.

 

2. What does a day in your school look like? Cò ris a bhios latha anns an sgoil agad coltach?

The school day is a busy one, its 3:15pm before you know it! I’m kept busy with pupils coming to discuss their work with me! The teachers work hard to create a positive learning environment and the happy ethos of the school is lovely.

Tha an là sgoile cho trang ’s gum bi e 3.15 feasgar mus am bi fios agad! Bidh mi air mo chumail trang le clann a’ tighinn a-steach a bhruidhinn rium mu dheidhinn an obair aca! Bidh na tidsearan ag obair cruaidh gus àrainneachd ionnsachaidh dòchasach a chruthachadh agus tha spiorad toilichte na sgoile sgoinneil 

 

3. What motivated you to take the time and space to develop your leadership? Dè thug ort ùine agus greis a chur seachad gus do cheannardas a leasachadh?

As a new Head Teacher I was interested in developing my skills and knowledge to understand leadership and to become an effective leader. It was a bonus to find something that was specific to Gaelic.

Mar Cheannard ùr, bha ùidh agam ann a bhith a leasachadh na sgilean agus am fiosrachadh a bha agam gus ceannardas a thuigsinn agus a bhith nam cheannard èifeachdach. Bha e na buannachd cùrsa a lorg a bha sònraichte do Ghàidhlig.

 

4. Was there something specific you learned that challenged your perceptions? An do dh’ionnsaich thu rudeigin sònraichte a thug dùbhlan do na beachdan agad?

I found the theories of leadership most useful, it challenged things that I thought I knew about myself. It was great to have the time to reflect and challenge the ideas that you have about yourself.

Nam bheachdsa, bha na feallsanachdan air ceannardas nas fheumaile dhòmhsa oir bha mi a’ ceasnachadh rudan a shaoil mi a b’ aithne dhomh mu mo dheidhinn fhìn. Bha e sgoinneil ùine a bhiodh agad a bhith a chnuasachadh agus a cheasnachadh na beachdan a bhiodh agad mu do dheidhinn fhìn.

 

5. What impact has your learning had on your role as a Head Teacher? Dè am buaidh a bha aig na rudan a dh’ionnsaich thu air do dhreuchd mar Cheannard?

I think I’m clearer now about my areas for development as a leader. I learned a lot about applying different leadership styles in different situations and why you have to learn to adapt and not stick to your preferred style. It’s made me step out of my comfort zone.

Saoilidh mi gu bheil mi nas shoilleire air na rudan a dh’fheumas mi a leasachadh airson a bhith nam cheannard. Dh’ionnsaich mi tòrr mu dheidhinn a bhith a’ cleachdadh stoidhlean ceannardais eadar-dhealaichte anns na suidheachaidhean eadar-dhealaichte, agus carson a dh’fheumas tu ionnsachadh air atharrachadh an àite a bhith a’ cumail ris an stoidhle às fhèarr leat fhèin. Thug e orm a bhith a’ dèanamh rudan air nach robh mi cho cofhurtail.

 

6. Could it be something other teachers or practitioners benefit from? Am faod tidsearan eile no luchd-cleachdaidh eile buannachd fhaighinn às a’ chùrsa seo?

I think teachers at all levels would benefit from doing this course. It is relevant to everyone, not just those who are in promoted posts. We’re focussing on leadership at all levels now so it is a very beneficial course for everyone.

Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gum faigheadh tidsearan aig gach ìre buannachd às  a’ chùrsa seo.   Chan eil e dìreach freagarrach do dhaoine anns na h-àrd-dhreuchdan ach tha e freagarrach don a h-uile duine.  Tha sinn a’ cur fòcas air ceannardais aig gach ìre a-nis, agus mar sin s ’e cùrsa glè luachmhor a tha ann don a h-uile duine 

 

7. What impact do Gaelic-medium classes have on young people? Dè am buaidh a bhios clasaichean tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig a’ toirt air daoine òga?

Gaelic medium classes provide many advantages for pupils. They are becoming bilingual which opens up many doors for them but there are also cultural advantages too. The Gaelic history and culture is a rich one and so that provides great opportunities for pupils to enrich their learning.

Tha clasaichean tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig a’ toirt iomadh buannachd do sgoilearan.  Bidh iad a’ fàs dà-chànanach agus bidh sin a’ toirt tòrr cothroman dhaibh ach tha buannachdan cultarail ann cuideachd.  Tha eachdraidh agus cultar nan Gàidheil cho beartach agus bidh sin a’ toirt cothroman sgoinneil do sgoilearan gus an t-ionnsachadh aca a leasachadh. 

 

8. Are there challenges that Gaelic-speaking teachers specifically face in their roles? A bheil duilgheadasan sònraichte ann do thidsearan le Gàidhlig anns an dreuchdan aca? 

One of the key areas that I think is challenging for Gaelic teachers is finding courses specific to GME. That’s why this course was so valuable, it provided the opportunity to participate in a course that was specific to GME and that was delivered in Gaelic. It was an excellent networking opportunity. Resources are an issue too.

Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gur e dìth cùrsaichean sònraichte do Ghàidhlig aon de na duilgheadasan a tha ann do thidsearan Gàidhlig.  ‘S e sin an adhbhar a bha a’ chùrsa seo cho luachmhor oir thug e cothrom dhomh pàirt a ghabhail ann an cùrsa a bha sònraichte do FMG a bha air a lìbhrigeadh ann an Gàidhlig.  B’ e sàr-chothrom a bh’ann airson coinneachadh ri daoine eile cuideachd.  Tha cion goireasan na dhuilgheadas cuideachd. 

 

9. What are your thoughts on the value and availability of Gaelic-medium classes for these teachers or other practitioners? A bheil thu den bheachd gu bheil gu leòr cùrsaichean Gàidhlig ann do thidsearan no luchd-cleachdaidh eile?

Courses specific to GME and delivered in Gaelic are difficult to find so that made this course even more valuable. Although networking opportunities across the country are getting better for Gaelic teachers there is still a need out there for specific GME course that are delivered in Gaelic.

Tha e doirbh cùrsaichean sònraichte do FMG a tha air an lìbhrigeadh ann an Gàidhlig fhaighinn, agus mar sin, bha a’ chùrsa seo fada nas luachmhoire.  Ged a tha na cothroman do thidsearan Gàidhlig coinneachadh ri chèile air fàs air feadh Alba, tha feum ann fhathast airson cùrsaichean sònraichte.

 

10. And if you were to share one key lesson with other teachers or practitioners out there, what would it be?

Networking and sharing is crucial in education and even more so with GME as practitioners are often wide spread and can at times feel isolated within their authority or even their school. This course was an excellent opportunity to meet and develop links with other GME practitioners.

Tha e deatamach ann am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig gu bheil tidsearan a’ faighinn an cothrom coinneachadh ri chèile oir bidh luchd-cleachdaidh sgapte mar is trice, agus dh’fhaodadh iad a bhith a’ faireachdainn aonarach anns an ughdarras aca no fiùs anns an sgoil aca fhèin. B’ e deagh chothrom a bh’ann ‘s a’ chùrsa seo coinneachadh ri luchd-cleachdaidh FMG eile agus ceanglaichean a leasachadh riutha.

 

Find out more about attending this year's Gaelic Medium Award in Leadership programme, starting 11 November 2016 in Contin. 

This programme is delivered in partnership with Education Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and endorsed by the Scottish College for Educational Leadership.

 
ILM
HIE
Living Wage
Scottish Government