Exploring children’s knowledge of Irish and European symbols: A comparison of Irish-medium and English-medium primary school children

Louise Lennon Malbasha, Jocelyn Dautel, Laura K. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Knowledge of symbols, which can be influenced by school ethos, informs identityconstruction in primary school children. This study aimed to explore Gaelscoil (Irish medium) and English-medium primary school children’s familiarity with Irish and European symbols. Thirty 9 to 12-year-old children in Ireland participated in this study; 15 from two Irish-medium and 15 from an English-medium primary school. A draw-and-tell data collection design was used and qualitative data was analysed using the constant comparative
method. Results indicate children from both school types shared a number of Irish symbols, namely Irish emblems, Irish mythology, sports and material aspects of culture. Irish-medium primary school children had two further Irish symbol categories, the past as a symbol and physical characteristics of Ireland. European symbols shared across children from both school types included signifiers of the European Union (EU), monetary symbols and European countries. The Irish-medium primary school children had two further categories,
Europe through an Irish lens and European cuisine, while the English-medium children had one further category, sport. The results suggest that by middle childhood, children in both school types have knowledge about a number of symbols associated with both national and European identities. Implications for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Educational Studies
Early online date13 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 13 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Children
  • draw-and-tell method
  • National identity
  • European identity
  • Irish
  • European

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Education

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