Dr Ingeborg Birnie

Senior Lecturer

Education

Contact

Personal statement

I am a senior lecturer in the School of Education. My research interests are focussed on (minority) languages in and for teaching that go beyond the bounded notions of identity and culture. I lead the Council of Europe's European Centre for Modern Languages PALINGUI - language learning pathways of young children – making language learning visible - project and I am the co-chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education Languages Group which is responsible for the National Framework for Languages and associated resources as well as the Plurilingual Classrooms in Action MOOC (hosted through FutureLearn) - for which I created the content for the diversity and intercultural awareness section. The promotion of social networks (real and virtual) for the use of (minority) language(s) is at the heart of my research and I am the Chair of Working Group 4 of the COST+ Action Language in the Human Machine Era (LITHME) and also influences my work with the Erasmus+ project Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion. I lead and teach on a range of different modules across the School of Education, many focussed on the teaching and learning of languages or on the Early Years and Childhood practice. I supervise a large number of doctoral students, typically with a focus on language learning and teaching. I am currently the chair and Editor in Chief of the Northern Scotland Journal (Edinburgh University Press). I am registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Institute. I have acted as an external examiner for EdD and PhD doctoral thesis and I was invited to be external expert on an initial teacher education reaccreditation panel. I hold a number of external examiner positions at different Universities. I regularly appear on BBC programmes, including news contributions and input to current affairs programmes to talk about my work in Gaelic and education.

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Teaching

I lead and teach on a range of different modules across the School of Education, many focussed on the teaching and learning of languages or on the Early Years and Childhood practice. I supervise a large number of doctoral students, typically with a focus on language learning and teaching. I am currently the chair and Editor in Chief of the Northern Scotland Journal (Edinburgh University Press) and amregistered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). I was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Institute in 2021. I have acted as an external examiner for EdD and PhD doctoral thesis and I was invited to be external expert on an initial teacher education reaccreditation panel. I hold a number of external examiner positions at the University of the Highlands and Islands (including the BA Gàidhlig is Leasachadh and MEd Foghlam delivered through the medium of Gaelic), The University of the West of Scotland and the University of Cumbria.

I regularly appear on BBC programmes, including news contributions and input to current affairs programmes to talk about my work in Gaelic and education.

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Research Interests

My interests in promoting (minority) language use resulted in a £25,000 research grant from Bòrd na Gàidhlig which looked at the extent to which spoken Gaelic is used in public community settings. The findings of this study have contributed to the successful establishment of the social enterprise An Taigh Ceilidh (the meeting place) in Stornoway (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), a designated social space where individuals can come and use Gaelic to socialise, meet, sing, share stories, strengthen community and social networks and create new friendships.

The promotion of social networks to use minority or endangered languages is also at the heart of my research in the use of social media and other technologies to support the use of minority languages. I am the Chair of Working Group 4 of the COST+ Action Language in the Human Machine Era (LITHME), where I am involved in organising workshops, international whole action group conferences, and the training school, where I have also delivered input on the role of current and future technologies on the continued use of minority or endangered language and sustaining language diversity.

 

 The promotion of Gaelic in a range of different domains to sustain its use has also resulted in my involvement as co-investigator with the Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion Erasmus+ project (worth €108,000 to the University of Strathclyde). This has allowed me to create a holistic view of language and culture that goes beyond the traditional bounded notions of identity through the creation of culturally sensitive activities within the sociology of science paradigm. The success of this project resulted in a further, funded project (£10,000 from the Royal Society of Chemistry) called Rannsachadh  àrainn eucoir – am Puffin bochd) to further develop these notions and situate these in contemporary society.

 

I have also been successful in attracting funding (£3,000 Soillse) for an innovative cross-disciplinary project that brought together academics, researchers, practitioners and members of the public through a collaboration between three universities (University of Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde) to explore the impact of bilingualism and language loss on patients and their caregivers. This results formed the basis of a The Conversation article which has, to date, attracted over 25,000 readers.

Professional Activities

Apprendre une langue étrangère dès le plus jeune âge
Interviewee
25/6/2024
Phil Williams sits in - Radio 2
Contributor
7/6/2024
Speaking up: promoting Gaelic and Scots languages in education and society
Contributor
6/6/2024
5th REAL Symposium 2024
Invited speaker
2/6/2024
UNESCO (External organisation)
Advisor
1/6/2024
Language in the Human Machine Era
Organiser
27/5/2024

More professional activities

Projects

Erasmus+ Project: Integrating primary and pre-school virtual exchange projects into language teacher education
De Britos, Angela (Co-investigator) Birnie, Inge (Principal Investigator) Mouat, Clare (Co-investigator)
Ongoing consultancy for the INVITED project (integrating primary and pre-school virtual exchange projects into language teacher education) seeks to promote the use of virtual exchange (VE) projects in primary and pre-school language education and to develop teachers' competences regarding VE by integrating VE projects with young learners into pre- and in-service language teacher education. Project members are teacher educators from five different universities in Europe in cooperation with local schools.

Outputs:
The project is going to implement a survey on teachers´ experiences with VE in pre-school and primary language education to find out about teachers´ needs.
A community for teachers interested in VE is created in the form of an e-twinning group to exchange experiences and materials and display good practice.
A teacher education module that includes the implementation of a VE project in a local school is developed, adapted for a professional development course and made available on the ESEC platform.

The project provides opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers to connect through the online community and offers support for their VE projects. It develops a teacher education module that will be part of the partners´ curricula and made available as an online training course. These outcomes will help promote the use of VE in young learner language education, develop teachers´ competences regarding VE and foster children´s and teachers´ cultural, linguistic and digital competences.
01-Jan-2023 - 01-Jan-2026
Rannsachadh Àrainn Eucoir: Am Puffin Bochd (English: Crime Science Investigation: The Poor Puffin)
Ross, Kirsty (Principal Investigator) Birnie, Inge (Co-investigator) Essex, Jane (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2023
Plurilingualism in Action - FutureLearn Massive Open Online Course
Birnie, Inge (Academic)
MOOC to develop teachers' understanding of learning and teaching languages to explore the transformative role of languages in education.
01-Jan-2021
Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion
Essex, Jane (Principal Investigator) Birnie, Inge (Principal Investigator) Ross, Kirsty (Principal Investigator)
An Erasmus+ project that seeks to explore teaching strategies that could overcome barriers to full involvement of science by school pupils with a range of personal characteristics.
01-Jan-2021 - 14-Jan-2023
Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion
Essex, Jane (Principal Investigator) Ross, Kirsty (Co-investigator) Salehjee, Saima (Co-investigator) Birnie, Inge (Research Co-investigator)
An Erasmus+ project that seeks to explore teaching strategies that could overcome barriers to full involvement of science by school pupils with a range of personal characteristics.
15-Jan-2020 - 14-Jan-2023
PALINGUI – Language learning pathways of young children – Making early language learning visible
Birnie, Inge (Principal Investigator)
ECML project - Language learning pathways are becoming more and more diverse as a result of linguistic and cultural diversity. This diversity means that young people can grow up with multiple languages and cultures, different practices and customs, as well as different ways of speaking and writing. The new PALINGUI project of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) will be looking at these diverse linguistic journeys of young learners in educational contexts and how to make these visible through a range of methods and tools. These will make it possible to identify, understand and document language learning of children age 3 to 12 and thereby create learning opportunities allowing them to progress along their language learning pathways.
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2023

More projects

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Contact

Dr Ingeborg Birnie
Senior Lecturer
Education

Email: ingeborg.birnie@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 444 8088