Dr Ingeborg Birnie



Personal statement

I joined the School of Education in September 2017 as a lecturer in Gaelic. My research interests are focussed on Gaelic language planning and policy as well as language teaching and learning, especially at primary school level. As a member of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education Languages group I have been involved in the creation of the National Framework for Languages. I am a member of the Council of Europe's European Centre of Modern Languages Expert Group on early language learning, working with an international team on a three-year project entitled 'Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years - why it matters and what it looks like for children 3 - 12'. I am registered with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) and have experience of teaching across all sectors from nursery to tertiary education.


Blended learning to support minority language acquisition in primary school pupils : lessons from the 'taking Gaelic home' study
Birnie Ingeborg
Australian and International Journal of Rural Education Vol 32, pp. 126 - 141 (2022)
Podcast #35 : Meet an academic: Inge Birnie
Ivancheva Mariya, Birnie Ingeborg
The social linguistic soundscape and its influence on language choice in Stornoway
Birnie Ingeborg
Postmodern Individuals in Urban Communicative Settings (2022) (2022)
Gaelic medium education in Scotland : challenges for the 21st century
Birnie Inge
An Tumoideachas Deiseannna agus dea-chleachtais: páipéir roghnaithe ón Dara Comhdháil Taighde UIle-Oileánda ar an Tumoideachas (2021) (2021)
Bon Trabalh? Reflections and observations from Occitan immersion education – lessons for Gaelic Medium education in Scotland?
Birnie Ingeborg
Scottish Languages Review, pp. 35 - 45 (2021)
Language management initiatives and language use in public spaces
Birnie Ingeborg
Cànan & Cultar / Language & Culture - Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 10 (2021) (2021)

More publications

Professional activities

International conference on International Conference on Revitalisation of Indigenous and Minoritized Languages
LITHME Working Group 3 & 4 meeting
Taigh-Cèilidh Steòrnobhaigh ro dheireadh na bliadhna
An Exploration of Changing identity, linguistic challenges and cultural surprises - a case study of a UK University Group of diverse Chinese Language students studying abroad
Dè cho fallain is a tha foghlam Gàidhlig an-diugh
Exploring cultural & ethnic diversity in Science

More professional activities


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.
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
Enacting Plurilingualism: Exploring teachers’ perspectives on the classroom realisation of languages education principles
McPake, Joanna (Principal Investigator) Huang, Alan (Principal Investigator) Birnie, Inge (Principal Investigator)
The principal research questions this study sets out to answer are:
1. How do newly qualified and more established languages teachers link the principles set out in the National Framework for Languages to current and / or future classroom practices?
2. What kind of professional education do they consider most valuable in developing the competences they need to do this effectively?
20-Jan-2018 - 19-Jan-2018
Potential for use of language observation
Birnie, Inge (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
Inspiring Language Learning and Teaching in the Early Years - Why it matters and what it looks like for Children age 3 - 12
Birnie, Inge (Co-investigator)
With over 40 official languages in the member states of the Council of Europe and more than 70 regional and minority languages officially recognized in addition to a number of languages spoken by migrants, it is important that Europe’s language diversity is recognized and acknowledged.

The reality for many European citizens is that in the course of their lives they will need to develop proficiency, not only in their native language, but in a variety of languages. Demands of study, work, travel, relocation and personal development will also mean that skills in new languages will need to be added to their existing repertoire. Therefore, learning the skills required to learn languages is of paramount importance. Furthermore, language learning and identity construction are closely interlinked.

Recognizing the importance of languages in the lives of Europeans and the benefits that early language learning provides, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) has launched a two-year project "Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12".

The project is focused on early language learning, from 3 to 12 years of age. The innate curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to learning during this initial period in their formal education makes it the ideal time to introduce, nurture and motivate learners in the area of additional language learning. Strong foundations, built at this stage in children’s development, will facilitate language learning throughout life and openness to, as well as respect for different cultures, values and traditions.

One of the aims of the project is to help those working with young learners to embrace their own plurilingualism and to recognize the potential for further learning that this can bring. With this recognition, teachers and educators can begin to understand the importance of linguistic interdependency, where knowledge of one language can be used to inform the learning of another. In this way, each child´s unique language potential can be included to support his/her educational development and may also contribute to social cohesion in multilingual/multicultural environments, not only in the classroom, but also in wider society. For this reason, another aim of the project is to provide teachers and educators with resources they can use to support plurilingualism in their classrooms. Useful activities and examples of good practice will be made available in the form of a new website.
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2019

More projects