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What is Ùlpan?

Ùlpan is a fresh, new way of teaching Gaelic to adults. The system was initially created in Israel, in order to teach the national language, Modern Hebrew, to those coming to live in the country. The main aim of the course is to create speakers of the language (rather than grammarians), with each unit structured in the same way, using games, conversation and repetition to develop the speaking skills of the learners.

Other courses based on the same principles have been very successful in other countries, particularly in Wales. Much research was done in order to create an Ùlpan course for Scottish Gaelic, and classes started in Scotland in 2006/07. Since then, over 100 tutors have completed the Ùlpan tutor-training course, with over 1000 students.

What are the aims of Ùlpan?

There are two aims:

We aim to help more learners reach fluency in Gaelic, through improving learning resources, through delivering professional training to tutors so that they can teach classes effectively, and through helping students to access classes throughout the country.

Furthmore, we aim to help Gaelic speakers make money through the use of their language skills, by providing them with training and job opportunities.

What do you need to be a tutor?

You need to be able to speak Gaelic with a good accent (spelling a bonus!). The most important thing is that tutors have an interest in teaching Gaelic, and an interest in people. Enthusiastic, lively tutors are the best tutors!

What happens on the tutor training?

Firstly, you will attend a two day training session, where Ùlpan teaching skills will be taught to trainees by an Ùlpan trainer. This will take place in a group, without any Gaelic learners present.

The next stage also takes place in a group, with trainees doing 5 or 6 days of teaching practice with support throughout from an Ùlpan trainer. This is a chance for trainees to teach “live” in front of a class, with help and guidance from the trainer.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the course varies, depending on whether or not a trainee is receiving sponsorship from an organisation or company, or whether they are doing the training as an independent tutor. In some areas where Ùlpan is fairly well established, we may be able to offer trainees a Mentorship, which will reduce the cost further. Ùlpan Tutor Training can also be paid using ILA (www.ilascotland.org.uk). For more information, speak to the Tutor Recruitment Officer.

What happens after the training?

How much or how little you teach is up to you, but we can help you to arrange “taster” sessions, or to find teaching opportunities and recruit students. We have a Student Recruitment Officer as part of the Ùlpan team, and he will be happy to assist you.

If you have any questions, or to discuss this further, please get in touch with Alasdair by e-mail:


01383 829 785.