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    Exploring children’s knowledge of Irish and European Symbols: A comparison of Irish-medium and English-medium primary school children
    Knowledge of symbols, which can be influenced by school ethos, informs identity construction 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.
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