Philippa Gibson learnt Welsh as an adult and over the last 30 years she has developed her skills to become a talented Welsh tutor, developing the learning programme locally and promoting it within the community around Cardigan and South Ceredigion.
She says, “Having learnt Welsh as an adult, I gain satisfaction from teaching the language to others and see them moving on to become a part of the local Welsh community.” Many of her students have succeeded in learning Welsh to use it in their everyday lives in their communities and some have competed in the National Eisteddfod. Two have reached the final round of the Learner of the Year award, and at the 2019 Eisteddfod two of her students won the top literary prizes for learners – the Chair for Poetry and the Prose Medal.
The success in her teaching is built upon the opportunities which she has created for immersion in informal learning opportunities. Students are encouraged to write for the local community paper and Philippa supports her learners to access many activities including a Welsh-language walking group, Welsh plays and concerts and Welsh-language societies.
Innovation is evident in developing her teaching methods – the Pontio Scheme enables Welsh speakers to meet and talk informally with small groups of two or three Welsh learners as part of their formal sessions. She commits time to enlisting, co-ordinating and arranging volunteers to support these sessions.
She says, “Tutoring means doing as much as I can to help each individual to succeed by overcoming any barriers, whether they are specific issues relating to learning, lack of confidence or knowledge about opportunities to use their Welsh.”