The study of modern foreign languages enables students to build on their language learning in English and Irish in primary school and further develops their skills in and enjoyment of using languages. Language learning is accessible to all students and contributes to their cognitive, personal and social growth by enhancing their communicative and thinking skills, as well as their participation in a global society. Being able to communicate in the mother tongue and in foreign languages are also among the eight key competences for lifelong learning identified by the European Union and European Council in 2006.
Many studies attest to the benefits of bilingualism and plurilingualism. Students who have been exposed to language learning from an early age perform better than those who have not; not only in verbal skills, but also in mathematics. They display enhanced abilities in areas such as problem-solving, multi-tasking, creativity and pattern recognition. Please note that this specification has been developed as a framework to be used for teaching Junior Cycle French, German and Spanish as modern foreign languages.
The Specification for Junior Cycle Modern Foreign Languages aims to develop communicative language skills broadly aligned with the A band (A1 to A2, basic user) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)3 and its descriptors. It also aims to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning. More specifically it encourages all students to
- actively engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language
- communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media
- develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral
- enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future
- be reflective and autonomous in their language learning, and become actively involved in monitoring and assessing their progress
- appreciate their own and other cultures
- develop skills that they can apply to other areas of study and to their lives.
This syllabus is for first, second and third year students. For more information, please visit the following website: