French

Students who opt for French in First Year undertake the three- year Junior Certificate course. This syllabus aims at developing the student’s ability to understand both oral and written French while developing her appreciation of cultural differences between France and Ireland as well as other French-speaking areas of the world. The foundations of grammar are laid down in these first few years too, so that by the end of the course, a student should be able to write letters and postcards with ease as well as express herself in simple conversational French.

Junior Certificate classes are mixed in ability with the vast majority of our students sitting the Higher Level paper in the examination. We use a class text book and supplement our teaching with language games, CDs, films and computer-based activities.

The exam, like that of the other Modern Languages, is comprised of three components:

Listening (worth 44%) The student is required to extract specific information from a range of recorded material. Responses are to be given in English.

Reading (31%) The student is asked to identify and extract specific information from timetables, menus, magazine articles, advertisements and interviews. They are required to demonstrate their understanding by answering in English.

Writing (25%). The student must complete written tasks of varying length. She is required to demonstrate the use of an appropriate range of vocabulary, grammatical structures and tenses.

Transition Year

The activities in French class in Transition Year allow students to consolidate their knowledge of the language, while further increasing their awareness of life in other French-speaking countries. Students benefit from this year free from the constraints of a State examination syllabus to develop their competencies in the language by undertaking project work, reading short stories or magazine articles, watching and discussing French films and enjoying ICT language activities. 

All these activities, in addition to a series of French conversation classes throughout the year, ensure that Transition Year students are in a better position to approach the much more demanding Leaving Certificate course.

Leaving Certificate

At Leaving Certificate level our classes are organised on ability level with all but one class sitting Higher Level. As far as possible classes are carried out through French and we are fortunate to have some native French teachers in the department. We currently use Mosaique as well as newspaper articles, film reviews and other reports of topical interest harvested largely from the Internet.

In the Leaving Certificate examination 25% of the marks are given for oral proficiency and so time is given to developing conversational French and the ability to discuss topics of general concern to young people. The student is required not only to express opinions orally but also in writing so time is given to preparing a wide variety of issues facing young people today such as exam pressure, life after school, drink and drug related problems, environmental concerns and her hopes and dreams for the future.

Students who study French at Leaving Certificate level develop further their language skills and their understanding of the culture and contemporary society of the countries where French is an official language. They have access to the Internet and are encouraged to read French newspapers and periodicals.

The Leaving Certificate Examination

Compréhension Auditive (20%) Students have to extract specific information, identify points of view and emotions and draw conclusions from a range of recorded material. Answers are to be given in English .

Compréhension Ecrite (30%) Students are asked to identify and extract specific information from written material, to recognise points of view, draw conclusions and interpret attitudes. They are required to demonstrate their understanding by answering largely through French

Writing (25%) Students are asked to complete written tasks of varying length and function. They must demonstrate the use of an appropriate range of vocabulary, grammatical structures and tenses through writing a diary entry, a formal letter, a fax or e-mail and an opinion passage in French.

Speaking (25%) Students are required to sustain a conversation with an oral examiner for approximately 12 minutes on a range of topics such as daily routine, pastimes, visits to France, life as an eighteen year old, hopes for the future etc.

Further details of the Syllabi can be obtained from the Department of Education and Skills at www.education.ie and look under Curriculum, Syllabus and Training Guides.