Introduction to this specification
Who is this specification for?
This specification is aimed at students who use the Irish language as a second language mainly in schools which operate through the medium of English.
In English-medium schools, the English language is the working language of the school and Irish (L21*) is taught as a subject. The different language backgrounds of students who attend English- medium schools are recognised, including those whose primary language at home is English and those who speak English and/or another language at home.
* L1 is the language medium of the school (English in English-medium schools; Irish in Irish-medium schools). L2 is the second language (Irish in English-medium schools; English in Irish-medium schools).
Students in English-medium schools are to a large extent dependent on the Irish language classroom as the Irish language community is not always on the doorstep of the classroom. Because of its immediate language environment, it is important to foster valuable links with the language community to support students
to find other opportunities to use the language
to discover accurate and genuine language samples/input
to participate in the Irish language community.
This emphasis on the language community is inherent in this specification and this is in line with the vision set out in the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 (2010) in particular the need to ‘give life to the Irish language outside the classroom for the young people who study it in the formal education system.’
The students’ attitudes to the use of Irish as a living language develops through their appreciation and exposure to the language community and also how they consider, view and reflect on themselves as language learners. These connections and understandings help in fostering more positive attitudes towards learning and using the Irish language.
The learning outcomes within the three strands in this specification are broadly aligned with
the descriptors in bands A2-B1, (from basic users to independent language users) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) . All language skills need not be acquired at the same level, for example spoken competency could be more advanced than written for example. The student relies on the teacher’s feedback and guidance, their own self-awareness as a language learner and opportunities to use language to further develop their language skills.