Expectations for Students

Expectations for students is an umbrella term that links learning outcomes with annotated examples of student work. When teachers, students or parents looking at the online specification scroll over the learning outcomes, a link will sometimes be available to examples of work associated with a specific learning outcome or with a group of learning outcomes. The examples of student work will have been selected to illustrate expectations and will have been annotated by teachers. The examples will include work that is:

  •     exceptional
  •     above expectations
  •     in line with expectations


The purpose of the examples of student work is to show the extent to which the learning outcomes are being realised. Examples of student work annotated by teachers will be developed over time. The examples of student work linked to learning outcomes will also offer commentary and insights that support differentiation.
Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements that describe what knowledge, understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate having studied modern foreign languages in junior cycle. Across all of the strands, students should be given every opportunity to use a range of media to display and present what they have learned.

Junior cycle modern foreign languages are offered at a common level. The learning outcomes set out in the following tables have therefore been developed as unconstrained outcomes to apply to all students. They lend themselves to differentiated teaching, learning and assessment.

The learning outcomes are broadly aligned to the A band of the CEFR (A1-A2) and as set out here they represent outcomes for students at the end of their three years of study. The learning outcomes are for three years and therefore the learning outcomes focused on at a point in time will not have been ‘completed’, but will continue to support the students’ learning of modern foreign languages up to the end of junior cycle.

The outcomes are numbered within each strand. The numbering is intended to support teacher planning in the first instance and does not imply any hierarchy of importance across the outcomes themselves.

The learning outcomes describe clearly what students will be expected to achieve and should be able to do in the target language. They refer to specific domains of language use (public, personal and educational), which are appropriate to the students’ age and experience.

Strand 1: Communicative competence

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Listening
  1. 1.1

    identify the general topic of a conversation on familiar topics when it is expressed clearly

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  2. 1.2

    recognise frequently-used words and phrases related to areas of immediate relevance and experience, including the language of routine classroom interactions

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  3. 1.3

    identify specific information in texts related to familiar topics such as announcements, conversations, simple news items

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  4. 1.4

    source, select and share audio stimuli such as songs, conversations, advertisements through appropriate digital technologies

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2. Reading
  1. 1.5
    recognise the meaning of familiar words and phrases to include everyday signs and notices in public places
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  2. 1.6

    understand the general sense of a text on familiar topics 

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  3. 1.7
    identify specific information in a range of texts dealing with familiar topics 
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  4. 1.8
    source and use authentic texts to explore topics of relevance through a range of media Spoken production
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3. Spoken production
  1. 1.9

    pronounce words accurately enough to be understood, with appropriate intonation

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  2. 1.10
    convey simple descriptions, presentations or announcements on familiar topics 
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4. Spoken interaction
  1. 1.11
    interact in routine exchanges with pronunciation and intonation which is clear enough to be understood and with appropriate non-verbal language  
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  2. 1.12
    use simple polite forms in formal and informal situations such as greetings, thanks, introductions, and respond appropriately
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  3. 1.13
    ask and answer questions and exchange ideas, emotions and information on familiar topics in everyday situations 
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  4. 1.14
    understand and use numbers as appropriate in everyday situations such as shopping, exchanging numbers, sequencing events 
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  5. 1.15
    take part in routine classroom interactions such as pair and group work, asking questions, language games and activities, asking for help and repetition where necessary 
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  6. 1.16
    communicate orally with others using digital technologies such as social media
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5. Writing
  1. 1.17
    write words and create short sentences using various media (emails, letters, blogs, postcards…) on everyday topics with accuracy 
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  2. 1.18
    write a series of phrases and sentences linked with simple connectors such as but, and, or, as 
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  3. 1.19
    create texts5 about aspects of their lives and topics that interest them such as family and friends, school, holidays, leisure activities, fashion, sport, celebrities 
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  4. 1.20
    write short descriptions of present, past and future events, activities and personal experiences, as well as imaginative texts 
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  5. 1.21

    fill out forms relevant to their age group and experience  

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  6. 1.22
    produce and edit texts and interact with others in writing using appropriate digital technologies
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Strand 2: Language Awareness

Language awareness enhances the students’ general awareness about languages. In this strand, they analyse how the target language works, they compare the languages they know (English, Irish and/or their mother tongue) and they reflect on their own language-learning strategies.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Reflecting on how the target language works
  1. 2.1

    recognise, describe and use language patterns such as word order, verbal system, nouns, adjectives, spelling and punctuation conventions

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  2. 2.2

    apply all language learning to creative activities such as producing simple poems, posters, presentations, games and drama

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  3. 2.3

    recognise how gender and social conventions influence target language usage

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2. Comparing the target language with other languages they know
  1. 2.4

    identify similarities and differences between the pronunciation, intonation and rhythm of the target language and that of other languages they know

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  2. 2.5

    compare grammar and vocabulary of the target language with that of other languages they know, making connections and distinctions as appropriate

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3. Reflecting on how they learn languages
  1. 2.6

    identify, share and explain their preferred language-learning strategies

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  2. 2.7

    monitor and assess their own learning, using feedback they receive to reflect on what they need to improve and to set goals for improvement

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Strand 3: Socio-cultural knowledge and cultural awareness

Socio-cultural knowledge and intercultural awareness gives students access to new cultural dimensions and encourages them to reflect on their own culture. In this strand, students acquire cultural information about the target country/countries and are encouraged to compare other cultures to their own.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Learning about relevant facts, people, places and history about the country/countries related to the target language
  1. 3.1

    name and describe some features of the target language country/countries such as geographical features, weather, places and landmarks, food.

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  2. 3.2

    discover and use facts and figures related to the target country/countries such as statistical data, festivals, inventions, famous people

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  3. 3.3

    reflect on what they have learned about the country/countries associated with the target language

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2. Learning about traditions, customs and behaviours
  1. 3.4

    identify and explain some aspects of the target language country/countries in areas such as everyday living, interpersonal relations, customs and behaviours, social conventions

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  2. 3.5

    identify and reflect on common stereotypes about the target culture/s, including their own, and explain if and how their attitude towards the target country/countries is evolving

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  3. 3.6

    select, process and present information through the appropriate use of digital technologies, and evaluate it for truth and reliability

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3. Comparing their culture with that of the country/countries related to the target language
  1. 3.7

    analyse similarities and differences in relation to their peers’ lives in the target language country/countries in areas of daily life such as school, socialising, sport, eating habits

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  2. 3.8

    compare and contrast aspects of personal interest in the target language country/countries with those in their own country and present them using a range of media

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  3. 3.9

    appreciate how cultural differences influence social relations, such as in greetings and eating together

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  4. 3.10

    compare and contrast the use of numbers in the target language country/countries and in their own, with regard to familiar topics such as prices, age, dates, seasons

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