Overview: Course

This junior cycle short course in CSPE focuses on supporting students in become active citizens through their learning in three strands: Rights and responsibilities, Global citizenship, and Exploring democracy.

Strand 1: Rights and responsibilities  

In this strand, students learn what it means to live with rights and responsibilities and examine the main human rights instruments that protect people’s rights. This is a foundation strand.

Strand 2: Global citizenship  

In this strand, students explore issues of poverty, inequality and sustainable development and look at ways to bring about effective change.

Strand 3: Exploring democracy  

This strand enables students to examine how democracy works and the role of the media in a democracy. 

The study of strand 1 is essential for students’ successful engagement with strands 2 and 3. Strands 2 and 3 can be taught sequentially; in reverse order; or in an integrated way. 

Collaborative and active learning and the development of skills in citizenship, research, reflection and action are integrated across each of the three strands. A range of suggested actions, of varying degrees of challenge, are given at the end of each strand and it is also possible for teachers and students to decide on other relevant action. It is expected that students will engage in action as part of their learning in each of the three strands.

Students might be encouraged to maintain a reflection journal to help them reflect on their learning throughout the course. The journal could include

  •   some of the big ideas they have learned
  •   reflection on skills they have developed
  •   questions they are still left with
  •   reflection on key insights they have gained and what it means for their own lives or for the future 

The Classroom-Based Assessment outlined below reflects the learning students undertake in this NCCA short course. Schools have the flexibility to adapt any NCCA short course to suit their particular needs and school context. If adapting the course, schools may also need to adapt the Classroom-Based Assessment, so that it reflects the learning their students undertook. Schools may also develop their own short course(s) and related Classroom-Based Assessment. Guidelines for schools who wish to develop their own short course(s) are available.

The learning outcomes of this course are broadly aligned with the level indicators for Level 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications (Appendix 1).

The CSPE short course has been designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement.