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Thursday, 29 June 2017 13:25


PPLI Newsletter

Short Courses in New Languages available for piloting

Short courses in Irish Sign Language, Japanese, Polish (for heritage speakers) and Russian (further languages planned) are now available for piloting. Why offer a short course in a new language?
 • open doors to new people, new cultures and more career opportunities
 • diversify the range of languages offered in order to begin to meet the real and emerging needs in business and society
 • provide mother tongue support for students who speak languages at home other than English or Irish
 • provide professional development for participating teachers
 • have foreign language or Irish Sign Language learning accomplishments recognised in the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement as well as benchmarked against the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
 • provide opportunity for students not currently taking any language to fulfil the statement of learning “The student listens, speaks, reads and writes in L2 and one other language at a level of proficiency that is appropriate to her or his ability
 These 100 hour courses are based on the Framework for Junior Cycle and on the NCCA Junior Cycle Short Courses Draft Handbook ‘Developing Short Courses in Junior Cycle’. They are also aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), the European benchmark for modern languages. The courses also encourage students to engage with e-Portfolios which ensures that students are actively involved in monitoring their own progress.

 For more information click here

Supporting Multilingual Classrooms

Following a productive workshop with some of the teachers involved in this work in December, it was decided to create a succinct suite of resources that could be used for CPD that could be accessed freely online among teachers and in schools.

We are still in the process of putting these resources together but two videos are currently available as a taste of what will be there. The picture above is from a video made with Dr Dee McGarry and her students in St Mark's Community School in Tallaght where examples are shown of how the school is supporting English language acquisition through use of the L1 (first language) and the role of the Language Support Programme in supporting L1 use. If you or your school is interested in ideas on how to support use of the L1 the video is a must see and can be accessed here.
The second video was created by Martha Brassil and her team in Mercy Mounthawk Tralee. It is full of ideas on how you and your school can support newly arrived refugees but many of the ideas can be used in a wider context. It is entitled 'Intercultural Learning' and is available here
We hope to have the resource package with accompanying materials available for schools early in the new academic year.
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Castilla y León es de película

Castilla y León es de película was the theme of this years’competition for 5th year students of Spanish. The competition is organised in collaboration with the Consejería de Educación de la Embajada de España en Dublin and sponsored by. La Junta de Castilla y León and the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin. This year we had a record number of entries and we are delighted to see the standard of the videos getting higher and higher each year. These are the wonderful winners who will spend a week in Castilla y León.

1st place: Katie Ecock and Aisling Kelly for The Incredibles Rathdown School in Glenageary, Co Dublin

2nd place: Matthew Harris and Luca Cambursano for Trainspotting Wesley College, Ballinteer, County Dublin.

3rd place: Clodagh Hegarty and Aoife Kate Atkins for A Few Good Men Eureka Secondary School, Kells.


How the CEFR relates to the new Junior Cycle MFL specification

We were delighted to welcome stakeholders in curriculum design, curriculum implementation, quality assurance, assessment and training for the new specification to a RELANG workshop in MIE from the 24th-26th May. The RELANG initiative offers training to stakeholders in the Member States of the European Union and the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in relating language tests and examinations to the CEFR in a valid way and exploring relationships between foreign language curricula and the CEFR.

We were looking at the CEFR and how it relates to the new specification because the new specification is broadly aligned with the CEFR (A1/A2). The CEFR is a benchmark but it is also a reference tool used to develop curricula and was used in the development of the JC MFL specification. As a reference tool it is also used to inform and design the development of good teaching and learning materials and to assist in assessment. As such it is an instrument that can facilitate the implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle in the context of the MFL specification.

There was a lot of very interesting discussion and learning and sharing of ideas and we came away with lots of reasons to continue the discussion.

A new umbrella group for Language Teacher Associations has been set up between PPLI, JCT, PDST, FTA GDI, ATI, ATS, JLTI (Japanese teachers), Polish Teachers Association and Association of Russian Teachers,

The focus on MFL teachers rather than teachers of particular languages, shared pedagogy, a stronger voice for language teachers, the opportunity to learn from each other, avoiding the duplication of efforts, encouraging communities of MFL teachers to work together including in schools, and support for Junior Cycle reform.

The idea is to encourage Communities of Practice which facilitate meetings with other language teachers, sharing pf ideas and expertise, learning from others, exploring new or different ways of doing things, and collaborating.

The first Community of Practice was established in Cork on the 18th May and those who attended really enjoyed it.


Something for Summer!

If you haven't yet seen these tutorials in Strategies for Use of Target Language by Teachers and Students why not look at them at your leisure over the summer. They feature videos of classroom practice as well as interactive activities to help teachers identify strategies and improve on their practice. Key messages, ideas on how to use strategies in the classroom, and supplementary resources are also included.

1. Introduction
2. Teachers• Use of the Target Language
3. Students• Use of the Target Language
4. Planning and Progression
5. The role of English/Gaeilge
To view the tutorials go to or click on the image above. No need to register, and feel free to dip in and out. Thanks again to all the teachers who so generously contributed.

According to a press release from Minister Bruton published on April 17th, the Foreign Languages Strategy is due to be published soon.

'Ireland should benchmark ourselves against the best English-speaking country in the world for foreign languages and aim to emulate that performance within a decade, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD said at the TUI conference in Cork.

Minister Bruton also said that we should aim to be within the top ten in Europe in this area. The Minister was speaking ahead of the publication of his Department’s ten year strategy for foreign languages, a key commitment in the Action Plan for Education. The plan acknowledges that in general, Ireland, in common with other English-speaking countries, has not, prioritised learning of foreign languages when compared to other countries, tending to regard English as a common international language of communication'

For full press release click here

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It is also useful in terms of keeping up generally with what's happening in post-primary languages and being able to access other material of general interest to anyone interested in Modern Foreign Languages education.