New Junior Cycle German Programme
The Specification for Junior Cycle German aims to develop communicative language skills broadly aligned with the A band (A1 to A2, basic user) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and its descriptors. It also aims to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning.
More specifically it encourages all students to:
- Actively engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language.
- Communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media.
- Develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral.
- Enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future.
- Be reflective and autonomous in their language learning, and become actively involved in monitoring and assessing their progress.
- Appreciate their own and other cultures.
- Develop skills that they can apply to other areas of study and to their lives.
The new Junior Cycle Programme includes two class room based assessments in Year 2 and 3 along with an Assessment Task which contributes 10% towards the final grade. An examination worth 80% takes place in June. Students of German also have the opportunity to visit a German speaking country during their time of study.
The Leaving Certificate syllabus in German at Leaving Certificate is very student orientated. It prepares the pupil in the type of language which they would experience if working in, or on a visit to Germany. A high honours standard in the Junior Cert. is strongly advisable in order to do Higher Level in the Leaving Cert.
The emphasis is on creating skills in:
- Speaking German (general conversation, storytelling and role-playing)
- Understanding telephone conversations in German.
- Understanding radio broadcasts (news, documentaries etc).
- Reading comprehension (contemporary literary and journalistic texts).
- Writing letters in German, both personal and formal.
- Writing conversations and notes in German. (Ordinary Level)
- Writing longer pieces in German based on themes arising from
the texts used for reading comprehension. (Higher Level)
- Applied Grammar exercises.
- “Landeskunde” or knowledge of the German-speaking world. This is
a study of geography, customs, culture, contemporary scene, etc., in German-speaking countries.
Format of the Examination
The German Examination consists of the following elements:
- Oral exam
- Aural exam
- Reading comprehension (two pieces, one from a literary source, and the other
from a journalistic source).
- Written Comprehension in the form of a letter/dialogue/essay type piece, all based
on a theme from a text or other source.
The combined marks allocated for the oral and aural comprehension elements of
Leaving Cert German is 45%.
What type of student?
The syllabus will suit a student who is encouraged or feels motivated by career requirements, travel or further study. It is not confined to high achievers with a flair for the “classical” approach to language. It suits any student who wishes to speak the language and who is prepared to explore its communicative aspects.
In an enlarged European Union, a good knowledge of one or more of the languages of the countries of the EU, particularly German, will give the student an obvious advantage and increased mobility when competing for jobs in the European jobs market. German is the first language of some 100 million Europeans and the second most important foreign language in the EU. More and more employers are looking for graduates with communication skills, interpersonal and presentation skills, problem solving, team working and organisational skills, and independence. These are all skills which are developed when learning a language.
Germany is one of Ireland’s main trading partners. It is the largest market in Europe and is an important export market for Ireland in the Euro zone. Many Irish business people require a working knowledge of the German language to engage effectively with the German economy. The demand is for people who are proficient in many branches of commerce through German. Germany is also the third largest provider of foreign direct investment in Ireland and German companies employ an estimated 20,000 people in Ireland. In short, German is a big plus in an international career.
Undergraduate and Graduate courses
There is now a very wide choice of courses in Universities, Institutes of Technology and other third level colleges, where Leaving Certificate German forms the basis for pursuing a course in a variety of disciplines, such as computer science, engineering, business, marketing, journalism, tourism and education. This choice is increasing on an annual basis both in Irish and British third level colleges. Many former pupils from Drogheda Grammar who opted for German for the Leaving Cert. have pursued courses of this kind with great success.