“Je pense, donc, je suis.
I think, therefore, I am.”
French is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, with over 270 million people worldwide proficient in its use. It is the official language of 29 countries, as well as being one of the official languages of the United Nations, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, and of course, the Eurovision Song Contest!
It was the language of Dumas and Hugo, of Descartes and Pascale, of Napoleon and de Gaulle.
The Irish Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett so fell in love with the rhythm and beauty of the language that he forsook English to write all his most important works in French.
It is a language and culture rich in history and in beauty
At Bailieborough Community School, we in the French department believe that it is important
- To take part in a range classroom activities conducted in the French language
- To develop communicative skills in the French language
- To enable students to extract information and derive enjoyment from the mass media and the more accessible literature of the French community
- To equip students with a broad acquaintance with the cultural, social and political complexion of countries in which French is a normal medium of communication and thus to help raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity generally.
In the French department, we use a variety of teaching methodologies including project work, use of songs, extensive use of ICT, as well as the traditional instruction and guidance.
We also use AFL techniques such as peer- and self-assessment, sharing of learning intentions and differentiation of questioning.
Both state exams are based around testing the four key competencies of a foreign language; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
At Junior Cert, students answer a variety of comprehensions to test their understanding, they write a letter and a short postcard or note to test their writing skills, and given the communicative nature of the Junior Syllabus, the largest section in the Junior Cert Exam is the Aural exam, which tests their understanding of spoken French.
At Leaving Cert, the four skills remain the same, but the emphasis changes with an Oral exam worth 25% at Higher Level, and extracts from newspapers and French novels as the comprehension pieces.
In the classroom, assessment occurs on a constant basis, with numerous vocabulary and grammar tests, corrected by peer assessment. This is combined with the traditional house exams at Christmas and Summer which give students and parents an overview on progress made during the term.
The opportunities for French graduates are practically limitless. Every company with an office in a francophone country, every business who buys or sells from or to a francophone country has need of bilingual graduates.
There are, of course, also many opportunities in the educational domain, as well as in translation and the media, especially with the recent explosion of social media.