Each person lives in the midst of language. Language is fundamental to learning, communication, personal and cultural identity, and relationships. The English syllabus aims at initiating students into enriching experiences with language so that they become more adept and thoughtful users of it and more critically aware of its power and significance in their lives.
The English Leaving Certificate syllabus builds on the aims of the Junior Certificate English syllabus, which emphasise the development of a range of literacy and oral skills in a variety of domains, personal, social, and cultural. In the Leaving Certificate course, students will be encouraged to develop a more sophisticated range of skills and concepts. These will enable them to interpret, compose, discriminate and evaluate a range of material so that they become independent learners who can operate in the world beyond the school in a range of contexts.
English must excite students with aesthetic experiences and emphasise the richness of meanings and recreational pleasure to be encountered in literature and in the creative play of language. Students should be engaged with the voice of literature, learn to dialogue critically with it, and so come to understand its significance and value.
An English course must also be wide-ranging enough to accommodate not only vocational needs and further education, but also the life long needs of students and the language demands, both oral and written, that are placed on them by the wider community.
The term "language" includes verbal and visual forms of communication. In the English syllabus the role of the media, film and theatrical experience will be significant. Developing students' powers of discrimination and interpretative abilities in relation to these media and the encouragement of performance and of creative productions will be integral elements of the syllabus.
The syllabus will seek to ensure that the varied traditions within the Irish cultural context are adequately represented
Resources will be chosen to give the fullest recognition possible to the experiences of both sexes.
Language is not a neutral medium of expression and communication. It is embedded in history, culture, society, and ultimately personal subjectivity. In the contemporary world the cultural relativity of a person's own use of language needs to be highlighted. To achieve this end, a range of resources will be selected from different periods and cultures and students will be encouraged to approach them in a comparative manner. In encountering this diversity, students should develop an understanding of how the language a person uses shapes the way that person views the world.
All products of language use - oral, written, and visual - can be described by the general term "text". All texts create their own view of reality by using a specific linguistic style within specific categories of language forms, which can be called "genres". Thus a song, an advertisement, a dialogue, a public speech, a child's book, an expository essay, a legal document, a scientific report and a poem can all be classified as genres. It is the overall purpose of this syllabus to empower students so that they can become sophisticated users and interpreters of many genres.
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