Junior certificate English programs

Syllabus objectives

Personal literacy: gradual and integrated growth of personal expression, leading to an ability to speak and write about personal experience in a variety of forms, to read and listen to other pupils’ experiences.

Social literacy: fostering an understanding of the mechanics of English, development of oral skills/ reading skills/ reading strategies/ listening skills.

Cultural literacy: reading, viewing, and listening to a range of literary and media genre for aesthetic pleasure.

First year English


• To improve the reading skills of pupils

• To introduce reading strategies

• To familiarise pupils with a variety of texts and genres

• To develop personal, functional, and critical writing skills

• To introduce pupils to literary terms and concepts

• To enhance the vocabulary of students

It is felt that no single text book can cater adequately for the needs of the pupils. Consequently, in keeping with the aspirations of a child centred curriculum, it is believed that the students’ best interests are served by drawing material from a variety of sources.

• Introduction to critical terminology
• Figures of speech (metaphor/simile)
• The language of poetry (image/rhyme – alliteration, end-line, rhyming schemes)
• The short story – narrative/ character/ plot/ theme

Critical Analysis – Development of answering techniques
• Interpretative skills
• Personal opinion
• Textual reference
• Paragraph building

Creative Writing
Use of development exercises from primary texts that focus on personal experience and on sensory and emotional experience

Modelling exercises based on poetry
Creative writing developing from engagement with fiction

Functional Writing
Reviews/ Reports/ Letter Writing/ Newspaper Articles

Material Used
Poetry/Short Stories/ Film/ Audio Material

Study of Novel – study of key literary concepts
Role of Narrator
Style – language/rhythm

Focus on discussion of key issues relating to the novel as a form and the themes of class division, prejudice, family, friendship, identity, education, etc.

Class discussion will be complemented by critical, functional, and creative writing.

Irony and Satire

There will be a block of work that focuses on the concepts of irony and satire. This study will make use of poetry, story, and audio visual material.

The Sonnet

There will be a section on the sonnet as a poetic form. This study will consider its origins and development.


Greater emphasis will now be placed on syntactical structures and on the quality of expression. There should now be longer, developed exercises that cover the spectrum of critical, functional and personal writing techniques .

Assessment of Project Work
The Journals that have been developed as a project throughout the year to be submitted and considered for assessment.

The Journal Project

Each student in First Year will be encouraged to keep a journal. This journal will include a range of material compiled by the student over each month from September to the beginning of May.

The journal should consist of material that includes personal news, national news, and international news. The topics can range from current affairs to the arts and to sport.

The journal should be an effort to combine the written and the visual aspects of material. Students are encouraged to be creative and the journal should contain a diverse range of material and can include drawings, photos, ticket stubs, advertisements, menus, flyers, etc.

Each month suggestions will be made as to material that could be considered for inclusion.

The goal of the project is to include various kinds of writing skills – reviews, reports, personal expression. It is intended as an exercise in reviewing how a month unfolds with a developing awareness of personal experience within the broader context. Also, it is hoped that students will develop an ability to appreciate visual texts and that the journal will complement and enhance an awareness of media. The various disciplines involved will incorporate strategies that should help developing skills in functional writing and personal writing, and an introduction to some understanding of media.