Fergal Boyle French Why study French? French is a global language, it is spoken by over 200 million people worldwide in over 70 territories. At any one time there are over 49 million students studying French worldwide. It is recognised as the language of culture and the official language of the European Commission. In short, it is a language which provides huge opportunities for travel, work and cultural experience to every student. Employment opportunities for those who speak a second European language, particularly French, are vast and growing. Among Ireland’s largest single employers are companies such as Google, Ebay and Paypal who employ hundreds of French speakers each year at their European headquarters here. In addition to service based employment there are opportunities in education where French teachers are highly sought after and in short supply. Even for those who do not wish to pursue a language based career the study of a second language is regarded as very important by the majority of third level institutions and employers. Studying a second language such as French requires effort, participation and commitment and in return develops each student’s ability to communicate, cultural awareness and overall learning skills. What will students learn? French class is all about learning to communicate through French. At Junior Cycle students will learn to read, write, speak and understand spoken French focusing on topics such as family, hobbies, school, holidays and food. The teaching and learning strategy used in French class will be communicative, whereby students will learn the basic structures and vocabulary by engaging in communication activities and active group learning tasks. It is hoped to develop student’s cultural awareness and communication skills by twinning with a class of students in France with whom they will be able to converse and learn about life as a teenager in France. At senior cycle students further expand their French language by learning a greater range of vocabulary but also learning to interpret and critically discuss current events and texts on topics such as news items, migration, education and healthcare. Students will engage in the study of French texts, film and song to enrich their understanding of spoken French and ability to speak French in preparation for the aural and oral examinations at leaving certificate.