News and Updates

Find out what the latest is at PPLI, what are we involved in, what are we up to, what are we doing, what you can do for us! 

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Friday, 17 April 2015 15:20

ECML Call for submissions

call for submissions


Dear colleagues,

Now that our ‘Apps4MFL’ conference is out of the way (see presentations on for a taster) we are catching up with our digital literacy ECML ‘open project’ plan.

We are writing to you regarding the ECML call for submissions 2016-2019.

The project we have in mind falls into the open project category. See for reference. We therefore need to find three great partners from three different countries and need to include English plus one other language.

To put a project proposal together, we are primarily looking for partners with a track record in either/or:

-          MFL in-service education (workshops, blended or online)

-          Action research in the integration of MFL , digital literacy and innovative methodologies

-          Resources development in MFL,  digital literacy , innovative methodologies and  21st century skills

-          Curriculum development integrating MFL, digital literacy, innovative methodologies and 21st century skills

-          MFL, social media and learning communities  

We need to hear from potential interested partners as soon as possible but no later than Sunday April 19th.

If you are potentially interested or know of someone who may be please contact me indicating your area of expertise, area of interest in this project and type of project outcomes you would be interested in.

We will engage with potential partners in the course of next week (April 20-24th) and submit a project proposal for their approval by April 27th.  (As you probably know the deadline for submissions in May 1st.)

Best regards and hoping to hear from some of you,

ECML call for submissions 2016-2019

Friday, 20 February 2015 12:13

International Mother Language Day 2015


International Mother Language Day Celebration 2015

Inclusion in and through education: Language counts

Promotion of Non-Curricular Languages Leaving Certificate Examinations in Ireland

February 21st  2015


Press Release  by embassies of the non-curricular languages for Leaving Certificate

In recognition of UNESCO International Mother Language Day 2015 "Inclusion in and through education: Language counts" several diplomatic missions to Ireland would like to use celebration of this day as an opportunity to promote their languages and mother tongue education in Ireland.

The International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62). International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism

According to standards set by UNESCO “appropriate language education” is fundamental to enable learners to benefit from quality education, learn throughout life, and have access to information. This is possible if there is an approach to language education that promotes the use of at least three languages: one of which should be a mother tongue or first language. As underlined by Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO in her message on the occasion of IMLD 2015: “International Mother Language Day is a moment for all of us to raise the flag for the importance of mother tongue to all educational efforts, to enhance the quality of learning and to reach the unreached.”


In Europe, in particular within the European Union, policy developments in the area of language learning have moved at a significant rate in the last two decades.  Member states of the EU has expressed their commitment in this regard in Article 149 of the Treaty of Nice, which states that "Community action shall be aimed at developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States."

Those developments has been also introduced in Ireland, where linguistic landscape has changed radically in recent years. According to Census 2011 a total of 514,068 people (11% of the total population) stated that they do not speak Irish or English at home. In schools, there are pupils from over 160 countries and up to 200 languages are spoken. For approximately 70-75% pupils English is not their first language (Department of Education and Skills, 2011).


Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD said: “It is timely that my Department is developing a modern foreign languages strategy and I would like to thank the embassies for their contribution to this process.  Our education system is hugely enriched by the presence of students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and they are an asset to society in general”.

On the occasion of IMLD 2015 several Embassies in Dublin took initiative to celebrate mother tongue education in Ireland with special recognition for the Non-Curricular EU Language examination at the Leaving Certificate (LC). Native speakers of all European countries may request to sit an examination in the Leaving Certificate in their mother tongue. The model for the non-curricular language examination papers is based on the First Foreign Language final written paper of the European Baccalaureate.

It is encouraging to note the increasing numbers sitting non-curricular EU languages, since its introduction in 2005, which reached in 2014 more than 1500 students participating.

This year exam will be open for students speaking one of the 16 mother tongues: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Modern Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovakian and Swedish. Those languages are being referred to as non-curricular languages because they do not appear as part of the normal school curriculum thus alternative means of learning need to be employed in preparation for the LC exam.

In this regard we would like to recognize the role of complementary schools established by our communities in Ireland. The complementary schools, for the main part, run at weekends and provide tuition in subjects such as the mother tongue, history or geography. These schools play an important role in supporting students in linguistic skills and serve the whole community as point of integration being important partner in different projects.

Nevertheless complementary schools are limited to primary level. Thus it is very important to find solutions to include non-curricular languages in secondary level program. There are new possibilities in this regard such as a short course which can be introduced as part of Junior Cycle curriculum. One of the most active organization in this area is The Post-Primary Languages Initiative, which works on the maintenance and development of the multilingual abilities of young people through the Irish mainstream education system. The Post-Primary Languages Initiative is collaborating with embassies of languages that are widely spoken in Ireland to create new courses which will form part of the new Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA).


Additional Links

The International Mother Language Day -

Message from Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Mother Language Day -

State Examinations Commission - Non-Curricular EU Language Subjects


Leaving Certificate 2015 timetable



International Mother Lang day bubble

According to the last Irish census (2011), half a million of us speak a language other than the two national languages at home. What is your home language? 

As International Mother Language Day is approaching (Feb 21st), do you know which is the 'heritage language' most spoken in the country? And which are the other main heritage languages? For the answer to these two questions click here. What is International Mother Language day about? Find the answer. Why did the UNESCO choose February 21st to celebrate mother languages? Find out by clicking here.     What can schools and universities do to mark IMLD? Click here for some ideas.

Affiche ScacNew deadline!  Want to improve your French?   An 8 month work experience in France?  Extra ECTS credits?

The French Ministry of Education offers around 80 language assistant positions for Irish students for the 2015-2016 school year, as part of an exchange programme with the Department of Education and Skills and with the CIEP ( Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques). 
This scheme is aimed at students who:
- are aged between 20 and 35
- have completed at least two years of higher education in any discipline by the time they take up their post
- have a working knowledge of the French language

Deadline: 20 February 2015

Dossier d'inscription: click here.  

College Times article: click here.

Further information on the French Embassy's website: or by contacting
or by contacting Mr Christopher Pingeon at the Service Culturel: 01.7088306 

Monday, 05 January 2015 09:57

Tablets & Apps Conference

TabletsAppsTablets & Apps in MFL Teaching and Learning Conference

We are thrilled to announce that we had a great conference - click here to see a copy of the schedule. All presentations can be accessed here

If you would like to be put on our mailing list so that you hear about future conferences please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:31

Winter Newsletter 2014

 Newsletter Winter 2014 For all the latest news and updates please read our newsletter. Sign up if you are not already subscirbed by going to our home page here










Thursday, 04 December 2014 00:00

Competitions for students of Italian

Would you like to win some prizes? 2 Competitions for students of Italian

Radio Dublino ha organizzato un concorso per i nostri ragazzi delle scuole secondarie. Click here for more information

radio Dublino Italian language learning





The Association of Teachers of Italian are organsing their annual postcard competition. Click here for more information

italian postcard competition association teachers post primary

Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

Beat Google translate

NUI competition teaching and learning languages second level IrelandThis competition is open to any secondary school students in Ireland. Students will translate a poem from a language of their choice (French, German, Italian, Irish or Spanish) and a winner will be selected for each language.  Translations will be assessed on their individuality and creativity as well as their use of language. A prize of €200 will be offered for each language. 


Want to improve your French?   an 8 month work experience in France?  Extra ECTS credits?

The French Ministry of Education offers around 80 language assistant positions for Irish students for the 2015-2016 school year, as part of an exchange programme with the Department of Education and Skills and with the CIEP ( Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques). 
This scheme is aimed at students who:
- are aged between 20 and 35
- have completed at least two years of higher education in any discipline by the time they take up their post
- have a working knowledge of the French language

Deadline: 30 January 2015

Dossier d'inscription: click here.  

College Times article: click here.

Further information on the French Embassy's website: or by contacting
or by contacting Mr Christopher Pingeon at the Service Culturel: 01.7088306 

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

Spanish Competition

PPLIWebSpanishThe Post-Primary Languages Initiative in collaboration with the Consejería de Educación  de la Embajada de España en Dublin is delighted to announce its annual competition for  5th year students of Spanish.  La Junta de Castilla y León  and the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin are sponsoring the competition so we would like to invite students to produce a brief presentation or video. Using images, videos  and other ICT tools, the video should illustrate  an itinerary for  “A weekend in Castilla y León ”.


1st prize:  3 scholarships to cover the cost of flights, accommodation and language school for a week in Castilla y León during the summer of 2015 for 2 students and their teacher

2nd and 3rd prize:  3 scholarships each to cover the cost of a one week language course and accommodation  for 2 students and their teacher.

The competition is open to all 5th year students of Spanish in Ireland.


We suggest these easy steps to produce your video:

1.   Get your partner and have a planning session. 

2.    Do your research

3.    Plan your itinerary

4.     Decide who will do what

5.     Prepare the script

6.     Shoot the video using a camera, a smartphone or a webcam. Take lots of footage, you can always cut later

7.    Consider using a microphone for better sound quality and be mindful of background noise

8.    You can insert videos and audio files into your own clip

9.    Edit the video (cut the parts you do not like, add the sound, include credits)

10.   Once you are happy with the results, upload the video to the Post Primary Languages Initiative Facebook page and Like the Spanish Turist Office in Dublin Page


Entries must be embedded on the Post Primary Languages Initiative Facebook page before  Friday  20th of March 2015

Entries should be prepared by teams of 2 students and not exceed 2 minutes of duration, including credits. 

The video clip should demonstrate some creativity and include subtitles in Spanish.

Videos should contain the name of the authors and the school name, town and county. 

All music and images used must be credited/acknowledged. We suggest you use copyright free music, or simply play yourself! It is the entrant’s responsibility that the film does not infringe  copyrights. 

Users can vote (via the ‘like’ system) for any video clip available on the platform. The ten video clips which will have most likes at the end of the campaign will become part of a shortlist among which the jury will select the winners.


By entering the competition the entrants agree to  abide by the rules. The entrant retains copyright over their original work, but by uploading a video, the entrant grants permission to the Post-Primary Languages Initiative to use for mash-ups, instructional purposes, promotional material or as examples of exemplary learning.   Users who abuse the messaging system as a way to request “likes” for their video will be disqualified. This is against Post Primary Languages Initiative policy. .

The jurors’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.  The jury will select the best videos based on their creativity, final production, and content .

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 00:00

Using smart phones in the language classroom

smart phones blogUsing smartphones in the classroom: I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop on using smart phones in the language classroom organised by the University of Limerick Language Centre and delivered by Joan O’Sullivan.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Summer Newsletter 2014


News update from Post-Primary Languages Initiative - latest news, activities, and compeititons Is this email not displaying correctly?
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PPLI Newsletter
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What makes a great teacher? 
Reflections on three years of classroom observation in Ireland

 by Yumiko Kondo, Japanese Language Advisor 

A great teacher is the common denominator in classes where students’ learning is supported - the following are some observations I've made as I've sat in Japanese classes in Ireland over the past few years.
A great teacher knows their students: He/she is attentive to the needs of the students and watches them carefully noticing what they are doing, how they are they feeling, what they are they good at, and what they enjoy doing. They ask themselves what kind of supports their students need in order to learn, why their students aren't able to answer the questions given them or why they aren't even bothered to try? As a result of this, he/she is able to give advice on a variety of methodologies and means to learn in order to help a variety of students.
A great teacher is a coach: A student preparing for the Leaving Certificate is like a runner getting ready for a race. Along the way, they are likely to become weary sometimes, to lose interest or motivation, or to take a wrong turn. The teacher can’t actually do the training or running in place of the student, but he/she can show the students how to train and how to achieve the best results (showing them how to learn), he/she can train the students to run better (step-by-step approach to their study), and he/she can encourage students to run using the strength that they have within them (supporting them in becoming autonomous learners). 

A great teacher is an entertainer: When do we become so engrossed in something that we forget time? Isn’t it when we’re really enjoying ourselves? Great teachers engage their students in a way that they are enjoying the learning process as well as being focussed on the task they are doing.

A great teacher involves everyone: There are students who like doing group work, and those who don’t, those who are quick to comprehend every new concept and others who understand better when they work through things slowly, those who like to talk and others who prefer to read. Every student is unique and great teachers manage their classes in a way that enables everyone to participate actively.

A great teacher is a learner: A great teacher finds the latest interesting information and makes it accessible to students, continues to study the target language, becoming a good influence on his/her students. The great teacher makes it his/her business to keep up to speed with ever changing and emerging methodologies and tools, thus ensuring that their methodology is both effective and relevant.

A great teacher engages in self-reflection: Would you say that you fulfill the roles above? How do you think your students see you? Is there anything you need to work harder at? What else do you need to do in order to become great?Would love to hear your responses via Twitter @languages_ie 

Highlights from recent conferences relevant to MFL teachers

ALL Language World 2014 

Some great teachers and very useful and inspiring presentations at Language World 2014, the annual conference of ALL (UK Association for Language Learning). The theme this year was ALL Joined up and here are just a few links on three of the key themes that emerged which might whet your appetite to go searching for more!   

Strategies to help us use more Target language in the classroom
- Getting students to talk spontaneously (Chris Fueller):
-Increasing students’ production of language in the classroom:

The Flipped classroom for MFL teachers: The emphasis here is on developing students’ thinking skills, autonomy and collaborative learning. Homework time is for knowledge acquisition and classroom time is used to encourage acquisition of skills and understanding. This presentation introduces real possibilities for Flipping the MFL classroom  (Helen Bates)

Building engagement: Chris Fuller describes his teaching context as ‘Low profile, low motivation, low skills’ and shares some of his strategies for developing thoughful contexts for thoughtful students:  Blog:

Lots more links available for download  here

CESI 2014

Integrating Digital Literacy across the Junior Cycle Curriculum - Challenges and Possibilities. This presentation gives examples of which ICT tools fit in to Key Skills in the context of the MFL classroom. It examines how learning outcomes in a MFL course can be enhanced by digital tools and is available here

ICT in Education Conference 2014

Sandrine Pac-Kenny did a great presentation on tablets and apps for the MFL classroom which you can see on her blog La classe de Sandrine here
Ireland Poster

My Ireland: My Area

'My Ireland: My Area' was an invitation to students to showcase the diversity of languages spoken in Ireland. It was also a challenge because content was limited to 15 secs, the time limit for an Instagram video. Svyatoslav Zherelin from Oatlands college won first prize in the Senior category for his introduction to Donnybrook in Russian which you can view here.  Watch Bandon introduced in German by Josh O'Regan of Bandon Grammar School here (2nd prize), Kilbeggan introduced in French by Peter Spillane from Mercy in Kilbeggan here (2nd prize Senior), Malahide introduced in French by Ciaran Murray of Belvedere College here (1st prize Junior) and by Ethan Osborne of Belvedere College here. Special prizes were given to Padraig O'Donovan of Midleton CBS who introduced Midleton in Italian and Alexandra Bashkirova of St Cuan's College Galway for an innovative depiction in Russian of where she lives here
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Remember there are lots of useful links, materials, and resources on our website. Make sure and follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook (just click on the icons above) to be keep up with what's happening in Post-Primary Languages and other material of general interest to anyone interested in Modern Foreign Languages education.

Would you & your colleagues like some CPD?

Let us know what we can do for you and what kind of support you would like. We are currently preparing online tutorials but we can come to your your region or your association or even your school - maybe you would like to use some Croke park hours? Sample CPD that we have delivered recently includes: Increasing use of target language in the classroom, raising the profile of languages in your school, developing schemes of work, exploring tasks versus activities, and integrating the four skills, but we would love to know what YOU want. Email Karen at karen.ruddock[at] 
Scholarship to Spain

Spanish Scholarships for two students and their teacher

This competition was run in collaboration with the Consejeria de Educación,  Castilla y León es vida and the Spanish Tourist Office in Ireland. The prizes were two scholarships for students and one for their teacher to cover the cost of flights, home-stays, and language school for one week in Castilla y León during the summer of 2014, and the same excluding flights for 2nd and 3rd prize winners. First prize was won by Chris Lee and Kevin McMahon and their teacher Ms Coveney from Templeogue College (can be seen on our Facebook page here), 2nd prize by Stephen Daunt and Adrian Verba De juan and their teacher Olan Geaney from Ashton Comprehensive in Cork ((can be seen on our Facebook page here) and 3rd prize by Amy Temple and Elizabeth Smyth and their teacher Ms O'Sullivan of Loreto Bray (see here). Congratulations to all.

Souris c'est lundi

Don't forget about Souris c'est lundi - it's a weekly post with an emphasis on young people’s interests, on diversity in French, France and Francophonie and on easy access.The blog is  video clip-based with  reading ‘extras’. Students at all levels will get something from it whether just an infectious melody for some, or a lot more for others. Tips for teachers are also included. Thanks for completing the survey on the recent competition we ran on Facebook. All the emails of those who completed the survey were entered in a draw for 50 euro iTunes voucher and it was won by Aisling Carroll, a French teacher from Kilkenny. Thanks again and remember you are welcome to send us feedback any time!

We wish you all a fabulous summer!

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