Culture in the French Foreign Language Classroom
The Case of Secondary Schools in the Republic of Ireland
Keywords:foreign language education, French, culture, Intercultural Communicative Competence
In recent years, our globalised world has put the emphasis on improving foreign language learning to make Irish graduates more employable and to make Irish workplaces more welcoming to workers from abroad. However, the achievement of these objectives poses a number of challenges for the Irish education system. In 2022, five years after the publication of Languages Connect: Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026 by the Department of Education and Skills (DES), these challenges have not yet been met. The Institute for Management Development Word Talent Ranking (2021) placed Ireland 37th (out of 64 countries) in relation to foreign language abilities. The uptake of foreign languages at third-level education in Ireland is also low, dropping from a 70% uptake in second-level education to 4% in third-level education (DES, 2017, p.16). In order to gain insights into the place of foreign languages in education in Ireland, this study investigates the place of culture in the French language secondary school Senior Cycle curriculum based on an analysis of selected textbooks, interviews with teachers of French and a survey of pupils studying French at secondary school in Ireland.
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