English is, alongside Irish, Maths, Wellbeing, and History, one of the main subjects that students are required to study as part of the new Junior Cert.
But, while the junior cert curriculum is quite extensive and comprehensive, some students and teachers alike are still lacking the proper resources, reading materials, films, and many others to get their academic level to a top tier.
If you are going through junior cycle English assessment and looking for more information about the syllabus and junior cert English resources, keep reading!
JCT Resource Websites for Teachers and Students
As teachers and students alike, the common goal you have when it comes to Junior Cycle English is to make sure that students have the right resources at hand to get the best possible marks in their examinations. Luckily, the Internet has proved to be an excellent tool that everyone can make use of to access as many resources as possible.
For teachers, there are a lot of great websites with compilations and class examples that promise to make the teaching process for the new junior cert a lot smoother. In the case of students, they can find some guides and tips to make sure that they are studying and preparing for the junior cert English to the best of their abilities.
- Worldwise Global School: according to their website, "Irish Aid’s WorldWise Global Schools is Ireland’s national Global Citizenship Education (GCE) programme for post-primary schools." Commonly known as WWGS, it was set up in 2013 as the key channel through which Irish Aid support for GCE in post-primary schools is to be coordinated. On their website, you can find the Teacher Zone and the School Zone with a comprehensive library of online resources for Junior Cycle English with a global justice lens.
- Studyclix: this website was founded in 2009 by a secondary school teacher, Luke Saunders, and award-winning software engineer, Keith Wright. Together, they had the simple idea to create an online resource for secondary-level students and teachers in Ireland that would make exams easier. You can find everything from guides created by students to podcasts by subject, explaining how to better prepare for the JCT examinations.
- Folens: according to their website, their mission is 'to provide outstanding educational tools that have a positive impact on teaching and learning'. If you are a teacher, you can find lesson plans for your second and third-year English students. These plans will help you to use work completed during the year as a springboard for assessment. The first lesson plan has to do with 'Podcast and article writing', the second with 'Short-story writing' and the third one with 'Speech writing'.
- PDST Website: the Professional Development Service for Teachers is 'the country’s largest single support service offering professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular, and educational areas.' On their website, teachers will find excellent Junior Cycle English resources and materials relating to evaluation and assessment.
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Junior Cycle English Reading Materials
The Junior Cycle English has evolved over the past years, with the new junior cycle setting a different curriculum and syllabus. This means that some texts and reading materials that were an essential part of the past curriculum (like the obligated Shakespeare for higher-level students) are no longer required and that students should focus on the current list.
The first-year student cohort 2021, 2022, and 2023, indicative text list is as follows:
- CISNEROS, Sandra: The House on Mango Street
- COOPER, Susan: The Dark Is Rising
- COTTRELL BOYCE, Frank: Millions
- CREECH, Sharon: Walk Two Moons
- DOWD, Siobhan: The Pavee and the Buffer Girl
- DOYLE, Arthur: Conan The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- FORDE, Patricia: The Wordsmith
- FRANK, Anne: The Diary of a Young Girl
- GAIMAN, Neil: The Graveyard Book (novel or graphic novel)
- LOWRY, Lois: The Giver
- LUCAS, Rachel: The State of Grace
- McCAUGHREAN, Geraldine: The Death-Defying Pepper Roux
- MURRAY, E.R.: The Book of Learning
- NUNN, Malla: When the Ground is Hard
- PRATCHETT, Terry: Wyrd Sisters
- RUDDEN, Dave: Knights of the Borrowed Dark
- SHAN, Darren: Cirque Du Freak
- SLATER, Kim: A Seven-Letter Word
- STEINBECK, John: The Red Pony
- TOLKIEN, J.R.R.: The Hobbit
- ZEPHANIAH, Benjamin: Refugee Boy
Go to our English media guide for students.
Official Resources to Help with JC English
Have you visited the jct.ie website? Well, if you haven't, you are missing out on all the amazing materials they have available for teachers to make sure they have everything they need to plan their lessons and Junior Cycle English Assessment.
They have their website broken down by subject, adhering to the new junior cert English marking scheme and with various sections when it comes to tools and downloadable files:
- Key Documents: the key documents section includes the Framework, Specification, Assessment Guidelines, and the Arrangements for the CBAs each year.
- News and Events: in the News and Events section you will find everything about new guidelines.
- CPD Workshops: this section includes some great videos that give guidance on how to use tools like Zoom and even PPT presentations with other guides.
- Planning: the success of a good school year, both for teachers and students alike, is to have a plan and to set it in motion. This section aids teachers in figuring out how best to plan for the school year taking into consideration the different goals.
- Assessment: this section 'was compiled by the English team to communicate the key details of the junior cycle English Assessment Task and what teachers need to know as they supervise students to complete it.'
The final section, which is quite important for teachers who are tackling English as part of the Junior Cycle program, is the Resources section. This section is broken down by different media: oral language, reading, writing, film, poetry, the novel, drama, general resources, and podcasts.
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There, you will find more granular resources that come in the form of documents, PowerPoint presentations, YouTube playlists, relevant websites, and materials like TED Talks and even SoundCloud files. The idea is to give as much content as possible for teachers to start building the foundation of their courses.
This is not comprehensive but can be a good start for those teachers who are new to the Junior Cycle English Cert and want to understand a bit more about how to tackle the different subjects and media in writing and comprehension.
Private Irish Junior Cert English Tutors
Even with the best possible resources at hand, sometimes teachers and students still struggle to get the academic results they are hoping for. The curriculum can be quite extensive and teachers need to try to make it as interactive and interesting as possible so students feel engaged and driven to know more.
That said, if the magic isn't happening and students are struggling to get results from the get-go, there is an excellent option at hand: English classes with private tutors.
A private tutor is an external agent to the regular academic system who is well documented in the junior cycle cert and can help students, no matter their age, background, or marks, to get a better grasp of the curriculum and achieve their overall academic goals.
Finding a private English tutor on our platform is quite simple. It's as easy as two clicks stating the subject and location of the tutor. That said, it gets a bit trickier when it comes to choosing the right tutor for the student.
The profiles of the tutors in the Superprof platform are quite diverse, with some coming from a teaching background, others from academia, and others from a more pedagogic side of things.
The student's job is to figure out exactly what type of teacher they need to reach their goals, what they need to specialize in, and what is the best teaching method for them. Some questions that can be asked before committing to lessons with a private tutor are:
- What is your background in English as a subject?
- Do you have experience helping students in junior cycle English? Are you familiar with the syllabus of the system?
- What is your teaching method?
- Do you feel comfortable with online lessons or only in-person teaching?
- How much do you charge per hour of class?
With these questions, students can get a better idea of what a private tutor has to offer and make the right decision when it comes to their education. Other students' reviews are also key since they are a trustworthy way for prospective students to know firsthand what it's like to take classes with said teacher.
If you or a person near to you is struggling to ace junior cycle English, a private tutor from Superprof is a great resource to get back on track!
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