Engagement in the new Primary Language Curriculum

Engagement in the new PLC

The New Primary Language Curriculum will be expanded to include senior classes this year.

In the next few blog posts I hope to share learning outcomes for the new PLC and some activities that could be used to encourage these learning outcomes for your pupils.

Engagement is the first Learning Outcome for all three Strands, from introducing the children to listening for enjoyment in infants, to developing the speaker and listener relationship in middle classes to identifying the influences the purpose or audience can affect the speaker’s presentation.

In infant classes the Conversation Station is an easy idea to incorporate the engagement learning outcome. It can be easily set up in an area of the classroom with two chairs or flexible seating. I had signs for the children to show listening skills. The child would hold the listening ear to show their good listening skills. I would hold the picture with eyes to remind them to make eye contact with the listener. Each week we had a new topic, often based on the Aistear topic in the classroom. Children would come to conversation station during the day to chat with the teacher for a few minutes about the topic. Initially the teacher would pre teach the listening skills and some questions they could ask. The teacher would also lead the conversation station in the first few weeks to guide the children in the topic. Then as the children become more confident they could lead the conversation station. This activity could also work in first and second class. It could also be incorporated into other classes to use in Gaeilge.

In my senior classes I have used the Let’s Stand manual and approach to oral language. It is a clear and detailed programme that teaches specific skills to the children for presentation of work. This programme complements many learning outcomes of the new PLC. Initially we watched videos of different presentations and identified speakers that were engaging and had skills that the children could use in their own presentations. More information on purchasing manuals and workbooks for the Let’s Stand programme can be found here.


Engagement in the reading strand for junior classes includes the children becoming actively involved in talking about books and illustrations. In senior classes, the children should continue to read across a variety of genres and to read texts with increasing difficulty.

In Junior Classes exploring picture books with the children is an ideal way to fulfil this learning outcome. The children can also discuss the illustrations in the book. Using picture books is also a key element to introduce different comprehension strategies for the Building Bridges of Understanding Approach. If your school has a buddy system the children in the senior classes could pair up with the infant classes and read different picture books to the infants. You could also get the parents involved in shared reading at home. There are lots of information sheets to send home to parents to get them involved in shared reading.

In my senior classes I have used a book club approach the last few years. I organised the class into groups and each group had a challenge for the month, it could be to read one specific novel, to explore books from a specific author or to read books from a set series such as Barrington Stoke or Oxford Reading Tree. In this way the levels of reading in the class can be differentiated for. The children read independently over the month and at the end of the month they hold their book club meeting. The children love this approach, mainly because they can bring in home-made treats for their book club, and it encourages the class to become engaged as readers.

Engagement in the Writing stand begins with exploring writing in a positive way in the infant classes to using these skills across the curriculum in senior classes.

In junior classes the writing table is an ideal way to incorporate the new PLC in your classroom. Children can explore mark making and writing freely if you have a writing area or writing table in your classroom. When I had an infant class I always had a set writing area with additional pencils and crayons but it also had some fun stationery fluffy pens and pens that light up as your write. The children loved to have access to these in Aistear and at times during the day.

In middle and senior classes the use of Free Writing Copy is an ideal way to get the children engaged. I hope to use my free writing copy for both English and Gaeilge this year. One side of the copy will be English and the other side Gaeilge. I also hope to use the Magpie approach which I saw in work from ICT with Mr. P in the centre part of the copy. Using the magpie approach the children can copy interesting words and phrases from other texts that they can use in their own work. Similarly the children can add phrases from Gaeilge also. This is a totally new approach for me so I will keep you updated on the progress in the class.


Overall Engagement is an ideal learning outcome to focus on in your class in September. Encourage the children to become engaged in their reading and writing and discuss this in their oral work.

If you have any questions on this blog post. Please send me a PM.




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