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Language Assistant Information

Your school: The school you have been allocated to will have prepared for your arrival. It is very important to understand the ethos of the school and you should familiarise yourself with it. The school will prepare information for you such as: year calendar, staff list, the discipline procedure, keys, WIFI code, computer log-in etc. The Modern Foreign Language (MFL) department will meet with you and explain how it operates in the school. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the school website.

Your Cooperating Teacher: You will have a Cooperating Teacher who you can talk to about any issues you have. They will then be able to help you or let you know where you can get further information.  

Your duties: You are an asset to every class you will interact with. It is a great opportunity for students to experience meeting and working with a native speaker. You will probably work in different contexts depending on the needs of the students: assisting in class, working with small groups and also one-to-one. It is very important for the students to get a feeling of what your country and culture is like. The teachers will work with you and you will be able to suggest ideas to complement their lessons. The school will decide on your duties. Some schools will use devices in class, so do not hesitate to ask for help if you are not familiar with the device or apps used. As an assistant, you must not replace the teacher by planning  lessons or correcting work or exams. You should not be used as a dictionary and should not be asked to write sample essays, oral paragraphs or roleplays. Click here to download a list of acronyms used in the Irish Education system. 

Training: You will be invited to training sessions organised by the Department of Education, your embassy or cultural service. You are also invited to go to national association meetings and modern foreign language communities of practice. The teachers can give you details about them too. There will also be support sessions organised by the Post-Primary Languages Ireland for associates and the cooperating teachers. You will also have the support from a PPLI associate. They will be in touch with you to introduce themselves when you arrive.

Before travelling

  • Ensure you know what official papers you will need if you want to open a bank account.
  • Look into how to get from the airport/port to the school.
  • Look into accommodation.
  • Look into transport available.
  • Familiarise yourself with documents provided by the school and its website.

When you arrive

It may be a good idea to:

  • buy a SIM card.
  • apply for a medical card.
  • visit the school ahead of starting.

While in school

  • Avoid using English wherever possible. Use synonyms, mimes, facial expressions, etc.
  • Use the target language, but be prepared to rephrase or explain some words.
  • Praise students for what they can do.
  • Be aware of the range of abilities. Check with the teachers if unsure.
  • Speak using an appropriate speed and register.
  • Be genuine and show interest in what students say.
  • Allow students’ speech to flow without interruption. Build confidence.
  • Remedy incorrect pronunciation by reiterating the student’s words using the correct form.
  • Make reference to cultural aspects – similarities and comparisons.
  • Work with smaller groups of students with clear aims.
  • Work one-to-one with students.
  • Help with language activities in the school (language week/ European day of languages/ exchanges)
  • Oral communication should be the focus.
  • Talk to the teacher(s) ahead of lessons.
  • Share ideas with teacher(s)

What is not expected

  • To replace the teacher
  • To be a dictionary
  • To prepare lesson plans
  • To correct homework, tests or exams
  • To write essays, paragraphs or role plays for students

Post-Primary Languages Ireland

Department of Education

French: Email:

Ambassade de France en Irlande, Service Culturel, 66, Fitzwilliam Lane, Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 277 5055

German: Anna Weiss – German Language Adviser, E-mail:

Goethe-Institute Ireland, 62 Fitzwilliam Square Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 680 1114

Spanish: Ana Alonso Varela – Language Adviser – Email:

Spanish Embassy, 17A Merlin Park, Dublin 4

Telephone: 01 2608100

Italian:  Debora Biancheri – Email:

Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 11, Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2 DO2 KN81

Telephone: 01 662 0509 / 662 1507

Japanese: Kanako Ukai – Japanese Language adviser – Email:

PPLI / Japan Foundation, Floor 5, The Liberty Insurance Building, Navan Road, Dublin 15, D15 YT2H

Telephone: 01 215 0280