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3 Draft Leaving Certificate specifications consultations

3 Draft Leaving Certificate specifications consultations

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Glossary of key terms for SPHE

Abusive behaviour: a general term for various behaviours which may be overtly or covertly aggressive, coercive, controlling, harassing, intimidating, isolating, or threatening. Abusive behaviour can be once-off or repeated, intentional or unintentional.

Active Bystander: a person who witnesses and recognises a harmful or potentially harmful act and doesn’t ignore it or walk away.

Addictive behaviours: in the context of this specification, this refers to addictive behaviours that may arise among young people such as alcohol/substance use, gaming, gambling and social media addictions.

Behaviour: refers to the way in which one acts or behaves towards their self or others. It is helpful to view behaviour as a continuum. Behaviour can be appropriate, helpful, supportive, respectful, neutral, inappropriate, unhelpful, unsupportive, disrespectful or even harmful (physically or psychologically). Harmful behaviour might include abusive or bullying behaviours to self or others. Identifying and understanding our behaviour requires self-awareness and insight into the impact of behaviour and this is the first step to addressing behaviours we wish to change.

Bullying behaviour: intentional behaviour that is repeated over time by a group or individual with the intention of inflicting injury or discomfort through physical contact, verbal attacks or psychological manipulation.

Bystander: a person who is present when something happens and who sees it but does not take part in it.

Consent: a core principle of all respectful interpersonal relationships; it involves recognising and respecting one’s own boundaries and the boundaries of others and always checking whenever one is unsure. Consent in a sexual setting is defined in Irish law as follows: "a person consents to a sexual act if he or she freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act". The age of consent to engage in sexual intercourse in Ireland is 17 years old.

Emotional wellbeing: being aware of one’s emotions, being able to manage and express those emotions appropriately and being able to cope when confronted with adversity or stressful situations. Emotional wellbeing is fluid and involves managing the ups and downs which are a normal part of life. It should not be equated with happiness which is transitory. This course promotes emotional wellbeing for all students and while it does not focus on specific mental health problems (such as depression, anxiety) which may need professional support beyond the classroom, it helps students develop self-awareness and the skills to support and protect their emotional wellbeing throughout their lives.

Gender: Refers to the social and cultural factors influencing what it means to be male and female, i.e. the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. It is important to distinguish gender from ‘sex’ which refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that are defined as being male and female (see definition of sex below).

Gender identity: a person’s felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex registered at birth.

Health: a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Health literacy: is the combination of personal competencies and resources needed for people to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health. It also includes the capacity to communicate, assert and act upon these decisions.

Reproductive health: in the context of junior cycle SPHE this refers to learning about fertility - and how to protect it and learning about menstruation.

Romantic or intimate relationships: for the purpose of this specification, this refers to relationships that include but go beyond friendship to include a sexual attraction and may involve feelings of affection, infatuation, desire, and sensuality.

Sex: refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that are defined as being male and female. When children are born, their sex is largely decided or ‘assigned’ on the basis of their external genitalia, which generally – but not always – reflects their internal hormonal and chromosomal make-up.

Sexual activity/sexual intimacy: a range of activities from kissing, touching, fondling to sexual intercourse (in all its forms) which involve giving and receiving sexual pleasure. These activities can be solitary or involve other people.

Sexuality: the components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual expression, sexual fantasies, attitudes and values related to sex. Aspects of sexuality can change as we go through different ages and relationships (see sexuality wheel).

Sexual expression: refers to the many ways we show our sexual selves. It includes communication and acceptance of love, expressing emotion, giving and receiving pleasure, having the ability to enjoy and control sexual and reproductive behaviour.

Sexual orientation: each person’s capacity for emotional and sexual attraction to, and intimate sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender. Some people do not feel sexual attraction or may have very low levels of sexual attraction, and this is termed asexuality.

Social and emotional skills: in the context of this specification, social and emotional skills refers to self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness as set out in the CASEL Social and Emotional Skills Framework.

Social norms: the unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that are considered acceptable in a particular social group or culture. In the context of working with young people, it is important to interrogate, question and critique social norms, especially those which may be harmful, unhelpful or not reflective of what people actually feel is important.

Stereotypes: presenting an image of a person, a group or a culture based on an assumed range of characteristics, behaviours or activities.

Substance use: in the context of this specification, substance use refers to alcohol, nicotine, vaping and drugs.

Upstander: a person who is present when something happens and speaks up or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly intervening on behalf of someone who is under threat of harm or attack. Akin to an Active Bystander.

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