Thursday 19 January 2017

Topical themes test students on German papers

Published 18/06/2016 | 02:30

Very topical subjects on the Leaving Certificate German papers included integrating refugees into school and community, online shopping, downloading music illegally and the popularity of Ireland as a destination for film-making. Stock Image
Very topical subjects on the Leaving Certificate German papers included integrating refugees into school and community, online shopping, downloading music illegally and the popularity of Ireland as a destination for film-making. Stock Image

LC/JC German and JC Home Economics - Very topical subjects on the Leaving Certificate German papers included integrating refugees into school and community, online shopping, downloading music illegally and the popularity of Ireland as a destination for film-making.

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Teacher Marie Morrissey, of CBS, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford and the ASTI, said higher-level was generally very straightforward and students to whom she spoke "were happy enough". She said the ordinary level paper "couldn't have been nicer".

Josephine Nielsen of the German Teachers Association agreed, noting that there was very little room for rote learning in the written section of the higher-level paper.

Orla Ní Shúilleabháin, of the Institute of Education, agreed on the rote-learning issue, but regarded higher level as a challenging exam.

"Both comprehensions would have put students under pressure to complete within the allocated time," she said, adding that the written section was tough and would have been difficult for weaker students.

While the themes in the letter question were topical, the questions required well thought-out answers, she said.

Ms Nielsen described the aural as student-friendly and Ms Morrissey said some of her students "had a giggle about the topic on cow bells.

"An overall positive reactions to the papers, at both Leaving Cert and Junior Cert," was how Ms Nielsen summed it up.

In the afternoon, Junior Cert students sat home economics and teacher Margaret Kinsella, of St Raphaela's Secondary School, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, said there were no difficulties.

Are examiners trying to kill Latin, asks teacher

LC Latin and Classical Studies

If the State Examinations Commission (SEC) is trying to kill off Latin as a Leaving Certificate subject, then this year's papers were another milestone on the road to extinction, according to teacher Jim O'Dea.

Among his comments about higher level were that the Latin comprehension was extremely difficult, while the question on Emperor Caligula, who "in the past never merited more than a half a question", was "definitely not expected."

Mr O'Dea described the ordinary level comprehension as "far too difficult", while the Latin unseens "were bordering on the impossible for the limited number of students who take Latin at this level".

On Classical Studies, Mr O'Dea said higher level "was not as straightforward as students might have expected".

He complained about a number of references to a book that has been out of print for years and called for an updating of the curriculum. At ordinary level, he said, most questions were along expected lines but some, on the Late Republic, were quite difficult.

A fair paper with Room to Improve

LC Construction Studies

Never mind grinds and rote learning, candidates sitting the Leaving Certificate Architectural and Construction Studies Higher Level paper would have taken a lot of questions in their stride if they were watching programmes like Dermot Bannon's Room to Improve on RTE, according to teacher James Howley.

The theme of the paper was passive house design, renewable energy and carbon footprint, and overall it was very fair, as was ordinary level, said ASTI member Mr Howley, of St Nathy's College, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.

His only criticism of Higher Level was that Question 1 had a lot in it and he was worried that students might have spent too much time on it. A TUI spokesperson said detail required in that question regarding a porch with a flat roof may have troubled some students, as it had not appeared in recent years.

Irish Independent

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