Monday 16 October 2017

Approval for a novel paper with no novel question

Junior Cert students Maham Aziz, left, and Tata Abuladze, of St Aloysius Secondary School,
Cork City. Picture: Provision
Junior Cert students Maham Aziz, left, and Tata Abuladze, of St Aloysius Secondary School, Cork City. Picture: Provision

It was all change in the first of the new-style Junior Cycle English papers which, overall, seem to have gone down well with teachers and students.

There is no longer a guarantee the June exam will include questions on Shakespeare, a novel and poetry, even though they all have to be covered.

There was no novel at higher level, but candidates faced a grammar question about the apostrophe, and Liz Farrell, of the TUI, a teacher at Colaiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Co Carlow, reckoned it was about 30 years since students were last asked about the apostrophe.

She said the Shakespeare question was much different from the style of previous years, with students asked what they would include on a poster advertising a film to represent what they thought was important in the play and to create a sense of anticipation for its upcoming release.

"That encompasses an awful low of skills they would have learned. It was getting them to adapt their knowledge to fit the question. It covered visual literacy, film terminology, knowledge of the text and how a plot is driven in terms of anticipation," she said.

However, Kate Barry, of the ASTI, and a teacher at Loreto, Fermoy, noted that it was one of two questions where visual literacy came up.

"Students would all have studied two novels and there was no question, but there were two about posters," said Ms Barry. She welcomed the grammar question at higher level, which had not been on the sample paper, and said she would like to see one on the ordinary level paper as well.

Her students seemed happy enough with the higher level paper which, she said, was clearer than the sample paper issued by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Ms Barry regarded the ordinary level paper as "more comprehensive because it touched on more areas of the course".

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