Friday 18 August 2017

Rote learning was no use to students in German exam

Junior Cert students at Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir, Co Tipperary, Roisin Whelan, Max Zimmann and Chloe Enright with their German paper Photo: John D Kelly
Junior Cert students at Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir, Co Tipperary, Roisin Whelan, Max Zimmann and Chloe Enright with their German paper Photo: John D Kelly
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Rote learning lots of sentences on different topics in the hope they would be of use in the written expression questions would not have worked for candidates sitting the Leaving Certificate higher level German Paper yesterday, according to teacher Fiona Healy.

She said students were "expected to react to topics instantly and write a response using the German they have acquired over five to six years".

Orla Ni Shuilleabhain, a teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, agreed there was no scope for students to give back any prepared material on themes that included what they would do if they had to leave their smartphone at home.

Overall, Ms Healy, of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and a teacher at St Joseph's Secondary School, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, regarded the paper as "fair and manageable."

The first reading comprehension was about a bank robbery and Ms Healy said that, while sometimes the title gives no clue to the topic of the text, she felt the single word title, Bankraub, "summed up nicely what the text was about".

She said her students found the second reading comprehension, about street children in Germany, difficult from the point of view of vocabulary, and because they felt there wasn't enough information to give detailed answers to some questions.

"However, it was manageable as the text was well-structured and many students would have covered the vocabulary around social problems in class," she said. Students also found the news items in the aural challenging, she said.

On the other hand, Ms Healy said her students felt they could answer all the questions in the grammar section. She regarded the grammar tasks as "straightforward, when compared with other years".

Ms Healy described the ordinary level as "fair", although she said students found the literary text "quite difficult" and also felt the aural was "challenging", as "they often do at this level".

In the Junior Cert, Ms Healy said that, overall, both the higher and ordinary papers reflected previous years' papers and "held no real surprises".

She said that students at both levels "found the paper fine and felt they were able to attempt most of the questions".

Irish Independent

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