Tuesday 12 December 2017

Difficult bits, but a 'fair' paper that left most pupils happy


Seamus Heaney reading works by Thomas Hardy
Seamus Heaney reading works by Thomas Hardy
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

JUST about every Leaving Certificate English candidate was expecting the late Seamus Heaney to appear this year, but there was some surprise when he turned up on Paper 1.

Students would be hoping for his poetry to feature on Paper 2 today, but while they wait and wonder about that, one of his essays was presented as a comprehension text yesterday.

Fintan O'Mahony, of Scoil Mhuire in Greenhill, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, and the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI), commented that while the Heaney appearance was "unusual", the questions on his text were "lovely". In contrast, Mr O'Mahony felt that students would have found the second comprehension, an extract from Richard Ford's novel 'Canada' as a "little more off-putting" because of the use of phrases that "you would not see every day".

He said that it was a "fair" paper that left most of the students he met very happy.

Ollie Power, of Deansrath Community College, Clondalkin, Co Dublin, and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), agreed that the Heaney text was "lovely", but shared the view that the Canada extract was "quite difficult".

Jim Lusby, of the Institute of Education, Dublin, thought the paper "perfectly pleasant", but with "disappointing omissions and inclusions".

Mr Lusby described the comprehensions, on the theme of influence, as contemporary and engaging, but added that the omission of questions on visual literacy was a shock.

"Since visual literacy is a core component of the syllabus and an essential skill for those of us living in the 21st century, the omission is disturbing," he said.

He said an apparent reluctance to move with the times was also evident in the Question B tasks, one of which required candidates to write a letter, a form of communication he said was largely outdated.

Irish Independent

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