Wednesday 21 March 2018

Junior Cert Irish: Social media references not a hit with everyone

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

EXAMINERS had hoped to engage pupils with references to Twitter, YouTube and social networking – however, it might have been a stretch too far.

Even some teachers were left scratching their heads as to what the word "lionru" – "networking" – meant in the second reading comprehension about Twitter in the higher-level Paper 1.

Robbie Cronin, Irish teacher at Marian College, Ballsbridge, Dublin, said a glossary of the more difficult words should have been included as has happened in previous years.

"I'm in my 50s and I still had to look up the dictionary for that word," he admitted.

"The idea behind it is they're trying to talk to the pupils in their own language, which is quite good, but maybe they're too modern for the teacher."

Seamus O Fearraigh, a teacher at Gairmscoil Cu Uladh in Lifford, Co Donegal, said the inclusion of "fiosrach" – "inquisitive" – in the story-writing section may have baffled some, although other options such as writing about your last birthday and debating the merits of life in the country versus the city were more manageable.

"Overall it was fair, but pupils might find a few words difficult, or the context of the words," he said.

The higher-level Paper 2, which can throw up a few problems, was generally well received, with the unseen prose and poetry sections described as "challenging without being too difficult".

"The unseen poems were easier to understand and less incomprehensible than usual," remarked Mr Cronin.


However, Mr O Fearraigh wondered whether a second paper – which only accounted for 90 marks compared with 150 for Paper 1 – was necessary at all and speculated that in the era of cutbacks the Department of Education might look at this down the line.

At ordinary level, pupils enjoyed topical content, with pieces on Michelle Obama and Henry Shefflin.

However, at 20 pages long, Mr O Fearraigh said some candidates might have found it "a wee bit daunting" for this level.

He said the first section of the reading comprehension, where pupils matched sentences with pictures, was a good introduction.

Irish Independent

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