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Leaving Cert Spanish aural – ‘hard to hear what was being said’ at times


(Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

Not for the first time, the aural that presented the difficulties in a Leaving Cert language exam, and today it was students taking Spanish who were unhappy.

David McArdle, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, said, when the speaker went into a high pitched tone it  “made it very difficult to hear what was being said”.

When the speaker used a low tone, “it was very clear and if you knew the word there was no problem,” said Mr McArdle, who teaches at De La Salle, Dundalk, Co Louth.

Mr McArdle said he and other language teachers wonder why CDs and tape recorders are still used when there is more modern technology.

He also said that the weather topic element of the aural was also the “hardest it has been in years.”

But the written papers, at both higher and ordinary level, were described as “very manageable,” with plenty of choice and student-friendly topics.

In a reference to the higher level comprehension journalistic text on PE and sport and exercise, Mr McArdle said students would have been well prepared on that for their oral.

Begoña de la Fuente, of the Institute of Education , Dublin, agreed that it was very “straightforward” but added that some might have found the word ‘ocio’ (meaning leisure) a bit challenging.

She described the two short comprehension texts, in about bees and mountain cycling, “very manageable” and said students should not have had too much difficulty.  

This year, students had to answer only one out of the two comprehensions, rather than both.

She said that in Section B, where voluntary work was the theme in the comprehension, “there were no unpleasant surprises”.

Due to this year’s changes, in the opinion writing question there was a choice of three statements, rather than two. Ms de la Fuente said the voluntary work theme was “general enough for students to really make it personal and adapt material they would have learnt .”

Mr McArdle felt that students were most likely to have taken the option here of writing about the importance of helping people, which would have allowed them to bring in Covid.

Section C included topics such as addiction to mobile phones and a trip to Valencia, Spain all familiar themes to students.

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