Monday 26 August 2019

Theme of respect as activist Sinéad turns up on test

Junior Cert English

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Writer and activist Sinéad Burke was thrilled to turn up on a Junior Cycle ordinary level English paper, in the form of an extract from her TED Talks about the challenges of navigating the world as a little person.

She tweeted that while "@TedTalks has brought me an incredible number of opportunities", yesterday's appearance "is not something I could have ever imagined".

The overall theme of the paper was respect and teachers agreed that it was a "nice" paper. However, Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative Liz Farrell thought the question where candidates were asked to write the opening paragraph for a story entitled 'Show me some respect', was challenging.

Meanwhile, in the third year of the new-style English exams, higher level students have not yet been asked a question on film, although it is compulsory to study it.

That was noted by Kate Barry a teacher at Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy Co Cork, who said that otherwise students were happy that all the other elements of the syllabus were examined on the paper, which had the theme 'viewpoints'.

Ms Barry, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), thought the drama question was "better than last year in that they could use any play", but "they would have to have good knowledge of their play".

She said the novel question was one "they would have been able to answer no matter what novel they had studied and what level of engagement".

However, she would have expected the unseen texts to be "a bit more rigorous. There was not much difference between higher and ordinary level. It should be more challenging; it would allow them get their teeth into it a bit."

While Ms Farrell thought the higher level paper "difficult and challenging", she felt students should have been well prepared for it. She said candidates were happy that poetry, a novel and Shakespeare came up,

However, she regarded some of the language as "quite challenging" and referred to some of the terminology in the question on Nobel Prize winners. One word she queried was citation, although it was explained, she said.

Ms Farrell, a teacher at Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Co Carlow, said the paper was much less visual than previous years.

Irish Independent

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