Sunday 21 January 2018

Uplifting and humour-based questions give candidates plenty to smile about

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Leaving Certificate English ordinary-level candidates had plenty to smile about in their first exam, which was on the theme of humour.

Texts from books by comedians Des Bishop and Michael McIntyre and cartoonist Gary Larson, about their own personal and professional lives, featured in the comprehension section.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) spokesperson Michael Doherty said pupils would have found the paper quite uplifting.

Mr Doherty of Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Co Donegal, said the composing section gave candidates "plenty to go on". He said pupils were very happy coming out of the exams.

Jim Lusby of the Institute of Education, Dublin, agreed and said, for most candidates, it should have been a pleasurable, and, hopefully, fairly relaxed beginning to the challenges still ahead in the exams.

The theme of humour was accessible and the "wide-ranging and fair" selection of compositions were well-written and informative, he said.

Mr Lusby also described the range of question B tasks – a talk, a letter, and a review – as well within the capability of any well-prepared pupil.

Alan Thompson of Abbey Vocational School in Donegal town and of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) described it as a "lovely opening paper that would certainly settle the nerves".

He described all three comprehension texts as "very manageable" in terms of content, language and style, with questions that were well pitched and structured.

In the composing section, Mr Thompson said while there was a very wide range of essays, he felt the short story options were a little prescriptive.

Candidates he spoke to afterwards were happy. "They had a fair chance to showcase their talents," he said.

Irish Independent

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