Monday 20 May 2019

WATCH: English paper two - Challenging but hugely thought-provoking and stimulating paper

A-level students at a private school in Surrey are to start lessons at 1.30pm rather than 9am
A-level students at a private school in Surrey are to start lessons at 1.30pm rather than 9am
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Leaving Certificate English Higher Level Paper 2 was “a perfect follow-up to yesterday’s excellent Paper 1, “according to teacher Jim Lusby.

Mr Lusby, of Dublin’s Institute of Education, described it as a  challenging, but hugely stimulating examination.

He said it was “a literature paper that acknowledges that Leaving Certificate students are mature thinkers, with considerable knowledge of life, as well of the academic courses they have studied.”

According to Mr Lusby, the questions in all sections encouraged candidates to reflect maturely on the issues explored in the texts they had studied:  “The ‘human condition’, as portrayed in Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘the darker aspects’ of Robert Frost’s vision, the relevance to ‘contemporary Ireland’ in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, the concept of socially unacceptable behaviour in Comparative Study.

“In taking this approach, the examiners firmly attest the relevance of literature in today’s world, by insisting on the inextricable link between our experiences in life and the stories we tell about these experiences.”

He said there were “no unpleasant surprises and no unfairness to detract from the paper’s focus in asserting the importance of literature “and he had only one quibble in “an otherwise a faultless paper.”

Mr Lusby explained that because there are almost 40 prescribed texts in Comparative Study -  from which candidates select three - the more precise and detailed the questions are in this section, the more they run the risk of favouring some texts over others.

“Perhaps it is time, again, to re-think the approach to comparative literature”, he said.

He regarded the ordinary level exam as “a generous, paper that must have been a pleasure to engage with for every well-prepared candidate.”

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