Friday 24 November 2017

English Higher Level Paper I ‘challenging but fair’

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LEAVING Cert English Paper I Higher Level was a colourful, challenging, though fair paper, that only a student who actually dislikes literature could find unattractive, according to one teacher.

The general theme of the paper was story-telling, highlighting a literary technique or skill, which was a welcome departure from the themed concepts, such as freedom and identity of previous years, said Jim Lusby of the Institute of Education

The three texts presented for reading and criticism explored the techniques, attractions and practitioners of story-telling and included an article on the enduring popularity of the cliff-hanger, an interview with the Irish writer William Trevor on the art of fiction and a celebration of the hundredth anniversary of New York’s Grand Central Station. 

Two of the texts were accompanied by stimulating visual images according to Mr Lusby, who said John Collier’s stunning photograph of the concourse of Grand Central Station was particularly welcome.

The three comprehension questions set on each text were fair and predictable, he said .

The range of Question B tasks – a talk, an introduction to a book and an opinion piece – provided the paper with variety, because they intentionally avoided story-telling and put the emphasis on the effective expression of a point of view.  The topics covered were the role of television, ordinary people, tourist attractions, which he described as colourful, accessible and stimulating.

Mr Lusby said the selection of compositions was impressive. The tasks ranged from a serious speech, through two attractive personal essays, two exciting short story options, an attractive descriptive essay on glimpsed moments in life, back to an informal discussion on rural and urban lifestyles. 

“There was something for everyone here, and all the topics were engaging,” he said.

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