Junior Cert German and home economics: Where dull means engaging

German paper was straightforward but boring, while home economics was topical

‘There were no surprises in terms of the language or vocabulary, and it was all very doable,’ said German teacher Patrick Kavanagh

‘There were no surprises in terms of the language or vocabulary, and it was all very doable,’ said German teacher Patrick Kavanagh

 

Straightforward and standard but perhaps a little dry: that was the verdict of Patrick Kavanagh, Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland subject representative and a German teacher at Gorey Community School on this year’s higher level Junior Cert German exam.

“There were no surprises in terms of the language or vocabulary, and it was all very doable,” he said.

The comprehension questions, however, couldn’t be called exciting or engaging. Students were presented with the story of a grumpy teacher, another on stacking coffee cups into pyramids, and a third looked at young people in a club that builds websites.

“There wasn’t a lot that would be very relevant to a teenager’s life. That said, the paper was set out to a very clear formula.”

Mr Kavanagh said the ordinary level paper contained no surprises. “The ordinary level students will have prepared for it, and they’ll know what to do.”

In the afternoon, 18,197 girls and just 3,470 boys sat the home economics exam. The gender gap has narrowed slightly in recent years, but it is still significant, said Maura McCall, a home economics teacher at Loreto College on Stephen’s Green.

“The paper was well received by my students,” she said. “From my perspective it was accessible and fair.”

The ordinary level paper was “accessible with scope for creativity in a question asking them to draw a sketch of a family room,” she said.