Leaving Cert German: 'No scope for rote learning'

Students presented with topical themes in the essay section


The higher level Leaving Cert paper was very current and gave students good scope, teachers have said.

Stephen Heffernan, a German teacher at Kilkenny College, said that there were some challenges for students.

“The piece on adjective endings in the grammar section would be tough for some, but would ensure that [the information] is being taught systematically in schools,” he said. “Parts of the written section looked challenging on the first read but there was lots there to enable a candidate to do well. Themes in the long essay option such as cyber hacking, emigration, fandom and extreme weather were all very topical.”

Orla Ní Shuilleabhain, a German Teacher at the Institute of Education in Dublin, said that the paper was well-balanced, accessible and relevant but that it presented appropriate linguistic challenges to students.

“Some topics reflected themes students would have covered for their oral exam,” she said. “As in previous years, there was no scope for rote learning. The first comprehension presented the story of two characters, Lana and Johnny, and how their paths crossed at different times. It was a story of suspense, mystery and uncertainty that students found interesting but long. This meant that students had to manage their time well. While the piece contained some challenging vocabulary, the questions relating to it were fair.”

Louise Dillon-Reeves, president of the German Teachers Association of Ireland a teacher at Knockbeg College in Carlow said that the questions were nicely pitched for students of different abilities, and the topics - including class reunions, travelling and anger management - were engaging.

The grammar, letter and written sections were fair and accessible, Ms Ní Shuilleabhain said. “The essay section was somewhat more challenging and presented students with a range of topics, including being a fan of a person or a sport, school closures as a result of extreme weather, cyber-hacking and Ireland as a location for a new start.”

Both Ms Dillon Reeves and Ms Ní Shuilleabhain said that students were generally happy with the aural section although some of the news sections posed a challenge.

On the ordinary level paper, Mr Heffernan said it was generally fair. “But it offered limited opportunities to use material learned for the oral. The grammar question where candidates were asked to select the correct preposition may have been challenging for some candidates.”

Ms Dillon-Reeves said that the ordinary level paper was very doable, and that students liked a question on travelling around the world on a shoestring budget.


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