Leaving Cert Irish paper 1: Three ‘bankers’ come up

Teachers broadly pleased as Bliain na Gaeilge, economy and environment appear

The year-long celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the start of the Irish language revival movement was among the topics presented to students on the Leaving Cert Irish paper one examination. Here Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Joe McHugh Minister of State for the Irish Language, with students from Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail Choir, Movill, Donegal at Government Buildings for the launch of Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 last December. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The year-long celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the start of the Irish language revival movement was among the topics presented to students on the Leaving Cert Irish paper one examination. Here Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Joe McHugh Minister of State for the Irish Language, with students from Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail Choir, Movill, Donegal at Government Buildings for the launch of Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 last December. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

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Higher level students who prepared essay topics including Bliain na Gaeilge, the environment and the economy were not disappointed as all three ‘bankers’ came up on Leaving Cert High Level Irish paper one.

Teachers were broadly pleased, describing it as a fair exam that should provide a “good confidence boost” for students ahead of the more testing paper two which took place on Tuesday.

Noelle Moran, ASTI subject spokesperson and teacher of Irish at St Jarlaths College in Tuam thought paper one presented students with “a decent choice of essays.”

Students were asked to write 500-600 words on one topic. The composition could take the form of an essay or a newspaper article, a story, a debate or an oration.

“A lot of students would have been quite happy to see an Ghaeilge referenced on the paper - this year being Bliain na Gaeilge. I felt there was something for everyone. Ceol (music) was there, then a nice general one about people in public life - it could be political, you could relate it to sports stars or bring in your favourite musician.

“It was a nice general one that you could adapt to your own particular interests,” said Ms Moran. “All-in-all, a good paper one.”

Robbie Cronin of Marian College in Ballsbridge said students were very happy with the written part of the paper as three “bankers” came up.

“The higher level students will have been invigorated by it. I don’t think they could have any complaints about it when the three bankers come up - everyone was saying that Irish, social media, and climate change would come up.”

“There would have been a hope or an expectation that there would be something about ‘an Ghaeilge san lá atá inniu ann’. Then of course, there was climate change and the influence of technology on teenagers.

“They were three brilliant questions, three really topical ones. The students came out happy with that.”

“I wouldn’t complain. I think it was a great written paper. That’s what you want. All I’d be saying is, make sure they (the students) understand the essays and then let them show how much Irish they have and I couldn’t complain. It was brilliant.”

Aural

However, time was an issue for some in the aural exam which Mr Cronin said was topical but difficult.

“It wouldn’t have been an easy aural for the higher level. It would definitely have been challenging. I think it was a bit more difficult than last year.”

“In fairness to them they tried to be topical. They mentioned Leo Varadkar the storms in the earlier part of the year.”

“The first section was fine, the comhrá but the two latter parts, Section B and Section C, they found very difficult.”

Clare Grealy, Irish teacher at the Institute of Education said the Ordinary Level paper was “very testing”.

“A lot of students will have found today’s Ordinary Level Paper One very challenging,” she said. Mr Grealy said Section C where candidates were asked to write a letter or email was more difficult than in previous years.

“In recent years Section C has been a very popular choice for students, but I don’t think this will have been the case this year. The first question asked you to write to your friend telling them about your new mobile phone and telling them what you can do with your mobile. This would have required a lot of technical vocabulary. Students would have found this very testing.

“Superfluous working in the second letter, about a summer job and the fact that you were ‘waiting for your brother and sister’, would have confused students a great deal,” she added.

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