LC & JC French: When a canapé is for sitting and not for eating

Junior Cert exam students at Loreto Secondary School, Wexford: Jessie Egan, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co Wexford, Katelyn Conroy, Rosslare, CoWexford, Katelyn Clowrey, Wexford, and Ellen Berry, Tomhaggard, Co Wexford. Photo: Mary Browne

When is a canapé not a tasty morsel served at parties? Leaving Certificate students of French had to figure that out in the course of their listening comprehension test.

A section of the aural, about a fire in an apartment, made reference to a canapé and, in this context, it meant a settee, from which, apparently, the bite-sized edible takes its name.

According to Jane O'Dwyer, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), "some students came out and said 'what was that?'."

But, she said, they found the listening test nicely paced and could understand the accent, while she described the overall content of the aural as "good, a section about a goat breeder was a little quirky".

Ms O'Dwyer, of St Anne's Secondary School, Rosanna Road, Tipperary town, said the higher level written paper really took into account students' interests.

One of the questions to which she referred was the diary entry, about seeing a famous actor or singer. "A lot of famous singers have had concerts in Ireland and the students have all queued for tickets". Another theme was online shopping, and Ms O'Dwyer asked "who hasn't done that?".

She thought it a very balanced paper, but while welcoming the topicality of a question on the consequences for Ireland of Brexit, she thought it would have been "very difficult for a student to do in English, let alone French".

Ms O'Dwyer described the ordinary level exam as "very doable" for anyone who had been practising previous papers.

She said the Junior Cert higher level followed the usual format, with some familiar topics, such as pocket money, while anyone who had gone over their general vocabulary would have been "well able to deal with the aural".

LC & JC History: 'Well-prepared' students thrilled with questions on Martin Luther King

History students have a "soft spot" for Martin Luther King and the Montgomery bus boycott, according to teacher Thomas Ahern, and they were not disappointed with yesterday's Leaving Certificate papers, where they featured at both higher and ordinary level.

A subject representative for the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), Mr Ahern regarded both papers as "extremely fair", adding that "if a student was ready and raring to go, they would have been absolutely thrilled".

Mr Ahern, of Coláiste Chonglais, Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, said at higher level, even where there was a "left of centre" question, examiners were "generous" and there was a back-up.

However, Philip Irwin, of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), wasn't so enthusiastic.

He described both papers as a "good test", adding students had to be "well prepared" and had to get beyond the absence of questions on some case studies covered in the syllabus.

Mr Irwin, of the High School, Rathgar, Dublin, said that in the Northern Ireland section, there would have been disappointment that the Sunningdale Agreement didn't turn up.

Nor was there a question about efforts towards a solution in Northern Ireland, with the focus on the beginnings of the Troubles, he said.

However, in the documents sections, Mr Irwin thought the question on the Jarrow March at higher level, and on the Nuremberg Rallies at ordinary level, were both good.

Mr Irwin described the Junior Cert higher level paper as "balanced with good variety", but said students may have been wondering why the Age of Exploration featured only in the short questions, while he noted that political revolutions in the 18th century didn't appear at all. He said ordinary level students had "good choice".

A TUI representative agreed there were "no unusual or negative aspects" to the higher level paper and that a prepared student would have been happy.

Read other news on the city site of Dublin.

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