German (H) 2019: No scope for rote learning

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2019 German (Higher Level) by Orla Ni Shuilleabhain, German teacher at The Institute of Education.

This was a well-balanced, accessible and relevant paper that presented appropriate linguistic challenges to students. Some topics contained in the paper reflected themes students would have covered for their oral exam. As in previous years, there was no scope for rote learning.

Comprehension 1 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.

The grammar tasks were very fair and would have been accessible for most students.

The second comprehension was very topical and focused on a character called Christopher who wanted to travel around the world on a budget of just €50. The piece depicted the challenges and adventures he encountered along the way before reaching a happy ending. While this piece contained some challenging vocabulary the questions relating to it were quite manageable.

The written section was very fair with themes that would be of interest to students – independent travel and how they might go about arranging their school reunion in five years’ time.

This section presented students with topics including the best birthday present, fitness, which would have given them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities in the language.

This section was somewhat more challenging and presented students with a range of topics – 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.

Students were generally very happy with this though some of the news items posed a challenge.