After a busy summer of marking and setting school and ‘Mock’ exams, preparing notes and handouts, chasing small children about (my own, I should add), and desperately trying to get up to speed on a few subject related issues, we’re back! It seems that tons of people are engaging with the podcast and website, which is really encouraging!!! There have now been 3,000 listens across the 8 episodes and this post will probably push the website over 10,000 page views! (The ‘Key Thinker Quizzes’ seem particularly popular!?!). I’m facing into that time of the year when I have to shell out for renewal of the website and Soundcloud storage, so if you were inclined to help me mitigate those costs and keep the site free for all students, you can help here. It’s hard to keep a project like this alive when you’re trying to self-fund, so please consider donating if you’re in a position to do so.
Currently in the pipeline is the editing of the “John Locke” episode that I recorded with the amazing Graham Finlay of UCD on the day before term restarted. Suffice it to say, it’ll take me a while to get it edited (especially because virtually everything Graham says is gold dust!), but I hope to have it up by the end of the midterm break. I’m also looking for suggestions for an episode to make in the run up to Christmas, so if you have any special requests, please send them on!
In the meantime, lots of sixth year students around the country are at various stages of preparation/completion of their Citizenship Projects. Part of the problem (dare I say anxiety?) that many students feel around the project is that they don’t know exactly what is required of them. I’m sure that there might be a few teachers out there that feel this too! So what I’ve done is looked back through some of the exams that my students sent me at the end of the summer and found one that had a mark of 35 out of 35 for its ‘Section A’. Fully anonymized (and with the student’s permission) you can find a downloadable pdf of that the file here: Section A Annotated.
A few caveats (warnings) apply here… Firstly, and most obviously, the titles for this year are different so what you do won’t be exactly the same, but what I’d want you to see is that the student’s project clearly engages with a personal perspective, deals with national organizations, but also is linked to both key thinkers and global Human Rights organizations and declarations. The work that touches on all three of these levels (personal, national, global) always seems to read as most fully engaged with the course criteria. Secondly, showing you an excellent Section A is not designed to say that you MUST mimic the exact format, but it COULD be a useful guide for students to see if what they are doing is in the right ‘ball park’. Thirdly, all the annotations and comments are MINE and not from any other examiner. They’re simply a few relevant pointers that I would want my own students to see, rather than just be faced with a typed document that they might find hard to interpret. Finally, it’s useful to see that the student makes it very clear exactly how the research that she undertook helped to ‘INFORM’ her subsequent action. Although I’m not an SEC examiner, I can say with a high degree of confidence that this seems to be exactly what they are looking for in the reports.
If you don’t believe me (and you should never take anyone’s word for it!), check out the “Chief Examiner’s Report” from May 2019. You can find it here: https://www.examinations.ie/misc-doc/BI-EN-16366956.pdf. There’s a section near the end that specifically deals with the Citizenship Project Reports.
The final caveat is that we still don’t know if there will be any changes to the requirements in the project booklet for 2020 (which I’m a bit grumpy about and about which I recently wrote to the SEC). Be aware that if you are downloading the 2019 booklet DO IT VIA THE S.E.C. WEBSITE. Don’t google it, as the 2018 version is the first result that you are likely to come across and this might send you down a few unnecessary rabbit holes.
Best of luck with the projects and the rest of the year ahead.