With apologies for the blog having been so quiet over the last few months (teaching during Covid has really taken its toll, unfortunately), find below the resources that I was discussing during the PASTAI annual conference last Saturday. (Resources below…)
Before providing that stuff, though, two quick points…
- I want to express my enormous gratitude primarily to Bairbre Kennedy out in Malahide Community school (my old stomping ground) for her 3 years of service at the head of the teachers’ association. I know all too well how demanding that role can be and just how much work goes on behind the scenes to represent the best interests of the teachers (and by implication, the students). This obvious extends the committee as a whole. I’m looking forward to helping out in the background again as a committee member in the year to come. Best of luck to the incoming Executive!!!
- If any teachers haven’t yet done so, could they take a couple of minutes to complete the following survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JHxHs4pSr–vuiU4RwccGYrhcG2nkhN6O8IuBhUCRtE/edit
The goal of the survey is to gather as much data as we can about the experience of teachers throughout the different cohorts as to their experiences of working in a new subject area. Hopefully, it can contribute to a meaningful output to catalogue our experiences and make recommendations as to the implementation of new subjects into the future. But we need to have a larger sample size to have more meaningful results. I appreciate how busy people are, but any time in the next couple of weeks, would be great…
Student Expectations – “Reverse Engineering” what the SEC seem to be looking for…
As I mentioned in my talk on Saturday, one of the most frustrating aspects of the new subject in the first few years was not being in a position to tell students “What a H1 essay looks like…”). But now, at least, we’re getting to a place where we have at least some idea as to what the expectation levels are. Importantly, the essays and recommendations below aren’t prescriptive, (and certainly not to be learned by heart) but you’ll find some examples of essays completed in the actual Leaving Cert, marked by SEC examiners (I’m not an SEC examiner***). My former students have given permission for me to anonymize these essays and circulate them to help the upcoming generations of students. There are obviously LOTS OF WAYS to write a successful essay and teachers will have different techniques for achieving similar goals, but seeing how the SEC marks the stuff is at least interesting…
I’ve approached this task in what I hope will be a meaningful way. First, you’ll see the 4 BLANK essays, with no grades. Read through them and see what marks YOU think they should be awarded.
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 3b – Blank Essay
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 4 – Blank Essay
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 5 – Blank Essay
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 6a – Blank Essay
Then look at the annotated versions. I’ve included that I,K,E,A,V,C marking scheme grades from the SEC and the kinds of comments that I would have made if showing students how to improve on their essays overall. ***These are only my best guess at how they should be improved***, but that should be based on a reasonably well-informed level of insight into teaching essay writing over 20 years of English, History, and now Pol-Soc teaching.
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 3b – annotated with mark and comment
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 4 – Annotated with marks and comments
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 5 – Annotated with mark and comments
LC 2019 Politics and Society – Q 6a – Sample essay – with marks and comments
The final thing is a copy of the PPT that I used on Saturday which includes some sub-headings about the different types of essay questions that are being asked (again my own interpretation), how to structure an exam essay ‘Introduction’, and also how student might usefully engage with the stimulus material. For me, at the moment, it’s all about given students clear expectations as to what I’m expecting of them, and trying to align those expectations with what the SEC seem to be looking for… But as with all things on this website, this is just my best guss. I’d gladly take on board the insights of anyone who wanted to join in with this assessment (albeit, it’s clearly not the most exciting part of what we do on a day-to-day basis).
PASTAI – Essay Writing Presentation
I hope that these are of some practical use to teachers as we head towards the Christmas Exams and the Mocks with our 6th Years. If anyone has any other useful insights, I’d be delighted to incorporate them into this blog post. Just email and let me know!!!
Best of luck with the weeks ahead.
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