It’s that time of year again… I always feel that once the Leaving Cert results are out, summer is over!!! Inspired by Fintan O’Mahony’s fantastic suggestions, I’m considering my options for the year ahead.

I really like his timetabling idea, and will definitely try to adapt this for my own use in 2016/17. Due to a period of sick leave last year, I don’t have as much work done on Paper I as I’d like to with my incoming 6th Years, so I’ll probably allocate two days a week for language. I’ve always taught my poetry in blocks, approximately two weeks per poet, but sometimes I think that’s a bit tedious for my students. Trying something different can’t hurt anyway!

We still have one comparative text to read, The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh, which won’t take too long, and I’m going to show our film (The King’s Speech) after school so that we can watch it straight through. Then there’s the Hamlet revision (we’re going to see it in October for the second time) and some more work on the Comparative modes, so I think I’ll be dividing my week into one Poetry day, two Language days and two Single Text/Comparative days. (Am I forgetting anything???)

Another of Fintan’s ideas which appeals to me is giving my students more input into the Comparative choices. One reason for this is that I’m finding it difficult to pick three myself!!! I do normally allow them some freedom on the film choice, but with no Theme on for 2018, it’s the perfect opportunity to give them a greater involvement – it is their exam, after all. I set up my classroom in pods of four, so I’m considering dividing the list out between the groups, with four or five texts to research each (I’m not expecting them to read them all – this is not Utopia!!) and then present their views to the class, either in favour or against the titles assigned to them. (Debating/public speaking opportunity… Or maybe presented as a radio talk… Endless possibilities!) I will probably stipulate that we can’t choose more than one play, but I don’t feel impelled to do a play either as we will be studying King Lear as our Single Text.

I may change my mind by mid-September, but this is the direction of my thoughts right now!!!


The Comparative Modes for examination in 2018 are:

Higher Level (i) The Cultural Context (ii) General Vision and Viewpoint (iii) Literary Genre

Ordinary Level (i) Social Setting (ii) Relationships (iii) Hero, Heroine, Villain

List of Texts prescribed for comparative study, for examination in the year 2018.

AUSTEN, Jane Emma

BINCHY, Maeve Circle of Friends

BRONTË, Emily Wuthering Heights

COLLINS, Ciarán The Gamal

CHBOSKY, Stephen The Perks of Being a Wallflower

CUARÓN, Alfonso (Dir.) Children of Men (Film)

FITZGERALD, F. Scott The Great Gatsby

GAIMAN, Neil The Ocean at the End of the Lane

GAUTREAUX. Tim The Next Step in the Dance

GREEN, John The Fault in Our Stars

HARDY, Thomas The Mayor of Casterbridge

HAZANAVICIUS, Michel (Dir.) The Artist (Film)

HITCHCOCK, Alfred (Dir.) Rear Window (Film)

HOLMES, Alex (Dir.) Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story (Film)

HOOPER, Tom (Dir.) Les Misérables (Film)

IBSEN, Henrik A Doll’s House

KEANE, John B Big Maggie

KEEGAN, Claire Foster

KINGSOLVER, Barbara Flight Behaviour

McCABE, EUGENE Death and Nightingales

McDONAGH, Martin A Skull in Connemara

MILLER, Arthur All My Sons

MILLER, Madeline The Song of Achilles

NGOZI ADICHIE, Chimamanda Americanah

O’CASEY, Sean The Plough and the Stars

ORWELL, George 1984

PEACE, David The Damned Utd

REITMAN, Jason (Dir.) Juno (Film)

RYAN, Donal The Spinning Heart

SALVATORES, Gabriele (Dir.) I’m not Scared (Film)

SATRAPI, Marjane Persepolis

SHAKESPEARE, William King Lear, Macbeth

SIMPSON, Joe Touching the Void


VÁSQUEZ, Juan Gabriel The Sound of Things Falling

ZUSAK, Markus The Book Thief