Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 137 - Answered on 8th November, 2007

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for Education and Science her views on whether the excerpt from the junior certificate book Take the Plunge entitled Poisoning Pigeons in the Park is appropriate material for a school book; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Ref No: 27836/07. Written reply.

Minister for Education and Science (Mary Hanafin, TD): The Junior Certificate syllabus in English does not prescribe specific texts. Teachers are free to choose their own texts and materials to achieve the overall objectives of the programme, and are expected to choose from a wide range of literary genre and other print and media material. Lists appropriate to each year are set out in the Teacher Guidelines for English, but these are intended to be neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. Students are required to read, listen and respond to a range of literary genre including poetry, drama, prose, film, radio, etc. They are also expected to be able to understand and encounter concepts such as plot, comedy, tragedy, satire, pathos, melodrama, theatre, lyrical and narrative, tone and irony, and symbolism.

In that context, while my Department does not prescribe texts for the syllabus, and does not approve textbooks, it is considered that Poisoning Pigeons in the Park presents a useful illustration of the different genre and concepts which students could be expected to encounter during the programme.

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