John McGabhann from the Teachers Union of Ireland was invited here today to #Feilte as a guest. Once upon a time, he was a teacher of English and Gaeilge, in Tallaght Community School. Today he took a great interest in Fintan O’Toole’s speech, particularly in how he talked about efficiency in education. John raised interesting points about how he thinks conferences like this should be held at a local level around the country, and involve parents in them so they can see how their children are progressing with knowledge, drama, art, etc. He believes parents and communities should be able to see the importance of the school in the community, and just how valuable it is. He thinks that technological advances in education are important but can never substitute for direct human interaction, and should instead supplement the needs of children.
We interviewed Anne Looney who is in charge of theNCCA organisation. The NCCA are responsible for the curriculum in primary and post primary schools. Anne was an English and Religion teacher for fourteen years.
Last year she gave the lecture that Fintan O’Toole gave this morning. Anne really enjoyed the talk Fintan O’Toole gave and thought that he made some very valuable points.
Anne thinks that technology is only beginning to be embraced in schools in Ireland and thinks it will really benefit the Education system, that it really helps both teachers and students how too learn in a better and easier way.
Dissolving Boundaries uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to facilitate cross-cultural educational links between schools in the North and South of the boarder. It is jointly funded by the two Departments of Education.Once teachers have chosen the topic to work on, for e.g mapwork projects for geography,they present the idea to the pupils explaining that they collaborate with partner school who will do some of the work and that it will be project based using online interaction and video-conferencing.
Here Finn and David caught up with Bridge 21 and asked them about their new learning model that they use in their centre in Trinity College Dublin. They’re planning to spread this model of active learning into more Irish secondary schools.
Youth Media Team members Brídín and Jack interview columnist and author Fintan O’Toole, Deputy Editor of the Irish Times.
Fintan understands the problems facing the education system as his wife is a teacher. He understands the challenges teachers encounter at the moment, particularly as they face cuts to funding and resources. Within fifteen minutes of Fintan’s lecture beginning, over 100 tweets flew out of the audience, establishing #féilte as one of the foremost trending hashtags today during this celebration of World Teacher’s day. Fintan was interrupted several times during his talk by enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Fintan believes technology can make learning easier and better. However, sometimes nothing compares to quiet time just reading about a topic. Technology can be hyper-active and can distract us from thinking deeply. His time in Primary School was not enjoyable as corporal punishment was still the norm. He didn’t feel safe in school but he did say he had some really wonderful teachers. In his opinion the best thing that has happened to Primary Education is the end to violence towards children. How we treat old people and children is the measure of how well our society is functioning.
Ultimately we want students to be confident, creative and critical and they inherit these characteristics from teachers, who need to model this behaviour. So we need to trust teachers. If Fintan was Minister for Education, he would trust teachers to use their Croke Park hours as they see fit. It is very insulting to say that you don’t trust them to use their time wisely. Teachers should be given freedom to innovate in their classrooms and not become box tickers.
eTwinning is the community for schools in Europe. It offers a platform for teachers who are working in a school in one of the European countries involved, to communicate, collaborate, develop and share projects with other European schools. The eTwinning action promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of ICT in the classroom by providing support, tools and services for schools. Helen English shared her thoughts with Éadaoin.
Rozz Lewis loves writing and reading (and talking!). She has written articles for the Irish Times, Sunday Times, INTOuch magazine, writing.ie and co-edits and writes for Anseo.net. She left being a principal to become a teacher, as she wanted to be more involved with teaching and learning. She teaches English as a foreign language in Portlaoise, in the new Educate Together school, something which she finds very rewarding. She loves English, as well as SPHE and art.
Interview with Tomás O’Ruairc from the Teaching Council, here today to congratulate teachers. He gives his views on the role of technology in education and how teachers can use technological ideas without copying them exactly.
Fred Boss is an education officer with NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment). This is a space that was built to house the weekly online chats (every Monday night 8.30 – 9.30pm) of Irish educators ( primary and post primary teachers and third level (college and university) lecturers) as they discuss all things education. Despite there being a heat wave when he had his Leaving Certificate Art History examination, he went on to student Art at the National College of art and design, and progressed to becoming an art teacher.