Arguing the case for traditional education

Posted in Teaching on November 20th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“I’ve been thinking a lot about the traditional-progressive divide in the last few days. In particular, I’ve been seeking a nice, concise definition of ‘constructivism’. No luck so far; it seems to mean what you want it to mean. Anyway, during my journey around the web, I came across the following description of traditional education. Here are my comments on what a progressive educator (obviously) thinks of traditional education …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 20 November]

Exam Mills

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 18th, 2019 by steve

IrelandDrivetime‘s John Cooke talks to students in UL about exam mills, and Deirdre Stritch, programme manager with QQI, talks to Mary about the new rules that have been introduced to clamp down on academic cheating …” (mp3)

[RTÉ – Drivetime, 18 November]

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Education is not the same as training

Posted in Teaching on November 18th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – A regular feature of opinion pieces in Irish newspapers is the promotion of what might be termed ‘progressive education’. Progressive educators tend to view learning as ‘natural’ and presume that if students are not engaged by their studies, then it must be due to the methods being used to teach them …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 18 November]

Crackdown on third level essay writing services begins in wake of anti-cheating laws

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A legal crackdown on the growing number of services writing essays or other assignments for third-level students is under way. New anti-cheating laws came into effect last week making it an offence either to provide or advertise cheating services or to publish adverts promoting such services …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 November]

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Academic cheating using paid-for essays ‘poses threat to integrity of third level’

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Academic cheating using online ‘essay mills’ is posing a significant threat to the integrity of higher education, the State body responsible for policing standards in third level has warned. International research indicates there has been a sharp rise in written-to-order essays and dissertations, with as many as one in seven graduates admitting to paying someone to undertake an assignment for them …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 November]

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The New Humanities

Posted in Teaching on November 14th, 2019 by steve

“Once-robust fields are being broken up and stripped for parts. The humanities, we’re often told, are dying. And yet, even as traditional majors like English and history are indeed shrinking, the past decade has also seen the rise of a new kind of humanities, including a wave of hybrid fields such as the digital humanities, environmental humanities, energy humanities, global humanities, urban humanities, food humanities, medical humanities, legal humanities, and public humanities …” (more)

[Jeffrey J Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 November]

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Was the Leaving Cert harder in the past?

Posted in Teaching on November 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – As Sean Byrne points out in his letter (November 7th), matrices, calculus and complex numbers were on the Leaving Cert, rather than the Inter Cert in the mid-1990s. However, that isn’t how my friend remembered it, and this makes the point that our memories of our own exam experiences can be fallible …” (more)

[David Malone, Irish Times, 11 November]

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Schools may drop foreign languages due to lack of teachers

Posted in Teaching on November 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Some secondary schools say they will be forced to reduce pupils’ access to foreign languages due to difficulties recruiting qualified teachers, according to a Department of Education audit. The report also shows evidence of a class gap in access to language tuition, with students in fee-paying secondary schools much more likely to have a choice of languages to study …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 11 November]

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Consent education in college

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Depending on who you ask, you may well receive a different answer on what it means to give or receive consent. ‘It’s simple’, someone might say, ‘No means No and Yes means Yes’. But in an environment where 32% of Irish students reported they would find it difficult to tell their partner they did not want to have sex and 1 in 4 female students have experienced unwanted sexual contact …” (more)

[Jack Ryan, Trinity News, 8 November]

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National programme aims to enhance the digital capacity of university teaching staff to improve the educational experiences and digital skills of Irish university students

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Universities Association (IUA) today officially launched the Enhancing Digital Capacity in Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities (EDTL) project as the final event of the World Conference on Online Learning. This is an ambitious three-year project, funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Innovation and Transformation Programme …” (more)

[IUA, 7 November]

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Maths and the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Seán Byrne (Letters, November 7th) bemoans ‘the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers’ from a ‘modern maths exam’. Continuing, he states, ‘The topics listed were never on the Intermediate Certificate but they were essential topics on the Leaving Certificate until the 1990s’ …” (more)

[Fintan Gibney, Irish Times, 8 November]

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On-line Testing for Continuous Assessment

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The biggest issue for me and many others about on-line education is assessment. The security and integrity of the assessment is paramount – this is easy to implement in an exam hall with Invigilators watching your every move, but not so on-line. Proctoring a test is not so easy – software is the only way to go? For end of semester/year exams, some institutions will insist on students attending the College to sit the exam in the traditional exam hall …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 7 November]

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Students call for overhaul of Leaving Cert programme

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A consultation process on senior cycle education has found a strong appetite for change among students, parents and teachers who contributed, according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 7 November]

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Was Leaving Certificate harder in past?

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In an article on the issue of whether the Leaving Certificate was harder in the past than it is today (Education, November 5th), Dr David Malone of Maynooth University is quoted as stating that his research on this topic was prompted by a Tweet from a friend of his decrying the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers from a ‘modern Maths exam’ …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 7 November]

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Was the Leaving Cert harder in the old days?

Posted in Teaching on November 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“What sort of so-called modern maths exam lacks matrices, calculus and complex numbers? Dr David Malone, a mathematician at Maynooth University, noticed the question posed by a friend on Twitter and he wondered: has our maths education been dumbed down? Malone dug out a copy of an old Intermediate Cert (the precursor to the Junior Cert) maths paper from the mid-90s, when his friend sat the exam …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 5 November]]


Don’t lecture me!

Posted in Teaching on November 3rd, 2019 by steve

“Lectures are an hour long (some astoundingly 2/3 hours) because the Sumerians had a base-60 number system. It is for the convenience of timetabling, not the psychology of attention and retention …” (more)

[Donald Clark Plan B, 3 November]


Why we need to reconsider the value of the virtual classroom

Posted in Teaching on October 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Online programmes are on the rise in the Irish university sector, with everything from certificates and diplomas to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees now being offered in a fully online or ‘blended’ mode. Their champions argue that online offerings attract students wishing to combine study with paid employment or those tailoring continuous professional development around young family or caring needs …” (more)

[Áine Mahon and Shane Bergin, Irish Times, 29 October]


Pressure on students

Posted in Teaching on October 28th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I must disagree with the head of examinations and assessment in the State Examination Committee, Tim Desmond, in recommending that ‘the CAO system changes significantly, to move the pressure point from the end of senior cycle to the end of first year in third-level institutions’ …” (more)

[Marion Dunne, Irish Times, 28 October]

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Junior Cycle reforms row threatens to ‘implode’ in schools and cut class time

Posted in Teaching on October 19th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Junior Cycle reforms are threatening to ‘implode’ in schools, with warnings that pupils face losing  significant amounts of tuition time if a long-running row is not sorted. At the heart of the dispute is the timing of meetings designed to underpin the quality of new classroom-based student assessments, known as CBAs …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 19 October]


Junior cycle reform needs consensus

Posted in Teaching on October 18th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Colm O’Connor in his article ‘History “special status” forces big reversal of Junior Cycle reform’ (Education Analysis, October 15th) finishes with the following astute observation: ‘Deep reforms require a compass bearing, and for this, it seems clear that a national consensus must first be achieved …'” (more)

[Sean Keaveny, Irish Times, 18 October]