Bonus points lure one-third of pupils to higher maths

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“About one in three Leaving Cert students has applied to sit higher-level maths this year, many lured by the prospect of earning 25 CAO bonus points. Interest among sixth years in the ‘honours’ paper is similar to what it was at the same stage in 2016 and 2015, suggesting that uptake is stabilising …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 20 March]

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Arts degrees overhaul to target better job prospects

Posted in Teaching on March 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“University College Dublin is to extensively reform its arts degree courses to try and improve the chances of students getting jobs when they graduate. Points for arts degrees have been falling in recent years as students and their parents question the job prospects linked to these qualifications …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 March]

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What’s the point of an arts degree?

Posted in Teaching on March 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“You’ve probably heard the joke before: science students spend their careers asking ‘why does it work?’; engineering graduates ponder ‘how does it work?’; while arts graduates, ask : ‘do you want fries with that?’ Gags about arts graduates and Mcjobs may be old, but the latest facts show not a lot has changed …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 March]

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Project Maths: Or is it just Maths?

Posted in Teaching on March 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“It doesn’t take long for the new and the strange to become the norm. Once the phrase ‘Project Maths’ was so controversial it spawned many newspaper articles and media discussions, with strong views being expressed both in favour and against the new maths syllabuses and exams …” (more)

[Aidan Roantree, Irish Times, 17 March]

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Changes to Academic Year Structure now Include Revision Week Before Christmas Exam Week

Posted in Teaching on March 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The end of each of Trinity’s teaching terms will now include a revision week to avoid the new Christmas exam week coming directly after a teaching week. The change was approved by University Council as part of the latest adjustment to the academic year structure …” (more)

[Eleanor O’Mahony, University Times, 16 March]

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Bruton counts on pupils to hit higher standards in maths and reading skills

Posted in Teaching on March 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Higher standards are being set for reading and maths performance among school pupils, after better-than-expected results from the 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 March]

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Snobbery surrounding apprentices

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The feature ‘Can parents get over “snobbery” surrounding apprenticeships?’, March 14th, describes a negative view of trades and tradesmen that has inexplicably prevailed in Irish society for several generations, despite the fact that we are essentially a nation of peasants …” (more)

[Sean O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 15 March]


Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles, say scientists

Posted in Teaching on March 14th, 2017 by steve

“Teaching children according to their individual ‘learning style’ does not achieve better results and should be ditched by schools in favour of evidence-based practice, according to leading scientists. Thirty eminent academics from the worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology have signed a letter to the Guardian voicing their concern about the popularity of the learning style approach among some teachers …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Guardian, 13 March]


Status, Trust and Emerging Technological Threats to Universities

Posted in Teaching on March 11th, 2017 by steve

“Universities appear to have successfully neutralized the existential threat that appeared to be posed by technology. Early debates about technological personalisation and ‘Personal Learning Environments’ envisaged new forms of education where flexible and personalised learning coordinated with new tools would replace traditional educational structures …” (more)

[Improvisation Blog, 11 March]


ASTI clears way for junior cycle pupils to sit vital English exam

Posted in Teaching on March 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (Asti) has cleared the way for about 35,000 third-year students to sit a crucial assessment in English next month. The 80-minute assessment is worth 10% of the marks in the written exam for the revamped Junior Cert English course …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 10 March]

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The meaning of education is being lost in a fug of qualifications

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“In this mad drive by universities to assuage the captains of industry and cyclopean economists, it is difficult to distinguish any more between those graduates who are educated and those who are merely qualified. The international media burped a little recently on discovering that the world’s league-leading universities are far too busy with research to be overly bothered with or about education …” (more)

[Joe O’Toole, Irish Times, 6 March]


Exam bosses turn screw on ASTI over English exam row

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Pressure is mounting on the ASTI to ensure that about 35,000 third-year pupils complete a crucial assessment in English next month, after exam chiefs made it more difficult for the union not to co-operate with it …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 7 March]

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Languages Programme

Posted in Teaching on March 3rd, 2017 by steve

IrelandPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, Anti-Austerity Alliance): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a recent EUROSTAT report (details supplied) showing that Ireland has the second lowest level of foreign-language learning in schools in the EU27 and a rate significantly below the average; his further views on the decline since 2009; the measures he will take to improve resources for foreign language learning; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 2 March]

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University of Limerick forced to cancel sexual consent workshops over lack of interest

Posted in Teaching on March 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“University of Limerick was forced to cancel its planned workshops on sexual consent for students recently – after only a few people signed up to attend …” (more)

[, 2 March]

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Shortage of teachers in key subjects ‘completely ignored’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“There is no way of ensuring that there are enough secondary teachers to meet demand in key subjects, Minister for Education Richard Bruton has acknowledged. Many secondary schools are reporting difficulties finding teachers in subjects such as Irish, home economics, physics and European languages …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 1 March]


Why September will be a watershed moment in Irish education

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“There are few tasks in our education and skills system more important than sowing the seed, as early as possible, that higher education is the expectation, not the exception. It is the role of Government to enable all the nation’s children to achieve their potential, by providing a universal, standardised, professional and comprehensive guidance counselling service …” (more)

[Betty McLaughlin, Independent, 2 March]

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Union threatens action if ‘surplus’ teachers are fired

Posted in Teaching on February 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A dispute that could close secondary schools will ‘come to a head quite quickly’ if the Government sacks teachers who are surplus to requirement, a union has warned. But the Department of Education refused to confirm whether it plans to use emergency legislation to make members of the ASTI redundant for refusing to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement …” (more)

[Anne-Marie Walsh, Independent, 28 February]

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ASTI warns against plans to make surplus teachers redundant

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The country’s biggest secondary teachers’ union has warned against any move to make its members redundant on foot of its dispute with the Government. The Irish Times reported on Monday that 60 secondary schools have received letters notifying them of their surplus staff …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 27 February]

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No Trigger Warnings Policy in Place in UCD Schools

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on February 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Increasingly at the start of a new semester in UCD, students will find themselves being given ‘trigger warnings’. Be it verbally in class, on the module outline or via an announcement on Blackboard, trigger warnings are becoming more prevalent in UCD …” (more)

[Eithne Dodd, University Observer, 27 February]

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In Defense of the Lecture

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2017 by steve

“Few have savaged lecturers as brutally as the Enlightenment-era printmaker William Hogarth. In Scholars at a Lecture, the presenter reads from his prepared text, his eyes down, indifferent to his audience. The budding academics are no more impressive; those in thrall to the lecturer’s nonsense have slack faces with lolling eyes and open mouths. The others don’t offer any critique but yawn, doze, or chat idly among themselves …” (more)

[Miya Tokumitsu, Jacobin, 26 February]