University challenge

Posted in Teaching on March 15th, 2018 by steve

“Sir, – Unfortunately I never studied for an arts degree in UCD, and up to yesterday I thought I had muddled along reasonably well. However, upon reading Lindsey Earner-Byrne’s letter (March 14th) responding to David McWilliams’s article ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ (Opinion, March 10th), I am now advised that I am unable to ‘think critically’ …” (more)

[John Levins, Irish Times, 15 March]


Third-level education – yesterday’s idea?

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 14th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – David McWilliams, in ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ (Opinion, March 10th), makes some interesting points, in particular about the impact of the printing press and the pressure placed on today’s teenagers, but his article is based on a misunderstanding of what someone can get from a third-level education …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 14 March]


What exactly is teaching?

Posted in Teaching on March 13th, 2018 by steve

“My generation of academic has learned to expect a constant re-assessment of what it is we actually do once we are in the classroom, or indeed during any moment of our professional activities. We used to say pretty confidently that we were ‘teaching’. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s it became absolutely necessary to describe classroom engagement as ‘teaching and learning’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 12 March]


How to stay ahead at work: the rise of remote learning

Posted in Teaching on March 13th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“During Ann Hayes’s hour-long commute to work on the Luas, most people are hunched over their smartphones or staring vacantly out the windows. She, on the other hand, is nose-deep in textbooks and notes as she studies for her business studies degree at UCD …” (more)

[John Rainsford and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 13 March]


Is Third-Level Education worth it? Maybe not – says David McWilliams

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“It won’t come as any surprise to readers of this blog that I would not be in full agreement with David McWilliams who wrote in Saturday’s Irish Times that ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 12 March]

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State exams are a rote learning memory test and aren’t serving our children’s future needs

Posted in Teaching on March 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The current system primarily based on ‘one-off testing’ – namely Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations – reflects more as a memory test suited to rote learning rather than genuinely assessing a student’s learning, knowledge, ability or acumen for a subject …” (more)

[Geoffrey Browne,, 12 March]

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Unequal pay for teachers leading to ‘brain drain’ from the profession

Posted in Teaching on March 8th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Unequal pay for teachers is causing a ‘brain drain’ which has the potential to seriously undermine children’s education, trade unions have warned. The claim was made at a protest outside the Dáil on Wednesday which called on the Government to restore pay equality for newly qualified teachers. Teachers hired over the past seven years are on lower pay scales due to austerity-era pay cuts …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 March]

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“unfair”? Making up for lost class time

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“This morning it is reported in the Irish Independent that the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) have said that it would be ‘very unfair’ to shorten Easter holidays to make up for days lost due to bad weather. This might sound like a little bit of moaning to those in the private sector, but the statement comes just two weeks before the Easter holidays, and no doubt teachers as well as students and their parents will have plans in place for the two week break …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 7 March]

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Teachers to oppose changes to exams

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Parents, students and universities have given broad support to a system of continuous assessment for the Leaving Cert – but teachers are opposed. The views were aired at a meeting of the Oireachtas Education Committee to consider whether a change would reduce high levels of student stress blamed on the current exam model …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 7 March]

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Leaving Cert leads to ‘devastating’ stress among students

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The way the Leaving Cert is structured is maximising stress on students and leading to crippling levels of anxiety, parents’ representatives have claimed. The National Parents Council Post-Primary said high-stakes, one-off exams can be ‘brutal instruments’ and fail to properly assess student’s overall performance and learning during their time at school …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 March]

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Call for investment in Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Significant investment in maintaining standards will be vital if more assessment methods are used for the Leaving Certificate, TDs and senators have heard. Lewis Purser, Irish Universities Association director of academic affairs, told the Oireachtas Education Committee that good practice of teachers regularly assessing their students is often sacrificed by the preparation required for the Leaving Certificate’s high-stakes format …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 7 March]

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Education Committee to discuss continuous assessment for State Examinations

Posted in Teaching on March 6th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Committee on Education and Skills will focus on continuous assessment for State Examinations at its meeting on Tuesday, 6 March 2018. Attending the meeting are: representatives from the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI); Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI); Union of Students in Ireland (USI); and the National Parents’ Council Post-Primary …” (more)

[Houses of the Oireachtas, 6 March]

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Snow means no classes #sneachta

Posted in Teaching on February 28th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“With the whole country shutting down and joking about bread for sale on Donedeal, it was inevitable that NCI would close too because of the bad weather. Many of our students travel long distances to College and it would have been unfair to expect them to attend lectures. Classes for Thursday and Friday are also cancelled. Interestingly, online classes are cancelled too …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 28 February]

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Sherkin arts course saved after grant aid is doubled

Posted in Teaching on February 28th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A unique arts course on an island off the south-west coast has been saved after Cork County Council said it would double grant aid to keep it afloat. The council has been supporting the BA in visual arts on Sherkin Island in recent years and has provided it with grant aid in excess of €140,000 during that time …” (more)

[Sean O’Riordan, Irish Examiner, 28 February]


Minister Bruton announces first schools to study PE as Leaving Certificate subject

Posted in Teaching on February 26th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton TD today announced that schools across the country will be partaking in the first phase of the implementation of the new Physical Education for Senior Cycle programmes. 80 schools will implement either the examinable Physical Education Leaving Certificate subject or the new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework which is not for examination, or both …” (more)

[, 23 February]

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Leaving Cert reform is overdue

Posted in Teaching on February 26th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – I believe we are underestimating the impact technology is going to have on our daily lives over the coming decades. For this reason, I would love that when students graduate from secondary school that they would be knowledgeable in plenty of subjects, fearless, entrepreneurial and open minded …” (more)

[Jason Power, Irish Times, 26 February]


Leaving Cert review to focus on easing ‘points race’ pressure

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A major review of the Leaving Cert which gets under way on Tuesday is to examine ways of easing the ‘points race’ and better preparing students for alternatives to university such as apprenticeships. Ireland currently has the highest proportion of school-leavers in the EU who progress to third level. By contrast, far fewer students here follow more vocational routes …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 February]

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End of the line for the Leaving Cert?

Posted in Teaching on February 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Is the Leaving Cert fit for purpose for the 21st century? It’s a question being regularly asked against the backdrop of a world where the skills required for workplace are changing fast. The must-have career attributes to future-proof today’s school-leavers, according to the World Economic Forum, include creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 20 February]

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Trinity College Dublin to offer degrees in conjunction with US university

Posted in Teaching on February 16th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin is to offer degrees for the first time in conjunction with Columbia University in New York in the arts and humanities. It is the first international partnership of its kind for Trinity, where students will spend two-year periods in both universities and receive degrees from both institutions …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 16 February]

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Trends in higher education

Posted in Teaching on February 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – James O’Sullivan raises some reasonable points about recent trends in higher education, notably an apparent emphasis on ‘skills’ (‘Universities have become like Ikea – just follow the instructions’, Education Opinion, February 7th). There is a suggestion in his column that these trends are driven by neoliberal politicians aided by armies of faceless administrators …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 12 February]

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