Dialogue in lectures

Posted in Teaching on April 26th, 2017 by steve

“This is not a post on whether the lecture is A Good Thing or not. Lectures happen. PERIOD! A paper by Anna Wood and colleagues at the Edinburgh PER group, along with a subsequent talk by Anna at Moray House has gotten me thinking a lot over the last year about dialogue and its place in all of our interactions with students …” (more)

[Michael Seery, Is this going to be on the exam?, 26 April]


Teacher shortages in key subjects ‘set to get worse’

Posted in Teaching on April 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Teacher shortages in key subjects are set to get much worse unless immediate action is taken, a conference has been told. At present schools report major problems finding qualified teachers in areas such as Irish, European languages, home economics and maths …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 25 April]

Where’s your effing pride?

Posted in Teaching on April 25th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I’m about a third of the way through my continuous assessment marking and I feel the need to write this – for my sanity. Back in 1985, Ireland were playing England at the old Lansdowne Road and with 10 minutes to go we were losing …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 25 April]

Reflections on the end of another academic year

Posted in Teaching on April 22nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“And so another academic year ends – except for the shed loads of marking I’ve to do. Once again, I taught all years from first to fourth. My biggest take away? The class dynamic is a mysterious thing. Final year students are generally easy to teach …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 21 April]

Latest: Threat of school closures averted as ASTI members vote against strike action

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2017 by steve

IrelandUpdate 5.15pm: The threat of secondary school closures next month has been averted after teachers voted against taking more strike action. ASTI delegates spent the day considering a series of one day stoppages in protest over pay levels for new entrants – but the motion was defeated …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 20 April]

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ASTI suspends business following wave of criticism over campaign strategy

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) took the extraordinary step of suspending its annual conference and meeting in private on Wednesday following a wave of criticism from members over its industrial relations strategy. The meeting heard claims that the union lacked a clear strategy and was ‘haemorrhaging’ younger members …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 19 April]


Language strategy destined to fail unless teacher supply problems are addressed – Byrne

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the system for training teachers in Ireland is in need of urgent reform. Deputy Byrne says the current system is antiquated as it is unplanned and uncoordinated which has given rise to a shortage of teachers for certain key subjects, particularly for foreign languages …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 19 April]

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All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister. The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert Students studying a foreign language by 10% …” (more)

[Stephen McNeice, Newstalk, 19 April]

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Overhauling the Leaving Cert: Dos and Don’ts

Posted in Teaching on April 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“After reading this article Is our education system fit for purpose in the 21st-century? I re-read a blog I had written a while back in which I suggested that the Leaving Cert is probably un-reformable. The key word there was ‘probably’ and today I’m going to suggest a few things that we could do, things that could actually be implemented without industrial unrest …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 18 April]


Is our education system fit for purpose in the 21st-century?

Posted in Teaching on April 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Liam Wegimont, principal of Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Clontarf, Dublin, produces a neatly typed letter from his files. It is from a previous headmaster, Rev William Anderson, to the then minister for education …” (more)

[Irish Times, 17 April]

The Timely Reform of Irish Arts Degrees

Posted in Teaching on April 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A popular meme that has recently appeared several times on my social media newsfeed outlines the qualifications needed to work in McDonald’s: a degree in geography, English, classics, history, or, practically, any other arts-related degree. This thorough piece of quantitative research highlights the demonisation of arts degrees …” (more)

[Simon Foy, Universty Times, 15 April]

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Evans, Kelley and Kelley, ‘Identifying the best times for cognitive functioning using new methods: Matching university times to undergraduate chronotypes’

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2017 by steve

University days generally start at fixed times in the morning, often early morning, without regard to optimal functioning times for students with different chronotypes. Research has shown that later starting times are crucial to high school students’ sleep, health, and performance. Shifting the focus to university, this study used two new approaches to determine ranges of start times that optimize for undergraduates. The first is a survey-based, empirical model (SM), and the second a neuroscience-based, theoretical model (NM). The SM focused on students’ self-reported chronotype and times they feel at their best. Using this approach, data from 190 mostly first and second year university students were collected and analyzed to determine optimal times when cognitive performance can be expected to be at its peak. The NM synthesized research in sleep, circadian neuroscience, sleep deprivation’s impact on cognition and practical considerations to create a generalized solution to determine the best learning hours. Strikingly the SM and NM results align with each other and confirm other recent research in indicating later start times. They add several important points: 1) They extend our understanding by showing that much later starting times (after 11am or 12 noon) are optimal; 2) Every single start time disadvantages one or more chronotypes; and 3) The best practical model may involve three alternative starting times with one afternoon shared session. The implications are briefly considered.

Evans M, Kelley P and Kelley J (2017). Identifying the best times for cognitive functioning using new methods: Matching university times to undergraduate chronotypes. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11:188, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00188.


ASTI to hold ballot next month on possible industrial action over redundancy

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The ASTI will ballot next month on possible industrial action in the event that one of its members is threatened with redundancy from September. The ballot will take place between May 8 and 18, ASTI president Ed Byrne said today …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 13 April]

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A Second Reading Week

Posted in Teaching on April 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“This year in the College we have introduced a second ‘reading week’ – essentially a week in the semester where there are no classes. Our first reading week was back in March – it was week 8 of the semester and coincided with the week that has St Patrick in it …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 13 April]


The Challenge of Running Constructive Consent Classes in University

Posted in Teaching on April 11th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The idea that the giving and receiving of consent should be taught is a relatively new concept. Schools in Ireland were, and still are, caught up with exposing children to graphic images of STD riddled genitalia and filling them with fear of unwanted pregnancy. How a healthy and normal sexual relationship might be carried out between young adults was none of their concern …” (more)

[College Tribune, 11 April]


More university students are using tech to cheat in exams

Posted in Teaching on April 10th, 2017 by steve

“A growing number of UK university students are cheating in exams with the help of technological devices such as mobile phones, smart watches and hidden earpieces. Data obtained by the Guardian through freedom of information requests found a 42% rise in cheating cases involving technology over the last four years – from 148 in 2012 to 210 in 2016 …” (more)

[Sarah Marsh, Guardian, 10 April]

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Evaluating Teaching

Posted in Teaching on April 10th, 2017 by steve

“The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) put out an interesting little piece the week before last summarizing the problems with student evaluations of teaching. It contains reasonable summary of the literature and I thought some of it would be worth looking at here …” (more)

[HESA, 10 April]


What’s the point of an arts degree?

Posted in Teaching on April 3rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – I note with interest a feature in your paper on the utility of the arts degree (Carl O’Brien, ‘What’s the point of an arts degree’, Analysis, March 18th). Once the default choice of many school-leavers, the BA now faces competition and sometimes displacement from BSc, BComm and many competing disciplines …” (more)

[James Lawless, Irish Times, 3 April]

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Universities Must Master Challenge of Uncertainty to Teach Students

Posted in Teaching on April 3rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Provost, Patrick Prendergast, this week found himself paying a visit to Dominican College Sion Hill in Blackrock, where he gave an address as just one of the many parents of students at the school. In the course of his explanation of what a university education, and more specifically, a Trinity education, should comprise, Prendergast gave his own take on the ‘must-have skills for today’s graduates’ …” (more)

[University Times, 2 April]

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ASTI hardening its position in long-running dispute over pay and junior cycle reform

Posted in Teaching on April 1st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The ASTI is hardening its position in the long-running disputes over pay and junior cycle reform. Counter moves from middle ground activists were defeated by clear majorities at a meeting of the union’s 180-member central executive today …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 1 April]

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