In defence of Junior Cycle reforms

Posted in Teaching on December 2nd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I am writing in response to Sean Keaveny’s letter in which the author calls for a ‘root and branch’ review of junior cycle education (November 22nd). There was one. It culminated in the publication in 2015 of the Framework for Junior Cycle, which is currently being phased into schools …” (more)

[Pádraig Kirk, Irish Times, 2 December]


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]


ASTI warns against senior cycle reform until Junior Cycle changes are evaluated

Posted in Teaching on October 15th, 2019 by steve

“Major curriculum change at senior cycle level should not take place until there is a comprehensive review of the impact of Junior Cycle changes, a teachers’ union has warned. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is consulting with parents, students and teachers as part of an ongoing review of the senior cycle …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 15 October]

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History ‘special status’ forces big reversal of Junior Cycle reform

Posted in Teaching on October 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The decision to grant the subject of history a special status in the Junior Cycle has been met with relief in many quarters. As a former history teacher, I understand this sentiment; it speaks well of our civil society, and no doubt, of the values which influenced the Minister’s decision …” (more)

[Colm O’Connor, Irish Times, 15 October]

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History and the curriculum

Posted in Teaching on October 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – By giving history ‘special core status’, Minister for Education Joe McHugh has essentially made the Framework for Junior Cycle document null and void as it has removed a key principle that it stands on choice and flexibility for schools and students …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 3 October]

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The Irish Times view on history in schools: good call – with caveats

Posted in Teaching on October 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“On one hand, the debate over the place of history on the school curriculum has been an invigorating, encouraging experience. A discussion that has drawn in everyone from the President to school-children, has been a reminder of the importance society attaches to understanding its past. On the other hand, that debate has been beset by confusion …” (more)

[Irish Times, 1 October]

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McHugh rules out giving special status to other Junior Cycle subjects

Posted in Teaching on October 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Minister for Education Joe McHugh has ruled out making subjects such as geography or science mandatory after moving to make the study of history compulsory for Junior Cycle students. Mr McHugh announced on Tuesday that he will give history ‘special core status’ in the Junior Cycle following a review on whether the subject should remain optional or not …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 1 October]

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The junior cycle English course

Posted in Teaching on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Matthew Harrison (Letters, May 30th) makes the common mistake of assessing the learning experience of students by looking only at the terminal exam they will sit. He bemoans that junior cycle English, through its two-hour exam, ‘offers our pupils less scope for engagement and depth of analysis than any other subject, except for common-level civic social and political education (CSPE)’ …” (more)

[David O’Donvan, Irish Times, 3 June]

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History and the Junior Cycle

Posted in Teaching on May 13th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Over recent days no less than eight items relating to history, education and commemoration have appeared in your opinion, analysis and letters pages. It is a measure of the importance of history that your newspaper has chosen to place it at the centre of public discourse …” (more)

[Deirdre Mac Mathúna, Irish Times, 13 May]

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Making history compulsory may damage junior-cycle reform, review finds

Posted in Teaching on May 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Joe McHugh is set to be told by the State’s curriculum advisers that making history compulsory for junior-cycle students could undermine recent education reforms. Mr McHugh last year sought a review on whether history should be an optional subject in the junior cycle after concerns that some students would never learn about key moments in national history …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 1 May]

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‘Review junior cycle before Leaving Cert is changed’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on April 25th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A second-level teachers union leader said the junior cycle reforms must be properly evaluated before any changes are made to the Leaving Cert. Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) president Seamus Lahart said while a senior cycle review was under way there was no evidence of the positive and negative consequences of the radical overhaul of the Junior Cert …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 25 April]

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History and the Junior Cycle

Posted in Teaching on April 2nd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I would like to address some points made by Gary Granville in his opinion piece on ‘Should history be compulsory for Junior Cert students?’ (March 26th). Mr Granville has missed the point of the current debate on the availability of history at Junior Cycle. The conflict is not one that can simply be reduced to ‘in favour of or opposed to the subject’ …” (more)

[Deirdre Mac Mathúna, Irish Times, 2 April]

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Oh, Good God Gary

Posted in Teaching on March 31st, 2019 by steve

IrelandThe Irish Times published an article in on Tuesday 26th March which gave space to Mary O’Rourke and Dr Gary Granville to present their view on whether history should be a compulsory subject. Dr Gary Granville is professor emeritus at the National College of Art and Design. He was formerly assistant chief executive in the NCCA …” (more)

[Peter Lydon, 31 March]

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Junior Cycle Reform

Posted in Teaching on March 2nd, 2019 by steve

IrelandJan O’Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will include other subjects such as geography in the context of the review being carried out on the decision to remove history as a core subject in the junior cycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 28 February]

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What issues will dominate Irish education in 2019?

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on January 8th, 2019 by steve

IrelandLeaving Cert reform: decision time: Classrooms in the run-up to the Leaving can resemble military training grounds where students are drilled to produce perfect answers to potential questions based on marking schemes. Students are stressed, teachers have little choice, creativity suffers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 January]

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Survey: Majority agree on need for Leaving Cert change

Posted in Teaching on January 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Students, parents, and teachers are in agreement on the need to radically reform the Leaving Certificate but quite divided on the ways of doing it, new research suggests. In surveys conducted for the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), all three groups agreed with the need for change …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 7 January]

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The teaching of history

Posted in Teaching on December 22nd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I agree wholeheartedly with the thoughts expressed by my University of Limerick colleague, Alistair Malcolm, in his letter supporting the reinstatement of history as a core subject within the Junior Cycle curriculum (December 17th). A society that doesn’t know where it has come from doesn’t and cannot know where it is going …” (more)

[Joseph O’Connor, Irish Times, 22 December]

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No subject – including history – should be compulsory

Posted in Teaching on December 21st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“I attended a showing of a new film Peterloo recently, followed by a discussion with the English director Mike Leigh. In the course of the discussion on this insightful rendition of a largely forgotten incident in British history, a contribution from the floor expressed concern about the perceived future status of history in Irish schools …” (more)

[Gary Granville, Irish Times, 20 December]

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History in schools

Posted in Teaching on December 17th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – On behalf of the Department of History at the University of Limerick. I would like to echo Enrico dal Lago and Deirdre Mac Mathúna (November 24th; December 1st) in their praise for Minister for Education Joe McHugh’s decision to review the place of history as a core subject within the junior cycle curriculum …” (more)

[Alistair Malcolm, Irish Times, 17 December]

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