008. Ban spelling and tables tests

Hangovers are never a positive experience and some are harder to shake than others, especially when it comes to education. We have so many bad (pedagogically speaking) ideas that seem to persist in the system. The crowning glory, of course, is the Leaving Cert, which is a terrible way to judge someone’s educational attainment, yet … Read more

046. Ban Rote Learning of Tables

I think that learning tables off by heart is rubbish. When I say this, it is usually met with general disagreement and in some cases, complete contempt. Typical responses included: There is no other/better way to teach tables Learning tables off by heart did me no harm Call me old fashioned but… So  I tried … Read more

121. Reform the PDST

The PDST started life off as a different Four Letter Acronym – the PCSP. Back then, its job was to provide teachers with training in the “new” curriculum. It has developed over time to be the main provider of training for teachers in lots of different areas. Even their website menu can’t take the number … Read more

118. Ensure all libraries are stocked with books that speak to all children

School libraries are interesting places. The vast majority of the books in them are donations from pupils’ attics. You’ll find all sorts of gems from all encyclopaedias which still recognise Yugoslavia as a country and the odd unacceptable Enid Blyton illustration. However, you’ll rarely find books that speak to anyone outside of the white, middle-class, … Read more

109. Ensure teachers have a recognised voice in all consultations.

One of my pet hates is when the government decide to have a consultation in educational matters. Inevitably, two things can happen in these. Firstly, the consultation can go out to everyone in Ireland. Secondly, the consultation can happen without input from teachers.  In both circumstances, opinion tends to be watered down by vested interests. … Read more

103. Infant classrooms should be designed differently

Infant education has been changing over the last couple of decades to a more play-based child-led curriculum. However, classrooms have not. Recently, we held a “Day of Play” where children had the freedom of unstructured play all day. What I noticed about how the infants worked through the day was how they automatically moved their … Read more

101. Teach Irish like EAL

Gaelscoileanna have got things right when it comes to teaching Irish. Immersion is the only way to get children properly fluent. In English medium schools, i.e. 98% of primary schools, Irish is only spoken for a very short amount of time during the day. However, it is taught in such a way that assumes children … Read more

097. Scrap Music Generation

Absolutely no offence meant to the wonderful people involved in this scheme is meant but I am very uncomfortable with any programme that asks schools to contribute financially towards when all the glory will go to a commercial entity, in this case a music band. Something just doesn’t feel right. Effectively the government should be … Read more

096. Introduce philosophy as a module

As if we need another subject in the curriculum! Please hear me out. I think philosophy is something that is as important as technology as a methodology in primary education. Firstly, I’m not suggesting we add philosophy as a subject in the curriculum. I am suggesting that it becomes part of a school’s ethics/religion curriculum. … Read more

095. SPHE to be given more time allocation

SPHE has become one of the most important subjects in the curriculum for a variety of reasons, yet it only receives 30 minutes allocation per week. Many “clever” schools try to shoehorn their Religion or Ethics curriculum into SPHE unless they’re getting an ethos inspection(!) SPHE already includes several programmes including: RSE – Relationships and … Read more

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