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

052. Have specialised qualifications for Infant teachers

Sometimes it’s good to change a long held tradition. Anyone working in infant classes will see that their job is completely different to that of someone in another class. The way the curriculum is going, with Aistear encompassing much of what infant teachers do these days, is it time to simply use infants as a … Read more

049. Provide specialised teachers for Irish

Really, we have to face it: we are failing at teaching Irish. We have a few passionate teachers who can teach it well, but overall, there’s something very wrong when most people come out of 14 years of education unable to string a sentence in Irish together, yet can almost be fluent in some European … Read more

042. Outsource obesity to parents

Obesity levels in Ireland are at a shocking level and schools are being asked to fix it. Some quarters are even blaming schools for the obesity epidemic because we “only” do one hour of PE per week. Experts claim that doubling the amount of PE would “solve” the crisis, which is nonsense, of course. The … Read more

039. Scrap Homework

Being honest, this idea isn’t really as controversial as it used to be. I remember about a decade ago, the then CEO of the IPPN, Seán Cottrell, suggested that primary schools should do this and there was absolute uproar. I imagine if Pauric Clerkin said it today, he’d be met with a lot of support. … Read more

050. Scrap drama

There are 11 discrete subjects in the primary curriculum and we have 25 hours per week to teach them all. It’s nowhere near enough to teach most of the subjects properly so there’s pressure to try and find ways to reduce the overloaded curriculum to make it easier for teachers to teach the full curriculum. … Read more

056. Try to become paper-free in terms of content

While a tad aspirational, it would be great to see how much paper-based content a school really needs. Obviously, subjects like Visual Arts couldn’t happen without paper but almost every other subject could limit itself a lot, certainly in terms of curriculum content. Is there really any need for textbooks at all when we can … Read more

022. Change the Curriculum Structure

The Irish Primary Curriculum is a beast with way too many subjects and far too little time to cover them all adequately. There are constant demands mainly made by outside agencies to slot in more and more into the finite space of time. A good example of this is SPHE, which gets 30 minutes per … Read more

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