Summer Course Guide 2017

Every year, looks at the offerings from the summer course guide and we pick out a number of courses that capture our imagination. With so many independent providers of summer courses these days, it can be difficult to find the course that suits you best. We’re judging courses by their titles so we might miss a few decent ones but see what you think from our list of recommended courses.

When you look at the list, you might think that every course is focused on health and well-being, as there’s so many of them. It looks like they all do pretty much the same thing with a slightly different angle. Brian Hegarty tries to do it through sport with his course: Developing mindful self-compassion, resilience and well-being through sport, in St Vincent de Paul Inf School, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9, which is an interesting take. There’s also a bit of yoga on offer, my favourite being from the appropriately named Greg Joynt. ICEP are offering a course on teaching happiness, and another on hope, which sound really nice. I’m not sure how Limerick Education centre have gotten away with running two courses on Pilates for Teachers but they have.

The first course that took my eye in the book was one from the Storytellers of Ireland, titled: The Magic Tool: how to use Storytelling in the Curriculum. The course takes place in the Teachers’ Club in Dublin 1 and looks like an excellent choice for anyone interested in storytelling.

CPD College have been around for a while. This year they have their usual massive catalogue of courses. One that jumped out was Genius Hour – passion driven, enquiry based and personalised learning, which sounds good, and Success- deploying a game based pedagogy to literacy and mathematics, which also looks interesting.

Following on from St. Pat’s move into DCU, it’s great to see that it is moving towards a more secular model of teacher training in its secular university campus. Godly Play in the primary school classroomGrowing in Love: Religious Education in Catholic Primary SchoolsReligious Education 1 and Christian FoundationsReligious Education 2 and Creed and Trinity, and Religious Education in Catholic Primary Schools are the 5 out of 12 courses on offer there. To balance things out they are offering zero courses with a focus on any other religion. Hibernia College, the other secular teacher training college also fall in line offering only a Catholic religious online course. Thankfully, Educate Together are offering 3 online courses, which give a more rounded view of the world.

ICEP, mentioned above, have an interesting course Universal Design for Learning: A On-Line. flexible approach for the Digital Age, which according to the book explores diversity. The INTO are also running a course, Inclusive Schools: Combating Homophobic, Transphobic and Cyber Bullying, which is much needed. In fairness to the INTO, they do run good courses.

Marino might win the prize for the best named courses. From cocoa bean to chocolate bar: teaching trade justice in the primary school and Hard Sums, Flying Pigs and Other Tails – a reflective practice Odyssey! jumped out.

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland are running two courses in Cork, which I think will be beneficial to anyone with children with dyslexia in their class. ICEP, who we’ve mentioned a couple of times now, run courses focusing on almost every diagnosis under the sun. They are well worth checking out.

Mary I, one would think might have been offering some more faith formation but instead they opt for Integrating Robotics across the Primary School curriculum, which sounds like a great course. Another interesting ICT course is by Niall Larkin, with a rather ambitious Junior Java Script, coding for children. Teachnet are offering two courses on Minecraft. It’s good to see ICT getting a bit more interesting, although most education centres are playing it safe with Computational Thinking, which is basically doublespeak for coding.

Most education centres are offering courses on STEAM rather than STEM, which is great. One day per subject sounds like a good plan. However, Michael O’Reilly, the greatest visual arts lecturer ever, may wish to avert his eyes if he sees From paper plates to Picassos – visual arts for all ages, in Drumcondra. I can picture him diving through the door as teachers are making ladybirds out of paper plates and tearing the place apart! He may be happier to see NCAD getting involved in visual arts courses, focusing on a number of areas.

Education Centres all seem to be offering some sort of gardening course too. Clare Education Centre are working with Seed Savers which looks like a highlight of these courses.

Cork and Mayo Education Centres are still milking 1916. Good for them! Drumcondra have decided to find joy in non-fiction with Discovering Joy in Nonfiction: This is the Write Course.

However, the winner for the best titled course must go to Monaghan Education Centre for their brilliantly titled course: Alcohol & other Drugs: Responding to Teachers’ needs in today’s society. That should be fun.

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