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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I bring you some interviews I recorded at the 2019 annual conference of the Irish Primary PE Association which was held in the Watershed, Kilkenny on 9 March. First I spoke to Dr. Liam Clohessy, who is chair of the Association and Cameron Stewart who is a member of the Scottish Association of Teachers of Physical Education. Among the topics we covered were

  • Adapting games for use in PE
  • Using PE to develop leadership, resilience and fair play
  • Why physical education is more than physical activity
  • Time allocated to teaching physical education
  • The place of physical education in Scotland
  • Motivating children who are reluctant to engage in physical education class
  • Benefits and drawbacks of specialist teachers for physical education

Cameron recommended Joey Feith's website and Liam recommended the websites Move Well and Move Often and the PE section of the PDST website.

Next I spoke to Dr. Frances Murphy from Dublin City University. The topics we discussed included:

  • Evaluating the Irish Primary PE Association today
  • Strengths and challenges of PE in Ireland today
  • The benefits of integrating physical education with other school subjects
  • How physical education can contribute to addressing obesity among children

Frances recommended checking out the Primary Schools’ Sports Initiative resource.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I bring you more from my interview with Professor Gert Biesta, who is Professor of Public Education at Maynooth University. What comes through in everything he says is the respect and love he has for teaching. Among the wide range of topics we discuss are the following:

  • Who he writes for when he writes about education
  • Speaking and thinking about education in an educational way
  • How philosophy can inform the practice of teachers
  • Designing and teaching a module on philosophy for future teachers
  • The importance of asking good questions
  • The relevance of Kierkegaard and “Double truth giving” in teaching
  • Teaching for the possibility of being taught
  • John Dewey’s critique of the modern scientific world view
  • PE teachers who had a significant impact on him
  • Why schools should surprise
  • What inspires him

The book he is currently reading is in German and it is Allgemeine Pädagogik. He also referred to the work of Homer Lane, whose most famous book is Talks to Parents and Teachers. He also referred to the book, Beyond the Present and the Particular.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I speak to Gert Biesta who is Professor of Public Education at Maynooth University. Among the topics we discuss on the programme are:

  • Why he took up a position in Ireland
  • The work of the Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy at Maynooth University
  • How he’ll get to know the Irish education system
  • How teacher education in Ireland differs from teacher education in England
  • The emergence of a competitive mindset in education across countries
  • What good education is in an age of measurement
  • Balancing three purposes of education
  • The place of equity, diversity and social justice in education
  • Implications of the disappearance of teaching and the rise of learning over the last 25 years
  • The gift of teaching

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme music by David Vesey

This week I bring you my third and final episode from the 2019 annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals' Network. First of all I step inside the Aquaculture Remote Classroom to find out what's in store for schools when the mobile classroom visits and I speak to John Hurley of H2 Learning who was involved in designing the experience.

I also speak to Damian White who is Deputy President of the Irish Primary Principals' Network. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • The highlight of the conference for him
  • Prioritising initiatives for schools
  • The role of a school in a community
  • How the IPPN has encouraged cooperation across schools
  • Teachers who taught him
  • How he’d like to be perceived by students in his school

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I continue my conversation on teaching literacy in the early years with Dr. Tara Concannon-Gibney from Dublin City University. The occasion was to mark the publication by Routledge of Tara's book Teaching Essential Literacy Skills in the Early Years Classroom: A Guide for Students and Teachers. Among the topics we discuss on this week's programme are:

  • Her definition of literacy
  • Digital texts and literacy
  • Why some children struggle with reading
  • How parents can help their child to read
  • How a parent should react to a child reading when the child comes to a word that is not known
  • Advice for choosing a book for a child
  • The benefits of repetitive reading of texts
  • Poetry and literacy skills
  • How she became interested in the area of literacy
  • How she went about writing the book

In the course of our interview Tara mentioned texts by the following writers: Mem Fox, Georgia Heard, Lucy Calkins, Oliver Jeffers, Hervé Tullet, and Julia Donaldson.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

The guest on this week's programme is Dr. Tara Concannon Gibney who is an assistant professor in Dublin City University. The interview is to mark the launch of Tara's new book Teaching Essential Literacy Skills in the Early Years Classroom: A Guide for Students and Teachers, which is published by Routledge. Among the topics we discuss this week are the following:

  • Why she wrote the book
  • Phonological awareness and how to develop it using games
  • Using big books to teach literacy (e.g. Owl Babies)
  • How to teach phonics
  • Sequence for teaching phonics
  • Developing fluency
  • Teaching concepts of print
  • Tier 2 vocabulary
  • Comprehension strategies – Gradual release of responsibility model
  • High frequency – Dolch - words
  • Guided reading literacy centres
  • Role of play in developing language and literacy

 

 

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

Theme tune by David Vesey.

On this week's programme, the guests were two of the keynote speakers from the 2019 annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals' Network, the IPPN, Adam Harris and Patrick O'Shea. Adam Harris is the Chief Executive Officer of AsIAm, an organisation set up to give people with autism a voice. My conversation with Adam included the following topics:

  • His message for primary school principals
  • The importance of school culture
  • The “scattered skill sets” of people with autism
  • The value of focusing on a student’s strengths
  • Disclosing the having of autism
  • Support for students with autism
  • A student’s relationship with their SNA
  • The work of As I Am
  • Awareness of versus Understanding People with autism
  • Coping mechanisms for difficult situations and places
  • Being diagnosed as having autism

 

Professor Patrick O'Shea was appointed President of University College Cork in 2017 following a three-decade career in academia in the United States. My conversation with Patrick included the topics below:

  • Why he sees Brexit as a tremendous opportunity for Ireland and Irish education
  • Why he emigrated to the United States and how Ireland changed while he was away
  • His impression of University culture in the United States
  • The mission of University College Cork
  • How learning will happen without teaching
  • Educating explorers rather than training tourists
  • Motivation of Students
  • The role of a School of Education in a University
  • Comparing leadership of a university with leading a primary school
  • A typical day
  • Junior Conferring
  • Why history is what’s left when the noise and the news are gone

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey.

This week I bring you the first of my interviews recorded at the 2019 annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals' Network. The theme of the conference was Sustainable Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities. My interview today is with the Chief Executive Officer of the Network, Páiric Clerkin. Among the various topics discussed this week are:

  • Relief from teaching duties on one day a week for teaching principals
  • Restoration of posts of responsibility in larger schools
  • Establishment of the Primary Education Forum (Calendar of reform)
  • Problems in schools arising from children who are homeless or in direct provision
  • His priorities for the year ahead (mentoring and the Centre for School Leadership; redeveloping online services)
  • Members’ positive response to the address by the Minister for Education and Skills
  • Applying for a position as School Principal
  • Prioritising for principals and making school leadership "doable"
  • Teachers’ developing their expertise in areas they’re passionate about
  • Transitioning into the role of CEO of the IPPN
  • The writings of Andy Hargreaves

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I bring you the second part of my interview with Paul O'Donnell, Principal of St. Patrick's National School in Slane. Among the topics we discuss on this week's programme are:

  • His work with the CPSMA
  • Numbers applying for principalship
  • Principals acting as gatekeepers
  • Challenges of being a principal with full teaching duties
  • What schools are for (and a sense of place)
  • What inspires him
  • Being outdoors in poor weather
  • Outdoor education in the United States
  • Questions to ask yourself before applying for principalship
  • Favourite book, writer

Among the books he recommends are The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli and Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday on leadership and Messy Maths by Juliet Robertson. He follows Tom Bennett (@tombennett71) and Pasi Sahlberg (@pasi_sahlberg) on Twitter.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

On this week's programme I speak to Paul O'Donnell who is principal of St. Patrick's National School in Slane, Co. Meath. He is the author of Wild Teaching: Cross-curricular Lessons Outdoors for Agoraphobic Teachers which is published by Meath County Council. Among the topics we discussed are:

  • How his upbringing fostered a love of the outdoors
  • The influence of Paddy Madden on his work as a teacher
  • How tempting it is to teach indoors all the time
  • Having students gather resources for lessons
  • Specific lessons in Wild Teaching
  • Making the transition from teaching to being principal
  • Challenges of principalship
  • Eliciting voices of children in running the school
  • Learning about life and death through keeping hens in school
  • The school garden
  • Minimising rubbish in the school
  • Earning six green flags for the school

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