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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

My guest on the podcast this week is Dr. Pam Moran who is the Executive Director of the Virginia School Consortium for Learning and is a former superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools.

Among the points we discussed in the podcast were the following:

  • The role of a superintendent in US education
  • Desmos software that is used to teach mathematics.
  • The reintroduction of maker skills into US education in response to narrow testing and the benefits of it

MAKER LEARNING

  • Students who take making courses
  • Safety in maker learning
  • Involving the wider family in maker learning
  • How maker learning is reflected in the school curriculum

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS

  • Her thoughts on professional development that works best for teachers
  • Professional development to help teachers teach online
  • Flipgrid

EDUCATION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I interview Finbarr Hurley about his experience teaching in some European Schools and about his thoughts on leadership. He is currently working as a Coordinator with the Centre for School Leadership. Among the topics we discuss on the podcast are the following:

  • Wanting to teach from a young age
  • His experience in Mary Immaculate College
  • Proving yourself as a teacher when you begin in a school
  • The importance of changing career post every 5-6 years
  • The importance of figuring out what makes children tick
  • Teaching in Cork and Teaching in Brussels
  • Designing a classroom of the future
  • A synopsis of the European Schools system
  • Learning from working alongside teachers from other countries
  • Moving to an International School in Qatar
  • Working with teaching coaches
  • Involving children in parent-teacher meetings
  • Teaching without textbooks
  • Bringing members of a circus in to work with his students in Germany
  • Identifying what is valued in a school, across the school community
  • Challenges of being a principal in Ireland
  • Providing continuous professional development (CPD) for principals and principals’ needs for CPD
  • Why it’s okay for principals to fail (the first attempt at learning)
  • One of his own principals
  • Simon Senek (Be the last to speak)
  • Andy Hargreaves
  • Book: Wholesome Leadership
  • Luke Jefferson Day, editor of GQ Magazine in London.
  • Simone Marchetti – creativity outside of education
  • The value of sofas in classsrooms

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I speak to Dr. Karen Edge who is a Reader in Educational Leadership at the University College London Institute of Education. Karen Edge was a keynote speaker at the 2020 annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals' Network, the IPPN. Among the topics we discussed were the following:

  • Helping principals make their job meaningful
  • Constraints on principals working on teaching and learning and working with students and teachers include: to be accountable, to share information, manage data, manage external relations
  • How principals can live a full life outside of work and be a leader in their work
  • Helping principals align their professional priorities with what students, teachers and parents expect of them
  • Supporting a new generation of principals from Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980) in schools designed for Baby Boomer principals who have now retired or who are retiring (those born from 1946 to 1964)
  • Collaborative decision making and Generation X leaders
  • How leadership in education differs across countries and continents and how this is influenced by being an adult in the wider society (and why borrowing policies from other countries may not work in the same way here).
  • Rewards of being principal
  • Why “being busy” is not a badge of honour
  • How schools can productively partner with schools in other countries

Among the people she mentioned on the podcast were the following:

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I speak to Viv Grant who is Executive Coach and Director of Integrity Coaching. She was a keynote speaker at the 2020 annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals' Network. Among the topics we discuss are the following:

  • Identifying your stories as a school leader: why are you in the profession? What motivates you? What inspires you? What brings you joy?
  • Her story and how she began to articulate it for herself
  • The importance for principals of recognising and articulating their inner, subconscious narrative
  • How underlying thoughts and experiences can affect a principal’s ability to have difficult conversations
  • Becoming aware of when the old narratives no longer serve us
  • Getting our back stage narratives aligned with our front stage performance
  • The role of the Centre for School Leadership
  • What coaching for principals involves
  • Just like social workers and psychologists get “supervision” in their work as a matter of course, so should school principals because as well as being leaders of curriculum and instruction, many of them are practising aspects of psychology and social work.
  • Why school development and human growth and development go hand in hand and why offering coaching to principals is a way of appreciating their taking on this important role.
  • Is coaching something that is needed on an ongoing or on a needs-only basis?
  • How coaching for a principal works
  • Qualities a coach needs to have in order to work with principals
  • How coaching differs from mentoring
  • Why supporting coaching for principals is a good investment for a school
  • Why coaching is the norm in several other sectors
  • How she turned around “failing” primary school
  • How to bring about change at school level
  • The source of a school’s vision
  • Her book called Staying a head: The stress management secrets of successful school leaders
  • The challenge of creating time to develop the inner work of school leadership
  • Pauline Lysaght Jones and Mary Fuller
  • David Whyte’s poetry
  • John O’Donohue

 

 

 

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I speak to the President (Damian White), Deputy President (Brian O'Doherty) and Chief Executive Officer (Páiric Clerkin) of the Irish Primary Principals' Network at the annual conference of the Network. The IPPN is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Among the topics we discuss are the following:

Damian White

  • Workload and making the job of principal more sustainable into the future
  • The PIEW model: Prioritise, Implement, Embed, Wait.
  • Prioritising initiatives in a school. Refers to the Looking at our Schools document.
  • Identifying and making room for urgent new initiatives within the PIEW model.
  • Wellbeing
  • Support groups for principals
  • Working with local education centres
  • Relationship between the Centre for School Leadership, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and the IPPN
  • Relationship between the IPPN and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO)
  • On having the Secretary General and not the Minister address the conference

 

Brian O’Doherty

  • Difference between roles of President/Deputy President and Chief Executive Officer of IPPN
  • Being principal of a large school
  • Working collaboratively with an administrative Deputy Principal
  • Principalship and school budgets
  • The financial and support services unit (FFSU) and reporting procedures
  • Challenges in managing cash flow in schools
  • Questions principals should ask about school finances

 

Páiric Clerkin

 

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

This week on the podcast I speak to Michael Moriarty, who has been leading in education and other sectors for a number of decades, as a teacher, a principal, Head of Education and Training Boards Ireland and as CEO of a local radio station. His new book, Every Leader's Reality Guide: Strategies to Release Your True Leadership Potential has been released and it distills the lessons about leading that Michael learned through mentorship, training and self-reflection on his various roles. Among the topics we discuss on the podcast are the following:

  • How leadership begins with self-awareness and self-reflection.
  • How leadership in education differs to other leadership roles
  • The source of authority
  • How he looked to leaders he admired for inspiration
  • Power comes from respect rather than position
  • His experience of being bullied in post-primary school and how he learned the importance of standing up for himself
  • Being isolated in his professional role
  • The importance of allies and alliances
  • Building a media profile
  • Establishing credibility as a leader and the ability to communicate
  • The importance of having mentors
  • How a leader shows they value people
  • Reading leadership books and biographies (e.g. Boris Johnson’s book on Churchill)
  • Leadership and influence
  • The stance he took in a job interview for a leadership position
  • Why you should hire people who are better than you
  • Why leaders need to be able to say “sorry”
  • Learning leadership through union politics
  • How he came to head up a radio station
  • His ongoing pursuit of challenges in his work

Michael mentioned a number of inspirational resources during the interview, including the following:

 

Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1980 Convention speech

Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People

John C Maxwell Talent is Never Enough

Search for the Hero by M People

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Presented and Produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune by David Vesey

This week my guest on the programme is Leadership expert Professor Andy Hargreaves. Andy Hargreaves is Research Professor at Boston College, Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University, Professor at the University of Stavanger, and Honorary Professor at Swansea University. 

Over the course of our 42-minute conversation, we covered a wide range of topics, including the following:

  • The effect of wealth inequality on people in many countries and the implications for education
  • Negative effects the international test PISA has had on education systems and why the focus on such results is changing in some countries
  • How the focus has now moved to matters such as identity and belonging
  • Three things have happened which have led to a revised agenda for schools to respond to:
    • Existing methods and strategies have become exhausted in seeking additional marginal gains on international tests
    • People start to sense that something is amiss (backlash against testing from middle-class parents – “coasting schools” in the UK and mental health issues among children and problems of teacher recruitment and retention)
    • Changes in society as an impetus for change: People are asking how do refugees and immigrants affect our curriculum and sense of community? How do we respond to school shootings and violence in North America? Anxiety among adolescent girls associated with social media
  • (Irish primary) teachers’ preparedness to respond to matters such as equity, identity and wellbeing.
  • Why identity is more important than achievement (with reference to Franco-Ontarian community)
  • Responding to conflicting identities
    • Welcome all children and every aspect of their identity
    • Recognising that many reasons may underlie why students struggle with their learning other than being unable to master a concept
    • Understanding that most identities are flawed and that societies have values which people are expected to subscribe to
  • How anxiety, narcissism and hopelessness are impacting on young people’s wellbeing.
    • May be related to lack of mobility/lack of opportunity. Public services (library, education, health service and housing) may not be as strong as in the past. The need to reinvest in public life, including teaching to promote mobility
    • Ideas of success have become skewed. The need to see success in ways other than monetary value and having a sense of fulfilment.
    • He refers to the work of Jean Twenge: With advent of smart phones adolescents (especially girls) are less prone to experience violence, to drugs, to alcohol and to early pregnancy but much more prone to anxiety, depression, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, mainly because they’re not going out. Instead they’re getting less sleep, digitally enhancing pictures of themselves and comparing themselves to others, and responding to postings from others (including mean ones)
  • Why he disagrees with schools banning mobile phones.
  • He would like to see more outdoor education, more adventure, more working in the community, more connection to the environment and more face-to-face interactions.
  • What is wrong with wellbeing? (Seeing it as an individual solution to a huge systemic problem; schools creating wellbeing in one part of their work and creating “ill”-being in another part; wellbeing can be interpreted differently across cultures e.g. happiness, fulfilment, duty to parents, respect for elders, loyalty to the group, attention to your family, delayed gratification, etc. Being calm, which is often prioritised by schools, is only one way to be well – exuberance, physical engagement, and happiness are others.)
  • What is wrong with growth mindset? It can detract attention from other factors that affect learning (poverty, disadvantage, prejudice) but growth mindset is still a powerful idea.
  • How teacher collaboration can help schools respond to the problems outlined.
  • Teachers who collaborate with colleagues do better, on average, than those who do not. Children learn more, teachers are more motivated and engaged, it’s better for implementing change
  • Professional Learning Communities – tended to be liked by administrators but considered to be contrived and constraining by teachers in some countries.
  • A question Professor Hargreaves asked in his research: “If collaboration is good sometimes, but not always, how should collaboration be designed?” Build trust and relationships and establish helpful procedures and protocols around collaboration.
  • Sometimes collaboration is most important where it is most difficult – in difficult to serve areas or in areas experiencing rural poverty.

 

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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

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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

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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

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