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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

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

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme tune David Vesey

On this week's programme I speak to two teacher educators, Anja Swennen from the University of Amsterdam and Professor Kay Livingston from the University of Glasgow. Kay Livingston talks about innovative teaching with specific reference to a cross-European research study she is conducting with colleagues in her Research Development Community of the Association of Teacher Education in Europe. Anja Swennen continues the discussion which was begun on last week's programme and among the topics discussed are the following:

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme music by David Vesey

On this week's programme I discuss teacher education with Anja Swennen from the VU University, Amsterdam. I met up with her at the annual conference of the Association for Teacher Education of Europe in Gavle, Sweden in August 2018. Among the topics we discuss in this part of the interview are the following:

  • Jean Murray’s idea of first-order and second-order practitioner
  • The move from expert teacher to novice teacher educator
  • Recruiting a teacher educator
  • The curriculum for a course in Teacher Education
  • Preparing for registration as a Teacher Educator in the Netherlands
  • Identity of Teacher Educators (Subject specialist; pedagogue; a teacher in higher education; researcher; and teacher)
  • Teacher Educators and researching practice and research in schools
  • How history of education can help teachers understand their work

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme music composed and arranged by David Vesey

This week I bring you the second part of my interview with Katie Ashford Deputy Head of Michaela Community School in Wembley Park in London. The wide range of topics we discuss include the following:

  • Michaela Community School Building
  • The Teach First Programme
  • Starting a blog, which led to a job offer
  • Personalised Instruction and whole class instruction
  • Her blog posts
  • A typical day
  • Family Lunch (at school)
  • What she likes most/least about teaching
  • Her ideal English lesson
  • What schools are for
  • Teachers who had a significant impact on her
  • Who inspires her

Katie also referred to Tom Bennett's blog and to books by Daisy Christodoulou and Daniel Willingham.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

Theme music composed and arranged by David Vesey.

On this week's programme I speak to Katie Ashford who is Deputy Head and Director of Inclusion at Michaela Community School in Wembley Park London. Her blog is called Tabula Rasa. We talk about school culture and other aspects of teaching. In the course of our discussion Katie mentions how she is inspired by people such as Rafe Esquith and Erin Gruwell.

  • Different kinds of school culture
  • Identifying problems in a school
  • Changing School Culture
  • Why teaching is tiring
  • The kind of records UK teachers need to keep
  • Marking children’s work
  • The approach used by teachers in Michaela Community School: teacher as authority

 

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme music composed and arranged by David Vesey

On this week's programme I bring you the second part of my interview with Professor Anne O'Gara, former President of Marino Institute of Education and current board member of Tusla. Among the topics we cover in this part of the interview are:

  • The role for inspectors in our education system
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Recognising learning
  • The Home School Community Liaison Scheme – Establishment and Purpose
  • Dr Concepta Conaty’s vision for the Home School Community Liaison Scheme
  • Her primary teaching experience
  • What schools are for
  • A teacher who had a significant impact on her

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

Theme music composed and arranged by David Vesey

On this week's programme I speak to my friend and former colleague, Professor Anne O'Gara. Professor O'Gara was President of Marino Institute of Education from 2006 to 2018. Prior to that she taught in primary schools for several years before becoming Assistant National Coordinator of the Home-School-Community Liaison Scheme, and subsequently an inspector at the Department of Education and Skills. In this first part of our interview we focused on leadership in education. Among the topics discussed were:

  • Entering an institution as a new leader
  • Identifying priorities as a leader
  • Bringing about Change and Resistance to Change
  • Doing courses, lifelong learning and coaching
  • Developing new courses
  • Changing your leadership style
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Preparing for difficult conversations
  • Partnerships with stakeholders
  • What she misses and does not miss about the work

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