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Archive for November 2019

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I bring you interviews from students, teachers and organisers who attended the National Finals of Scifest 2019 in Marino Institute of Education on Friday, 22 November. Among the guests I speak to are the following:

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's programme I bring you an interview with Liam Murray who is secretary of Ficheall, a network of teachers around Ireland who teach chess in primary school. Among the topics discussed and the resources mentioned are the following:

  • Is chess a curricular or extra-curricular activity?
  • What students learn from playing chess: developing their social, cognitive and mental fitness skills
  • How he organises chess teaching in his own classroom, using the lesson plans on the website and adopting a “(mini-) game-based” approach
  • Organising a school chess tournament
  • Helping students lose and win gracefully
  • Using a points system to decide who wins a game of chess with limited time to play
  • Describing the game of chess (what is meant by checkmate and castling?)
  • History of the game
  • How chess compares to draughts
  • How children respond to playing chess
  • How Liam first became involved in teaching chess in schools when he was a student teaher
  • How different children respond to learning or playing chess
  • Playing face to face versus playing on apps or computers
  • Children getting better at chess over time
  • The “Masters” competition (for fifth and sixth class) and the “Budding Masters” competition (for third and fourth class).
  • Children playing chess from first class onwards
  • Why it’s good to play chess with players who are better than you (“If you’re not losing, you’re not learning”)
  • Resources available on the Ficheall website
  • The Ficheall network of teachers
  • How inter-school chess tournaments are organised (the “Swiss System, ” timing games)
  • The role of chess arbiters in inter-school tournaments
  • Relationship of Ficheall to Moves for Life
  • How Liam got interested in chess himself
  • Follow-on opportunities for children to play chess
  • Opportunities for playing chess in post primary schools (Leinster Schools Chess Association)
  • The use of clocks in professional chess games
  • What is school for/what are schools for
  • Volunteering with Graham Jones and the Solas Project
  • How he is inspired by the selfless dedication of teachers
  • Evidence-Based Teachers’ Network
  • Anseo podcasts
  • Book Bounce by Matthew Syed.
  • Book Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.
  • Book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

On this week's podcast I speak to Professor Nell Duke from the University of Michigan School of Education about literacy education and project-based instruction. Professor Duke was a keynote speaker at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Literacy Association of Ireland. Among the wide range of topics we discuss on the podcast and the resources mentioned are the following:  

  • The role of project-based literacy in promoting reading and writing development
  • The importance of purpose and audience for children’s writing
  • Sources of project ideas: Edutopia, PBL works, Nell’s website
  • Identifying sources of project in local communities
  • Incorporating student voice and choice into projects
  • Teacher preparation to design the flow of a project work with students
  • Nell’s website – Inside Information Downloadables
  • The importance of audience beyond teachers, parents and grandparents
  • Working alone versus working in groups on projects
  • At what age can children begin to work on project-based literacy?
  • The ideal duration of a project
  • The balance of literacy goals and cross-curricular goals in project-based literacy instruction
  • Educating children from an early age about trustworthy sources. The use of the mnemonic WWWDOT (Who? Why? When? Does it meet my needs? Organisation of site/text? To Do List for future)
  • Molly of Denali
  • Helping students move beyond bland responses to peers’ work
  • Various templates mentioned available here.
  • Why reading is so hard for many students to master
  • The DRIVE model of reading (Deploying Reading in Varied Environments)
  • The value of teaching sound-letter relationships; deliberately teaching phonics, morphology and text structure
  • Gaps between research on reading instruction and the practice of reading instruction
  • Reliable sources of research evidence for teachers: Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse; Practice guides.
  • Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators General Education Leadership Network Early Literacy Task Force and Literacy Essentials.
  • International Literacy Association.
  • Literacy Association of Ireland.
  • Responding to differences among students in a literacy classroom: small group literacy instruction
  • Why it’s important to teach reading and writing together. See work by Gram and Hebert (2010).
  • What parents can do in the home to promote literacy achievement
  • What a typical working day is like for her and how she manages her time
  • Knowing what not to do in teaching
  • Not this but that book series.
  • What schools are for
  • She loves reading: Reading Research Quarterly (Journal of the International Literacy Association), Scientific Studies of Reading, Review of Educational Research.

In her keynote address Nell referred to the following websites, which were not mentioned in the podcast. I'm listing them here because they may be of help to some listeners.

High Quality Project Based Learning

Pow+Tree Writing Strategy

She also referred to this article which was a meta-analysis of process writing.


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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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