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Archive for April 2020

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's episode I speak to Professor Yong Zhao from the School of Education at the University of Kansas. Among the topics we discuss on the episode are the following:

  • We currently have the opportunity to reimagine education without schools: Do we have to do these subjects? Do we have to teach this much?
  • A good time to teach global understanding, empathy and competency
  • Innovation in education
  • The importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset
  • The Digital Pencil
  • Alternative ways of organising the education of young people
  • Difficulty of finding like-minded people in a small school
  • Globalisation as the “death of physical distance”
  • Globalisation is localisation of global forces
  • Implications of globalisation for teachers
  • Why everyone should have a local identity and affirm the identities of others
  • Your uniqueness can only become valuable when it’s valuable to others
  • Why schools encourage people to be independent and selfish rather than interdependent
  • Schools as a place to bring about a better society
  • Students as job creators versus job hunters
  • Enhancing entrepreneurship in students
  • Unintended consequences of education policies
  • PISA test scores and the illusions of excellence, science, progress.
  • His experience of being educated in China
  • The impact of technology on education
  • To compete with a machine, a person must avoid becoming one!
  • Be unique and great in your own way; understand yourself, your talents and virtues.
  • "Creative" means identifying problems worth solving
  • Empty creativity versus good creativity – the need to have a domain to excel in
  • What schools should be for: a place to equalise community resources
  • David Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle The Manufactured Crisis.
  • David Berliner as a former guest on the podcast
  • Diane Ravitch’s blog: https://dianeravitch.net/
  • If we want a better life in the future, we need to help our children create a better life for us

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

On this week's podcast I bring you my interview with Alfie Kohn, who writes and speaks about education, especially in areas such as homework, standardised testing and punishments and rewards. Among the items we discuss on the podcast are the following:

  • Fostering students’ curiosity and encouraging them to think deeply
  • Teachers participating with children in an exploration of ideas to move beyond factual knowledge
  • How teachers can teach to promote students’ thinking
  • The inverse relationship between teacher control and student learning
  • Why learning starts with a question
  • John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Ed Deci and Richard Ryan (Self-determination theory)
  • Why rewards and punishment don’t help children learn
  • Why saying “Good job” to your students is the equivalent of a “verbal doggy biscuit”
  • Children who are frequently praised are less generous than their peers
  • How children know when they’re being controlled and how they respond to it
  • How teachers can respond to students’ work and respect the child’s autonomy
  • Implementing a no-homework policy in a school
  • Why he believes that giving homework to children constitutes malpractice.
  • Excitement (about learning) drives excellence
  • Standardised tests and teacher accountability; Authentic assessments – tap into projects done by students over time
  • Why standardised teaching tells you only two things: (i) how much time was given to teaching test taking and (ii) how big the houses are near the school.
  • Differences between role of parent and teacher: Unconditional parenting and unconditional teaching
  • Punished by Rewards
  • Unconditional Parenting

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

One thing that often surprises me is how difficult it is for teachers to have an impact on students' health. It's not as if there aren't enough efforts through the curriculum and through various commercial ventures to promote health in schools. This week I look at some interesting research articles about education, health and nutrition and I identify six lessons that teachers might keep in mind if they want to think about educating children about health and nutrition in a way that will stick.

The programme is based on research articles that are listed below. The main points raised are:


  • Health and nutrition in the primary and post-primary school curricula in Ireland
  • Why a teacher’s example matters: Perikkou, A., Gavrieli, A., Kougioufa, M-M., Tzirkali, M., Yannakoulia, M. (2013). A novel approach for increasing fruit consumption in children. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113: 1188-1193.
  • Promoting cooking competence after school: Jarpe-Ratner, E., Folkens, S., Sharma, S., Daro, D., & Edens, N.K. (2016). An experiential cooking and nutrition education program increases cooking self-efficacy and vegetable consumption in children in grades 3-8. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 48(10), 697 – 705.
  • Boost students’ academic performance through sleep education: Gruber, R., Somerville, G., Bergmame, L., Fontil, L., & Paguin, S. (2016). School-based sleep education program improves sleep and academic performance of school-age children. Sleep Medicine, 21, 93-100.
  • Alienation from and hiding in physical education class: Carlson, T.B. (1995). We hate gym: Student alienation from physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 14: 467-477 and Lyngstad, I., Hagen, P-M., Aune, O. (2016). Understanding pupils’ hiding techniques in physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 21(8): 1127-1143.
  • Eliminate or change treats: Shan, L.C., McCafferty, C., Tatlow-Golden, M., O’Rourke, C., Mooney, R., Livingstone, M.B.E., Pourshahidi, L.K., Corish, C., Kearney, J.M., Wall, P., & Murrin, C. Is it still a real treat? Adults’ treat provision to children. Appetite. 2018; 130: 228-235.
  • Changing food habits consistently in multiple dimensions over a sustained period of time. Merrotsy, A., McCarthy, A.L., Flack, J., Lacey, S., & Coppinger, T. Project Spraoi: A two-year longitudinal study on the effectiveness of a school-based nutrition and physical activity intervention on dietary intake, nutritional knowledge and markers of health of Irish schoolchildren. Public Health Nutr. 2019; 22(13), 2489-2499.

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