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Archive for November 2020

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

On this week's podcast I interview the editors of a book titled Challenging perceptions of Africa in schools: Critical approaches to global justice education. They are my colleague Dr. Barbara O'Toole, from the Marino Institute of Education and Dr. Ebun Joseph and Dr. David Nyaluke from University College Dublin. Among the topics we discussed on the programme are the following:

  • How our education system is focused on a Eurocentric view of people from Africa
  • Chimamanda and the Danger of a single story
  • What teachers are doing well when presenting Africa to their students
  • How history is taught impacts on the past and on life today
  • The need to hear the story of Africa from a different perspective
  • How our system encourages us to perform racism
  • The benefits of reading African authors to see how they represent Africa
  • The need to present a balanced story of Africa
  • Why discussing Africa with a deficit perspective needs to be balanced with a discussion of its strengths
  • Negative portrayal of Africa in Irish primary school textbooks
  • The need for unlearning: self-questioning and reflection
  • What critical race theory is (a theoretical framework and an analytical framework)
  • White Teacher by Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Knowledge justice
  • The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Books by Ali Mazrui.
  • How Europe is portrayed in African education
  • Decolonising education and Alice Feldman
  • How this affects every subject across the curriculum
  • Just Connections, Just Trade resource for teachers
  • The importance to develop a race consciousness and how race impacts on people’s experiences
  • There is a stereotype in all our work – we need to think about how we can erase them
  • Being in a crisis of knowledge and a crisis of solutions
  • Moving to a mindset of social justice can permeate every aspect of a teacher’s teaching
  • Relative size of Africa compared to Europe and the United States

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's programme I am delighted to interview my colleague, Dr. Jennifer O'Sullivan on the topic of teaching reading. Specifically, we explore the areas of phonemic awareness, phonological awareness and picture books. Jennifer also recommends several useful resources for teaching reading.

Among the topics we discuss and the resources mentioned are the following:

  • Jennifer's route to becoming a teacher
  • The joys and challenges of teaching in a junior school that had disadvantaged status
  • Doing a master’s degree in literacy.
  • Specific challenges teachers experience in their first year of teaching
  • The research base for how children learn to read
  • The path to learning to read: alphabetic principle, apply sounds of language to print on page, decoding, comprehending meaning
  • The importance of teacher content knowledge in diagnosing what a child needs to work on when learning to read
  • The importance of phonological awareness and what phonemic awareness is
  • Why not to introduce phonics to children too soon; start with speech and then move to print (rather than working from print to sounds).
  • The need to teach children how to separate sounds in words and to blend them back together.
  • The need to explicitly teach that, for example, a word like “eight” has only two sounds but five letters and that this makes the subsequent introduction of phonics easier for children.
  • The App she’s developing to assess phonological awareness
  • Why dyslexia is caused by a phonological deficit
  • Visual literacy and close reading
  • Reading a picture
  • Picture books to use in primary school:
  • How to use picture books in school: discussing difficult topics, developing empathy, developing vocabulary, springboard for writing, visual literacy, challenging stereotypes.
  • What parents can do at home to help their child read better
  • A billboard message for all teachers
  • Jan Hasbrouck.
  • Mark Seidenberg: Language at the Speed of Sight
  • Louisa Moats (What do we need to know as teachers to teach reading?). Book, Speech to Print.
  • Clara Fiorentini’s Little Miss Teacher blog. Here is a link to the interview I did with Clara Fiortentin.
  • The Literacy Channel on YouTube.


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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


  • 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


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


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