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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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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

This week I speak to my colleague in Marino Institute of Education, Dr. Denis Robinson, about leadership in education and specifically leadership in Christian Education. Denis Robinson is the Coordinator of the Masters in Education Studies course, Leadership in Christian Education, a degree accredited by Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. Among the topics we discuss in the interview are:

  • His conception of leadership
  • What leader inspires him
  • The value of daily reflection for leaders
  • The course he offers on Leadership in Christian Education at the Marino Institute of Education
  • How he has learned about educational leadership from Parker Palmer
  • What is distinctive about leadership in Christian Education
  • What school is for

This is the final Inside Education in the current series. A new series will begin in October 2018.

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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

This week I am joined by University College Dublin School of Education Professor, Ciaran Sugrue, to discuss child-centred education, school leadership and educational research in Ireland. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • Children-centred education
  • Lack of mobility for teachers
  • Privileging good relations in school
  • Unmasking school leadership
  • Continuous professional development – changes over the last two decades
  • Despite Ireland's size, how schools vary a lot
  • The value of teachers collaborating on projects
  • His tenure as editor of Irish Educational Studies
  • His thoughts about educational research in Ireland

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