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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's episode I interview my long-time colleague and fellow vice-president of Marino Institute of Education on the topics of literacy and disadvantage and more. Among the topics we discuss during the podcast are the following:

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I am joined by Professor Stefan Ward from Central Washington University who is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Dublin City University Institute of Education. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • His interest in positive youth development
  • How he became involved in Project Fun Direction and why it is important for young girls
  • What is physical literacy and how is it developed?
  • Physical education in schools in the United States
  • Why games such as Dodge Ball and relay races need to be removed from PE class
  • Specialist physical educators in the United States
  • The Irish physical education curriculum
  • What an effective PE lesson looks like (Moderate to vigorous activity; differentiated instruction; choice; reflection time)
  • Assessment in PE (physical, cognitive, affective)
  • Teaching physical education with minimal equipment (including planning for activities that require minimal equipment such as hiking, soccer).
  • Skill themes in primary and post-primary PE classes
  • Reducing risk of physical injury in PE class
  • Modifying games
  • Teaching physical education in all weathers or with limited facilities
  • Generic and sport-specific strategies for differentiating a physical education lesson, such as tennis: cooperative practice, modify game to make goal easier, award points for attempts, use different equipment – e.g. foam ball, different racquet, give choices for students to be successful at different levels.
  • Duties associated with his university role in the United States
  • Shape America
  • Positive Youth Development – self-determination theory (relatedness, competence and autonomy)
  • Bringing Student PE teachers to volunteer in sports camps abroad in Guam and in Ireland
  • Selecting candidates for a physical education teaching programme
  • Impactful teacher: Tom Martinek
  • Missy Parker
  • Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Book: Youth Development and Physical Activity

Presented and produced by  Seán Delaney.

In this episode my guest is Emeritus Professor John Hattie from the University of Melbourne. Among many other contributions to education, he has developed the idea of visible learning. Among the topics we discuss in the podcast are the following:

  • What Professor Hattie means by visible learning
  • How children don’t have the language to talk about their learning
  • Students learning from each other
  • The importance of asking students two questions: What does it mean to be a good learner in this class? What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
  • Impact of a student’s age on making learning visible
  • Three ways of making learning visible: student voice, student artefacts, test scores. He is interested in triangulating across these three sources, in how the teacher interprets that information, and how the teacher decides where to go next with a student’s learning. The same information from a student’s perspective is also important.
  • The love of learning follows, rather than precedes, learning.
  • Every curriculum subject has three parts (i) content, skills (knowing that…), (ii) relationships (knowing how…) and (iii) Transfer. Understanding all three parts is important. Typically 90% of learning is focused on content/skills. John Hattie believes it’s the balance across all three that matters. However, you can’t rush to the deep parts too quickly.
  • His views on learning styles
  • The missing piece of teacher education – looking at students’ learning
  • Research he did to develop the concept of “visible learning”
  • Changing the research question on teaching from “What works?” to “What works best?”
  • Why how teachers think matters more than what teachers do
  • Many teachers deny their expertise
  • When students do a test, the teacher should ask “What did I teach well and what did I not teach well?” What did I learn about which students gained from the teaching and which didn’t? What did I learn about how much I taught? Answering those questions helps teachers decide “where to” next.
  • Ask students to predict how they’ll do in a test? From age 8 on, they’re good at answering this question.
  • His research on feedback. Its impact on students can be variable, even from one day to the next.
  • What is important to look at is the feedback that is received by students (is it heard, understood and actionable?)
  • Why children after age 8 don’t like talking about their errors or what they don’t know…and why they might be more likely to do it through technology
  • The need to learn in groups
  • The value of asking a student how someone got something wrong
  • If you’re not getting things wrong, the work’s too easy
  • Why he dislikes a constructivist approach to teaching and its cousins (problem-based learning, and discovery learning). It’s all about timing and being deliberate.
  • He refers a few times to the card game Canasta.
  • The lack of support available to newly qualified teachers.
  • Evaluative thinking (diagnosis, intervention, implementation, evaluate) as the essence of the teaching profession
  • The difference between teacher as facilitator and teacher as activator (i.e. active listeners, active in the process about how students are going about their learning, intervening at the right time) and why he prefers the latter. Why students need experts.
  • Homework and student achievement. The nature of the homework matters. We can’t assume that students know how to learn.
  • He mentions other researchers in the podcast including: Gert Biesta, Shirley Clarke, Guy Claxton, and Graham Nuthall.

On this week's podcast I address the topic of academic integrity, a concern at all levels of the education system. My guest is Professor Diane Pecorari from the City University of Hong Kong, who is an expert in this area. Among the topics we discuss on the episode are the following:

  • Intertextuality – borrowing from earlier texts
  • Plagiarism involves deception
  • Plagiarism inside and outside education settings
  • Accidental “plagiarism” and the need to differentiate it from deliberate deception
  • Advocating a pedagogical response to plagiarism (punishing versus coaching and supporting)
  • How widespread plagiarism is in higher education settings
  • Causes of plagiarism
  • Students may feel inadequate to a task facing them because of the expansion of access to university education and increasingly educating students through a language that is not their own leading to plagiarism
  • Preventing plagiarism – rules, detection mechanisms, penalties; admitting students with proficiency in the language of instruction and with sufficient academic preparation for studying the subject they’re going to study; giving students the skills they need to use quotations and to develop their voices as writers.
  • Text-matching software such as Turnitin and Urkund. Risk of false positives and false negatives.
  • Deterring plagiarism through penalties
  • Patch writing (coined by Rebecca Howard) as a particular kind of plagiarism
  • Essay mills and contract cheating – challenges to detect. Risk of students being blackmailed or ripped off.
  • Predatory publishing and predatory conferences: no quality control mechanisms and whose sole purpose is to make a profit.
  • Avoid them by looking for journals in which authors you respect publish, look at who is on the editorial board, consider the proportionality of any fee that is requested and consider the time taken to have an article published.
  • Use this website to identify reputable journals.
  • How her interest in this area was sparked
  • English for Academic Purposes versus English as an additional language
  • Content of an English for Academic Purposes course
  • Hot topics in research on English for Academic Purposes
  • What schools are for
  • Academic Tribes and Territories by Tony Becher and Paul R. Trowler.
  • Methodical, patient clear teachers are what we all need.

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

In this episode I speak to two experts on curriculum integration from Brock University in Ontario, Canada, Professor Susan Drake and Dr. Joanne Reid. Among the topics we discuss are the following:

  • Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary connections among subjects
  • SAMPLE TOPICS FOR INTEGRATION: War, water, homelessness, food waste in the cafeteria, traffic patterns in a school, sustainability, patterns, change, conflict, trace origin of everyday item (Coffee, chocolate etc.), medieval fair.
  • Finnish requirement that students do a phenomenon-based learning unit each year based around transversal competencies (21st century)
  • Project-based learning examples
  • Students present their work to an authentic audience
  • Finding themes for integration (look out your window!)
  • Project-based learning on Edutopia
  • Buck Institute and Project-based learning
  • Benefits of integration: more fun, students are engaged, fewer behaviour problems, social and emotional development, wellbeing, relevance, focus on whole person. Teachers who collaborate are more energised and creative
  • OECD Report: Curriculum Overload: A Way Forward.
  • Student achievement and integrated curricula
  • Obstacles to integration: textbooks, timetabling, subject-specific responsibilities,
  • Origin of Integrated teaching and its relation to constructivism which is relevant, interactive, real-world, choice, inquiry-based.
  • The Eight Year Study with Ralph Tyler, Hilda Taba and others. It was written up by Aikin.
  • Balancing integration and disciplinary integrity
  • Cross-curricular and teaching to the big ideas compared to integrated curriculum
  • Explanation of their curriculum framework: KDB: Know, Do, Be
  • Twenty-first century competencies: Communication (reading, writing, oral communication, listening, media literacy), critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, global competency, design thinking, digital skills, data literacy, financial literacy.
  • How they conduct research on integrated curriculum
  • Gordon Vars and research on integrated curriculum.
  • Bluewater study
  • What happened when standards/accountability model arrived in schools in the 1990s.
  • How the pandemic has impacted on assessment
  • Assessment and integration.
  • Benefits of students seeing the value of their work in the wider world (having an audience outside the classroom).
  • Finding out more about integrated curriculum and its history.
  • John Dewey and William Heard Kilpatrick and The Project Method.
  • James Beane.
  • Twenty-first century life skills
  • High Tech High
  • Getting started with integration : Genius Hour. More here.
  • Student-led teaching
  • How integrated curriculum is for students of all ages.
  • bell hooks
  • Inside the Black Box by Paul Black and Dylan William

In addition, Susan and Joanne compiled a list of resources with additional information about curriculum integration:

Drake, S. M. & Reid, J. L. (2020). How education can shape a new story in a post-pandemic world. Brock Education, 29(2), 6-12

 Drake, S. M. & Reid, J. L. (2020). 21st Century competencies in light of the history of integrated curriculum. In “Rethinking what has been rethought consistently over the millennia: A global perspective on the future of education”. Frontiers in Education Journal, 5(122), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.00122

Drake, S.M. & Reid, J.L. (in press). Integrated curriculum In J. Flinders & P, Hiebowitsh (Eds.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Education. New York: Routledge

Drake, S.M. & Reid, J. L. (2018). Integrated curriculum as an effective way to teach 21st Century capabilities. Asia Pacific Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), https://doi.org/10.0000/APJER.2018.1.1.031

Drake, S.M. & Reid, J. L. (2018). Integrated curriculum for the 21st Century. In J. Miller, M. Binder, S. Crowell, K. Nigh and B. Novak (Eds). International handbook in holistic education (pp.118-128) New York: Routledge.

Drake, S.M. & Reid, J. L. (2017). Interdisciplinary assessment in the 21st Century.

                  file:///Users/sdrake/Desktop/IEJEE_57fa80bd928bb_last_article_57fa813187fad.pdfIn Steve Pec (Ed). Scholarship of teaching and learning Part 3 (pp. 1-8) Stuyvesant Falls, NY: Rapid Intellect Group. http://www.rapidintellect.com/AE/ec5771v14.pdf

Savage, M. & Drake, S. (2016). Living transdisciplinarity: Teachers’ experiences with the International Baccalaurete Primary years Programme. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education. (19), 1-19, file:///Users/sdrake/Desktop/IEJEE_57fa80bd928bb_last_article_57fa813187fad.pdf

Drake, S.M. & Savage, M. (2016). Negotiating accountability and integrated curriculum in a global context. International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research, 15, 6. http://www.ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter/article/view/639

Drake, S.M. (2015).  Designing across the curriculum for “sustainable well-being”: A 21st Century approach. In F. Deer, T. Falkenberg, B. McMillan & L. Simms (Eds.). Sustainable Well-Being: Concepts, Issues, and Educational Practice (pp. 57-77). Winnipeg, MB: EWSB Press. http://www.eswb-press.org/uploads/1/2/8/9/12899389/sustainable_well-being_2014.pdf

Drake. S. M., Reid, J. L., & Kolohon, W. (2014). Interweaving curriculum and classroom assessment Engaging students for the 21st century. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Drake S & Burns R. (2004). Meeting standards with integrated curriculum. Alexandria, VA:ASCD. Susan says “it is the easiest "how to" book” and Joanne agrees. It is almost like a manual. Very good even if it seems old now.

Project-based learning – sites for ideas




https://iearn.org  (collaborative international projects)


Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast Education Historian Dr. Thomas Walsh applies a historical perspective to analyse cotemporary policy and practice in curriculum, early childhood education and more. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • The career trajectory that brought him to working in the Education Department of Maynooth University.
  • Working in the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education
  • Influence of nationalism and Catholicism on the curriculum of the 1920s
  • The Commission on Manual and Practical Instruction and its influence on the 1900 curriculum
  • Removing subjects to focus on the Irish language in the 1920s
  • Becoming interested in the study of curriculum and curriculum change over most of a century
  • Influence of John Coolahan on Tom’s work
  • How a historical perspective on curriculum enriches our understanding of curriculum today
  • The Stanley Letter from 1831.
  • The importance of context in curriculum development
  • Policy as text and policy as discourse (Ball). Curriculum implementation – dance between policy and practice
  • Influences on curriculum change in Ireland – timing and context affect the influences
  • Immigrant, internationally educated teachers and controlling who can become a teacher
  • Migrant Teacher Project and Turn to Teaching Project (Maynooth)
  • Team teaching: when it happens; what needs to happen for it to be successful? Planning for team teaching.
  • Policy and practice in relation to team teaching
  • Resources for team teaching (PDST and Maynooth websites)
  • Early Childhood Education in Ireland today
  • Legacy of Professor John Coolahan. He featured on two episodes of Inside Education, here and here.
  • School placement: from supervisor to placement tutor. What’s in a name change?
  • Gert Biesta article, Resisting the seduction of the global measurement industry: notes on the social psychology of PISA and book, The Beautiful Risk of Education.

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

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.


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


Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's podcast I discuss drama and theatre in education with Madeline Michel, a teacher in Monticello High School in Charlottesville Virginia. Madeline was the 2019 winner of the Tony award for excellence in theatre education. Among the topics we discuss in the course of the podcast are the following:

  • How she approaches theatre education
  • How a sports –competitive – paradigm is mistakenly applied to the arts
  • Theatre in education versus drama in education
  • How she tried to make her class more diverse
  • Teaching multiple grades in her classes
  • Letting students know that their stories and their talents are important
  • Her credo: art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable
  • How she became interested in theatre in education
  • What she reads
  • How education is a microcosm of the wider world
  • Stimulating teenagers to write plays
  • The first day in her drama class and building community
  • Collaborating with other teachers
  • Staging a school production
  • The importance of dance and movement in a production
  • The shortcomings of drama on Zoom
  • What students learn through drama
  • Assessing drama
  • Winning the Tony Award for Theatre in Education
  • She recommends the Nice White Parents podcast: (about school segregation in New York City)

Thanks to John Heffernan who suggested Madeline as a guest for the podcast.

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