Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Neoliberal University

These days, the word ‘neoliberal’ is usually used as a term of abuse. It is code for ‘right wing’, i.e. a belief in a lightly-regulated, laissez-faire approach to not only business and the economy but also to education. ‘Right wing’ is … Continue reading

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More drift in Ireland’s Education System

Carl O’Brien’s article in the Irish Times today signals a further shift in our educational system towards what one might call ‘progressive’ methods. It seems that we’re going to do away with subjects and focus on learning by playing at … Continue reading

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Some quick thoughts on the Irish Survey of Student Engagement

I always read the Irish Survey of Student Engagement and it is generally a good read. It has evolved over the years from being a sort of customer satisfaction survey to a survey that, while still having a student-as-customer feel … Continue reading

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Why going to college is not about snobbery

So our high rates of third level participation are down to snobbery.  So says a senior academic who takes the view that more students should be encouraged to do apprenticeships. That’s nice of him to suggest that other people’s kids … Continue reading

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How should we respond to PISA 2015?

The first media response to the recent PISA results was Breda O Brien’s article in the Irish Times. Unfortunately, her profile is such that many people will automatically dismiss her arguments, which are actually very well made, as just another … Continue reading

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We need an inquiry about inquiry

The default position of many who are charged with reviewing curricula at all levels of Irish education seems to be to suggest more discovery or inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning.  Personally, I find the whole thing bizarre because I … Continue reading

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What PISA 2015 says about how to teach science

Given that Ireland has just gone through a review of STEM teaching, it is interesting to have a look at what PISA has to say. A very quick glance through Vol II of their report reveals the following. My comments are … Continue reading

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