News and views in education
Don’t suffer: part of the Department of Education’s anti-bullying campaign
Beat the bullies
Bullying is a big challenge both in schools and outside, and some new initiatives aim to tackle it. The National Parents Council’s anti-bullying programme for parents of primary and postprimary children has sessions around Ireland enabling parents to support their children. The two-hour evening sessions are free, funded by the Department of Education under its new anti-bullying action plan. That funding was this month topped up by €20,000, to €60,000, to cover about 115 training sessions. (See npc.ie.) And some young people from primary and secondary schools in north Dublin are being trained as anti-bullying ambassadors on November 5th at a session at Skerries Educate Together National School, facilitated by the Diana Award anti-bullying ambassadors team. Small groups learn to understand the issue through interactive sessions and get practical ideas for how to stop bullying in their school. It costs €30 per student; staff can go without charge. See diana-award.org.uk/anti-bullying. For a YouTube video on Alex Holmes, who was bullied at school and now runs the programme, see tinyurl.com/alexholmes.
One Good Idea
Postprimary students can enter a nationwide search for One Good Idea 2014, in association with Sustainable Energy Ireland. It aims to inspire people to make small lifestyle changes that will use energy more efficiently and help tackle climate change. Last year’s winners, the “Tree of a Kind” team from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan, developed an education programme for primary pupils about energy efficiency. The judging includes a ‘Dragons’ Den’-style adjudication process. The winning teams pick up thousands of euro worth of prizes at a national final at the Mansion House, Dublin, in May next year. See seai.ie/onegoodidea or email email@example.com.
New book explores different learning styles
A new crowd-sourced book, ‘How I Learn’, about different learning styles and experiences is worth reading for teachers, parents and anyone interested in education. The brainchild of Helen Bullock of the Anseo a Mhúinteoir blog (easily one of the best education blogs around), it explores how we all engage with education in very different ways. The contributions come from students, parents, teachers and people interested in education, from preschool through to third level. Contributors have been lighting up Twitter’s edchatie hashtag for more than a year with some really great (and not so great) ideas.The book has generated a buzz in education circles and was singled out for praise at the recent Féilte Festival of Education. The printed version is €15 plus €3 p&p, with proceeds going to Barnardos. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or buy from iTunes or Amazon.
A Spanish debate
Eighteen schools are taking part in the secondary-school debating competition organised by the Association of Teachers of Spanish in Ireland. The first debate was about whether mixed or single-sex schools are better. Last year’s winner was the King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown, Dublin. Spanish is gaining ground, with 143 teachers of Spanish at the association’s agm this month, at St Patrick’s College.