Irish Science Teachers Association

Image via MorgueFile

An interview with Yvonne Higgins, chairperson of the Irish Science Teachers Association, for Scibernia, recorded in April 2011.

Controversial religion questions on student teacher exam

I sent in this article to several newspapers last week, but none published it. So I’m publishing it here for the record. A sample examination test for trainee primary teachers taking religion as a subject includes questions which require the student to agree that ‘atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed.’ Another… Continue reading Controversial religion questions on student teacher exam

Concern at post-graduate cutbacks

Image via Morguefile

The director general of the statutory body charged with funding basic science research has expressed his concern at proposals to abolish funding for postgraduate students. Dr Graham Love was speaking at the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Summit in Athlone, an annual event bringing together researchers funded by the body to carry out basic scientific research… Continue reading Concern at post-graduate cutbacks

Stop the presses

Irish schools should abandon textbooks in favour of online educational content, says Fergus O’Dowd, FG education spokesman. “Texas and California are investigating the use of ‘open source textbooks’, providing approved digital texts online, written by educational experts such as retired teachers but made available for free or at a discounted price for printed versions,” he… Continue reading Stop the presses

Going Up

Mark Coughlan does a good job outlining the events of the past week, with reports in the papers apparently confirming grade inflation. Coincidentally, I was googling on the topic around the same time Mark was writing his article. My working theory was that this was not a new problem (few things are in Ireland) only… Continue reading Going Up

Learning How The System Works

I had an interesting conversation with some (mostly Fianna Fáil, some Labour) local activists at the Kildare County Council election count yesterday. We started with the BNP results in the UK, and I mentioned that it seemed to be due to Labour voters staying at home. Apparently the BNP vote is actually down, but Labour… Continue reading Learning How The System Works

Sign of the Times

Yesterday I posted edited extracts from a review of ‘Chaos and Conspiracy’ in a shameless bid to promote the book to anyone who happens to be reading out there. The review appeared in last Saturday’s edition of the Irish Independent, under the headline ‘The rumour-mill that tore the soul out of an Irish country town’.… Continue reading Sign of the Times

Heads Up

The hijab non-controversy continues, this time given oxygen by the announcement that the minister for education does not intend to regulate the non-issue. Beverly McKenzie, head of the Irish Hijab Campaign, formed to combat the well reported but rarely seen  threat to scarves in Irish schools, appeared on Today FM’s Last Word with Matt Cooper… Continue reading Heads Up

Creating Realities

Among cynical observers of the political process, it’s known as getting your retaliation in first. Create the perception of a threat to something you cherish, declare your support with fervour, issue rallying cries against the strawman you have carefully built, and declare victory when a puzzled opposition confirms that no, there were never any plans… Continue reading Creating Realities

Who Pays The Piper

I was educated by the State. The State paid for to build the schools I was taught in, designed the curriculum, paid my teachers’ salaries. But the first school I went to wasn’t a State school. It was owned and operated by the Catholic church. We’re so used to ‘national schools’ which aren’t owned by… Continue reading Who Pays The Piper