Irish Journal of Education, Vol. 29, 1998

CULTURE, IDENTITY AND CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

Stuart Marriott

Optimistic assertions about the significance of fiction in forming and maintaining children’s personal and social identity are difficult to substantiate. Existing evidence from Northern Ireland that fiction has a meaningful role in this process is credible if,largely anecdotal and circumstantial. The necessary task of providing more substantive research evdence is theoretically and methodologically formidable.
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PERSPECTIVES ON THE EFFECT OF PRESENTATION AND PERFORMANCE IN PREPARING STUDENTS TO TEACH DRAMA

Michael O’Hara

The project reported in this paper is a description of a course, its content and its intentions, in preparing graduates for the first stage in the training continuum of initial, induction, and inservice education. Its prime focus was  to collect ‘research snap-shots’ of the effect of performance and presentation in preparing secondary English teachers to use drama both as a learning medium in the English Curriculum and as a separate subject in secondary schools. The study acknowledges the limitation of contact time on a PGCE course and seeks to tease out the effects of building into such a course the demands of presentation and performance both as a strategy and methodology. It describes the development of students’ awareness of the potential of drama in the classroom through participation in a performance; assesses the development of students’ skills in drama; and checks on their perceived confidence in managing the process of engaging children in creative work.
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MATURE STUDENTS IN FULL-TIME PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

Eileen Woodbyrne and Peter Yung

The characteristics and experiences of a group of people who had studied for an honours degree on a full-time basis as mature students are examined. All but one of the mature graduates in Physiotherapy at a Dublin university (n=13) provided information in a questionnaire, together with a sample of traditional-age graduates (n=13) who had attended the same course. A majority of the mature graduates reported that they had previously been in professional or white-collar occupations. They also reported experiencing more financial problems as students than the traditional-age graduates and more problems relating to the demands of family. However, fewer mature graduates reported problems with motivation to study or lack of confidence in clinical work. Although few mature graduates said that they had difficulty in integrating with younger students, a number said that family commitments limited their social integration.
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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ATTENDANCE AT UNIVERSITY LECTURES AND EXAMINATION PERFORMANCE

Maureen Maloney and Breda Lally

A variation on a linear regression model developed by Romer (1993) was used to estimate the relationship between lecture attendance and examination results for second and third year economics students at the National University of Ireland, Galway. While the results show that both lecture attendance and previous results are positively and significantly related to examination results for both classes, the variables are much more important in explaining the examination results of second year students than of third year students. Possible reasons for the variation between the second and third year classes are explored.
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TOWARDS A COLLEGIAL APPROACH TO WHOLE-SCHOOL EVALUATION

Paraig Cannon and Anne Moran

The perceptions of Irish principal teachers, whole-school evaluation trainers, and union representatives regarding the desirability of a collegial approach to whole school evaluation were investigated. A sample of 30 teachers revealed widespread support for developing a more collaborative work culture for whole-school improvement endeavours. Practically all stated that they would like an opportunity for sharing one another’s classroom practice. In fact, however, the majority (73%) remained in their own classroom to teach and experienced collaborative planning in an ad hoc fashion; teamwork was not a regular feature for most teachers. All principals welcomed and supported the concept of whole-school evaluation and team-based management. However, they resisted a formal role in implementing the process. A significant number of teachers had not been involved with their principal in an annual systematic review of curriculum delivery (58%), school leadership (85%), communication (77%), forward planning (69%), or staff development (62%). In 73 of the schools surveyed there was no written policy on staff development..
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