Primary School Visit

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Jul 25, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  ,
Monday, July 6, 2009

This morning we headed out on the bus to make a visit to a primary school. They call/distinguish their grades/levels differently from ours.  Basically there were two wings in the building, one for students ages 3-6 and another for students 9-12.  I was disappointed to discover that the students are off for summer break, so we won't be seeing their educational practices in action.  The speaking teachers actually had to come in over their summer breaks to meet with us.

In general Irish Education, from what I have seen and heard so far, is quite different from our systems.  The individual teacher gets a great deal more flexibility and control over the decision making policies and materials to be used.  There is a National Curriculum but it appears that it is enforced "loosely" and the educators are given more liberty as to the delivery approach, method and programs.  A majority of the schools are linked to the church. 

From the schools that I have viewed from the streets and via our school visit, America places a great deal more money in the building and maintenance of the facilities than here in Ireland.  Ireland puts its money elsewhere.  The school we visited was very old and “worn”.  There wasn’t a great deal of extras.  It kind of reminded me of my grade school.  Considering that was so many years ago, it’s a bit scary to think that these buildings are used to educate today’s students.  I realized that we take so much for granted in the US.  (They are also very “green” here.  The school was designated a “green’ site and recycling, use of resources, etc. are highly taught, promoted and encouraged.)

We had an afternoon lecture regarding the language, literature and history of Ireland to round out our day.  I then headed back home and decided to eat in and catch up on my photo downloads and such.  The internet connection there is almost like being on dial-up.  I have since come to realize that the University’s wireless and library on campus is much faster.

After dinner a large group of us headed down to a pub that was having two Irish step dancers.  What a great environment!  This place was an example of what I would consider an authentic Irish pub.  It was the An Paucn.  See the pictures that I will download shortly.  Later on a man sang Irish tunes and entertained.  Of course, he then switched over to the American standards: Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond.  What’s up with that?  (It had been raining on and off pretty much the entire day into the evening, but it had cleared up right in time for us to head downtown to the dancing/music scene.  So far the weather has been very cooperative with my schedule.  It has only rained when I had to be inside already.  Let’s hope that it remains that way!
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