Teachers at Castlecomer Community School are at the centre of developing the future of Irish teaching.
At a book launch in the school, last week, they heard they are leading the way in innovations in teaching.
‘The Magenta Principles’ is a book that has been written by one of the world's foremost educationalists, Mike Hughes.
A teacher in the UK, he has developed the concept over 30 years. The two key concepts of this approach to teaching are to make learning interesting and to make students understand what they are learning.
The Magenta Principles was first published in the UK, with many examples from classrooms there.
Through workshops in Ireland Mr Hughes met with Irish teachers and listened to their feedback. This lead to him writing this Irish edition, with examples of how the principles work in Irish classrooms and contexts.
“Teachers are always on the look out for how to improve things, not because they are bad teachers but because they want to do their best for children they teach,” Mr Hughes said.
Adults will remember cramming for exams but days later not being able to remember much about a subject. Mr Hughes said exams are important and with this approach teachers hope students will learn and understand their subjects.
The approach to teaching is practical and just suggests ‘tweaks’ to how teachers already work.
Castlecomer Community School really embraced the concept and at the book launch they celebrated seven of their teachers’ classroom examples making it into the book - more than almost every other school from where teachers sent feedback.
Mr Hughes thanked the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals for inviting him to Ireland to hold workshops.
Other schools in Kilkenny with exemplars in the book include: Kilkenny College, Colaiste Pobail Osraí, Grennan College, Kilkenny City Vocational School.
Cllr. Maurice Shortall, a member of the Board of Management at the school praised the school ethos: "Great credit is due to the staff involved and especially to Principal Seamus O'Connor who has been so supportive from the start. You can be trained to teach but you have to learn about learning. In education we must shift the emphasis from knowing to understanding and from teaching to learning."