19Aug/13Off

Leaving Cert results 2013, A year later – the transformation of The Homework Club to Confidence Club

So it is one year on - our first state exams results since transforming The Homework Club into Confidence Club and I have been asking myself what are the real results? 

In the past I found myself dancing around the real issues with students - as parents and students alike thought they were attending some form of "grind school" we spent more time by stealth in the background getting to the real reasons behind what was going on ... it was often a case of me waiting for an opportunity in the hall to chat casually to a student or waiting for the chance when a parent collected their charge. 

Now it is all a lot more straight forward and upfront - which means less time waiting for the chance to talk about what is really happening. All too often the maths result or other challenge is just a factor in what is really happening in a young persons life. 

This means a year later I can say that we have worked with real people, real problems and in record time. Many of the students I have met have required no more help from me or my team after the initial hour and a half meeting. Their whole lives have improved not just the "maths problem" or the "english essay rows". The time my team have spent in peoples house has been less that we would have needed in the school for greater return. 

All round as what we do is not conventional in anyway it didn't make sense to continue with a conventional school model. I felt often that we had a revolving door as we got results too quickly and now we get them even quicker with a wider spectrum of people. 

Another change for me is that I have often felt that we work with students that everyone else has washed their hands of - now we work with the really outside the box stories that no one has thought of! I truly enjoy the challenge and nothing has ever shocked me. I think there is no way now we can be seen as a simple "grind school". 

I'm looking forward to what this year brings and all the amazing young people I will meet along the way. 

Dr. Naoisé

Expression Developist™

21Sep/12Off

What can Profiling do for a Studnet’s Future Career?

This short video I recorded at the Irish Times Higher Options Conference in RDS explains why profiling is so important for Students early in their education life - You can pursue the Career you were born to do!

14Jun/11Off

The Value of Going Back to Basics

This blog piece is written by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication.

The Value of Going Back to Basics

It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes in order to help a student move forwards you have to go backwards.

The roots of seemingly big problems are often found in basic gaps in knowledge that occurred months or even years before. For whatever reason a student doesn’t fully master a piece of information or skill. They can’t keep up with subsequent work that relies on them having this knowledge and they fall further and further behind. Their confidence is eroded and they are too embarrassed to ask for help with something they should already know. A simple gap, like not having fully grasped factorising in fifth class, becomes a big problem, like not being able to do Leaving Cert algebra.

Identifying these gaps and taking the time to fill them in, even if this means going backwards in the curriculum, can allow the student to finally catch up with their classmates.

There is also value in going back to a level of work that the student finds more manageable. They finally get a chance to be good at the subject and their confidence is built up. A third year student who thinks they are bad at English can excel at first year year level comprehensions. They can gradually be moved up to second and then third year work, often without realising that the work is getting harder. They have the confidence to attempt work they would have thought was impossible and even more importantly they expect to do it well because they have gotten used to succeeding.

 

25May/11Off

Learning your own mistakes

This lesson is devised by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication. This lesson is one of two parts that Rachel won the recent Homework Club innovative teaching competition with.
The importance of checking over your work
Preparation: None
This is a really quick 5 minute exercise which applies to all levels and subjects where writing is important.
Give everyone in the class a sheet of paper and tell them that they have 3 minutes to write as much as they can about what they did yesterday.
Time the 3 minutes and let them know as every thirty seconds passes. The idea is to get them writing under pressure and mimic an exam situation.
When the time is up give everyone a red pen (or another colour of their choice - I wear red glasses so I hate red pens!). Tell them to correct their own work.
9May/11Off

Writing Diary Entries and Speeches

This lesson is devised by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication. This lesson is one of two parts that Rachel won the recent Homework Club innovative teaching competition with.

You need a video clip of  Martin Luther King\'s \"I have a dream\" speech, a video clip of a politician making a speech (I usually use the beginning of Obama\'s election night speech but any clip will work), an extract from "Bridget Jones\' Diary" by Helen Fielding, an extract from "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank.

This class is an interesting and interactive way to introduce diary and speech writing, both of which come up regularly on the Junior and Leaving Cert. It is also good for showing the difference between formal and informal writing (it doesn't get much more informal than Bridget Jones!)

Point of Blog

Our motto is that "we don't do normal". Everyone who comes to The Homework Club is different and is here for a different reason. It's not important if they are dyslexic, have reduced hearing or simply don't "get-it". This Blog is about creative teaching that suits everyone, all of the time! No one needs to be "special". The work is done in groups, so students avoid stigma and don't feel only they need help!

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