31Oct/15Off

Purple Learning Project/Confidence Club – What we do in 12 slides

(Scroll Presentation)
6Jun/15Off

THE TEAMWORK APPROACH TO HOMEWORK: 7 WAYS IT CAN WORK FOR YOU

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Journalist Fiona McGarry’s Education Article featuring Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly on “The Teamwork Approach to Homework: 7 Ways it Can Work for You"

http://www.herfamily.ie/parenthood/the-teamwork-approach-to-homework-7-ways-it-can-work-for-you/218895

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™

4Jan/13Off

Working with students with Asperger’s Syndrome

Video to discuss my work with Asperger's Syndrome prompted after some of the recent appalling media coverage of the condition. I currently work with a spectrum of students from the age of 5 to 18

 

17Dec/12Off

Who bullied me most in school?

I'm now 36 and I remember school like it was yesterday. Everyone has a school story and for this reason even though I hated school I now work in education passionately to change it for the better. For everyone. 

I spent most of my time between 5 to 7 standing outside the classroom because as a profound dyslexic I could not write or read at all. One day having stood outside the class all day I was sent to the head teacher as I had pointed out that I then couldn't do the homework. As I had not been in class all day whatever hope had I anyway. I had chairs thrown at me ... I was Isolated at a desk on my own with 2 feet all round so I couldn't communicate with anyone to ask for help as my teacher realised I had one friend in the class who would spell for me on the quiet. No one else in the whole class ever spoke to me. 

Then there was the endless humiliation of the spelling tests ... 

At 7 I was told by a teacher in front of the whole class having struggled to read a story aloud that "I was too stupid to be in the school and should be in the school down the road for the mentally retarded".

I was moved to a new school. The whole time I so excelled at maths I could do the 6th class maths in 1st class. In the new school I was motivated to finally do well by an amazing teacher who saved my life. I had him for two wonderful years. Then it took a wobble with the next teacher as I was now on the road to doing everything brilliantly, when I asked what I had done wrong in a test I was mocked in front of the whole class for being an annoying perfectionist. Somehow I had the strength to ignore this blip and keep going. 

In that year of that school I was also accused of doing something I didn't and had my honesty questioned in front of the whole class till I had melt down again and the equally amazing head came in and sorted it all out and I was never picked on again. I left that school to read my first book. 

 On my first day of secondary school I had to defend my right to stay in mainstream English class. There was no way in this world I was going to "veggie" English! I had decided I was going to university and I was aware I needed honours English for my course. I was staying. But it was a humiliating battle that took place in front of the whole class and set the tone for my next six years. 

By my final year in school the same remedial teacher met the department of education official to tell them I didn't deserve support as I didn't have a "real problem", I had done too well in school in all honours subjects including English. She discussed my "case" openly with me in the school corridor for all to hear. 

At the same time when I was desperately looking for someone to read my exam papers to me, my other teachers were openly humiliating me in class for my writing, spelling, reading and most ridiculously not correcting my mock papers because I hadn't spelt their names right. I was stopped in the corridor in front of other students to complain about how hard it was to correct my exams. 

Then there are all the teachers who continually for 6 years made me read out loud in class - what's in paragraph  blah Naoisé? I didn't know what page we were on never mind where we were on the page! I had panic attacks in certain classes for years.  Teachers asked me to read off the board and then spoke to me in pigeon English when I got it wrong.

The gap, transition year was the worst as every day was new and I never knew what was waiting at school for me. I had to read Shakespeare aloud amongst other awfulness and everyone had so much more time on their hands to bully me. 

I'd love to say it's all different now but my students are always surprised I understand them so well - I see the humiliation in them like tattoos and many cry at our meetings as I'm the first person who has been able to understand then. It's overwhelming for them. 

When will adults realise the importance of their behaviour? You set up how everyone else will treat that person, that child. Whatever you say and do in public sets the ground rules for the environment and what can and cannot be done to that person. 

After my first day in English where I needed to defend my right to be in the same class as everyone else I spent years picking my books out of the bin in every class I went into, because I was rubbish. I spent years been used as target practice to have objects thrown at me repeatedly in the locker room. No one wanted to be my friend. Every table I went to sit at was "full" - and worse that I will not talk about. Teachers were often deaf, dumb and blind to what happened to me. 

It's called respect. It's a two way process. You earn it. It's not assumed  and it doesn't correlate with your title or how many letters there are before or after your name. 

The first thing I do with every new student I meet is to shake their hand.  They are my equal. 

What you do in public sets the private behaviour FOREVER, not just that one moment in class. 

 

Dr. Naoisé  Expression Developist™

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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