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™


Innovative lesson for an Abacus

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.

I set the team a task of thinking of an innovative lesson or use of a new toy, abacus - especially not for maths!

Rachel was thinking about using it for younger kids as a way of measuring progress/encouraging them to push themselves. If a student is having particular trouble writing, you could use it to build up the number of sentences/words they'll write and if they're having trouble reading you could use it to get them to read more paragraphs/pages/poems and so on!

So all the beads would be on the left hand side on the first day. You'd get them to read or write as much as they're willing to. Then you would move one bead from the top row to the right hand side for every sentence written/poem read etc.

The next day you would reset the abacus to show how they got on the week before and then challenge them to do better, so maybe this time you will move three beads over instead of two. As the weeks go on they will be able to clearly see that they are improving and hopefully they will be motivated to beat their own scores!

Brilliant - Just the sort of idea I was looking for!



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.

Autour le Monde- Around the world

This lesson is create by Annika Stephan who was born in Düsseldorf. Completed her Abitur in 1996 and moved to Ireland in 1997. Commenced studies in Cultural Studies & French at DKIT in 1997. Completed BA Hons. in Heritage Studies & French at GMIT in 2002. Lived & worked in France between 2001/02. MA Hons. in German Literature from UCD in 2008. Lives with Muffy, the hamster and two guinea pigs, Billy and Bob.

The aim of this lesson is too learn French vocabulary in a fun and dynamic way. For prep you will need to make up some visual flash cards. To make it easier in the beginning especially with younger groups you could add pictures to the cards.

This is a game to play in a larger group of at least three students! But it is more fun with more students. Autour le Monde translates as Around the World, and this is exactly what the aim of the game is all about: to get around the table back to your own chair by guessing the correct translation of words in French.


Learning from Mock Exams


The snow before Christmas had a knock on effect for many exam students this year. Students sat mock exams later than normal without getting a chance to finish any more of the course work. Everyone has anxiously awaited results and feedback. At The Homework Club we believe evaluation is vital to success. The Mock results don’t have to set what you will get in June. Included are some of the top tips  we go through for our own students. The mocks are a test run! They test our endurance.

If you had a good mocks - you should be always be careful. Were you just lucky with the paper? are you likely to get the same questions in June? If yes, your on the road to success.

If you had a bad mocks - Don’t despair. Above all else stay confident. Always aim for the stars and you will reach success. Find your mistakes and learn from the experience. It's not the end of the world.

There are 8 main factors that effect exam performance

Subject Knowledge

Your Exam History

Exam Preparation

Exam Practice

Experience of the Subject

Writing Skills

Use of Time

Attitude and Approach

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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