Mary Immaculate College to introduce course on robotics

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Picture:Brian Arthur

While engaging in professional development is nothing new for Irish teachers, it is likely to become increasingly important in the coming years. The Teaching Council has recently launched a national framework for teachers’ learning, which is currently being trialed with a number of teachers.

The framework has already identified a number of areas requiring attention based on
existing national priorities which include: inclusion, literacy, numeracy, information and
communications technology (ICT). To address the need for continuing professional
development in the teaching profession Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has launched its
summer 2018 programme of Continuous Professional Development courses. The range of
onsite, online and blended courses are designed to reflect the ever-changing and diverse
professional needs of teachers.

Dr Cathal de Paor, Director of Continuing Professional Development at MIC says, “MIC is delighted to be offering, once again, a range of continuing professional development opportunities through our 2018 Summer School. Many of the favourite courses that teachers have enjoyed over the years are still there, but there are also new courses, which teachers should find very beneficial for their CPD.’

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Recent additions include a course on robotics in which participants have the opportunity to plan, design and practice teaching methodologies that integrate robotics into lessons focused on developing children’s literacy and numeracy, science and creative and artistic skills. Another option focuses on teachers’ use of assessment – available for both Irish-medium and English medium teaching.

These two course are designed to broaden teachers’ understanding of assessment enabling them to nurture learners for life – teaching children to, as it were, ‘own’ their own learning
and ‘teach themselves’ – a critical skillset for education in the 21 st century. This is explored through ‘My Learner ID’, a unique new whole-school programme with resources ready for implementation from third to sixth class.

According to Dr Cathal De Paor; “The three additional priorities which the Cosán document
proposes are, supporting teachers& learning, leading learning, and well-being. The merit of
each of these as priorities can be easily illustrated. But apart from national strategies and
reforms in curriculum and assessment, there is also a need to consider how teachers and
schools themselves may want to prioritise certain areas for their own development, i.e.,
teacher and school development. This can help to ensure that teachers take ownership of, and responsibility for their own learning journeys. Given that the teacher has a crucial role
in fostering learning dispositions in children such as curiosity, perseverance, joy, and
enthusiasm in their learners, there is a need to ensure that their own learning journeys
allow for these same dispositions.”

Online courses account for an increasing share of the CPD provision offered by MIC. Many of the courses are offered with the support of other organisations such as the GAA, PDST Technology in Education, and the Junior Education Programme. Bookings and further information is available at www.mic.ie.

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