Entrevista 4 M.A. ELAINE NEVIN. (Irlanda) PRESENTACIÓN. Academic Information.

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1 Entrevista 4 M.A. ELAINE NEVIN (Irlanda) PRESENTACIÓN Academic Information. Masters of Arts. University College Dublin. ( ). Higher Diploma in Education, Education. National University of Ireland, Galway ( ). B.A., Geography and Political Science, National University of Ireland, Galway ( ) Professional Information Executive Director, ECO-UNESCO 6th EPA Advisory Committee Member EPA Ireland. The Executive Board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is assisted by an Advisory Committee of twelve members, nominated by prescribed organisations and appointed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. The Director General of the EPA, is ex officio, a member and Chairperson of the Committee. The term of office of the Committee is three years. The Advisory Committee has a wide range of advisory functions under the EPA Act, including making recommendations to the EPA, or the Minister, relating to the functions of the EPA. The 6th EPA Advisory Committee was appointed by Mr Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. 40

2 ENTREVISTA REGARDING THE CURRICULUM BASES 1. The Education System for Basic Education, uses the term competencie, these are left exposed as an objectives and goals to achieve in the graduate profile. For you. What is a competencie? Competencies are a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities. Competencies are diverse and can include: core skills, content knowledge, cognitive skills, soft skills etc. They can be developed through out a persons life through a range of formal, non-formal and informal education settings including youth and community work. They can include competencies such as communications skills, team working, critical analysis, systems thinking. 2. There is a kind of association-dissociation between the terms competencie and competitiveness, taking them as a references. Do you consider that both concepts are related in the educative ambit? and Why? Education systems are concerned with the development of competencies whether they are knowledge based competencies or skills development. Currently in Ireland, the state exam system in the second level formal education system, gives a greater focus on the development of content knowledge competencies and not so much on other types of competencies. This exam based system promotes a culture of competition and the entry system into third level is a competitive process; the higher marks you get; the higher points you achieve and the better course or university you can get into. 3. What do you consider are the basis about design the graduate profile? I m not sure how to answer this question. 41

3 IN RESPECT OF TEACHING PRACTICE 1. How is teaching implemented by planning and working with the model of competences? Teachers are trained to ensure competencies are developed in students this is done mainly through classroom taught subject areas but is also done through additional project work. Teachers ensure Learning Outcomes are met and this is a way of assessing how well competencies are being developed. In Ireland teachers need to ensure key core competencies such as literacy and numeracy are achieved through their subjects/ education programmes. Subject content competencies are developed and other competencies such as communications, group work, development of critical thinking can be done through a range of initiatives including project work and extra -curricular activities. 2. How do you consider that is developing the model based in competencies and how is asses? Are there models to guide change or continue to use basic knowledge tests? Teachers measuring competencies by ensuring specific learning outcomes are met; they are one form of evidence of how well competencies are being developed. 3. According to their function, the management of information and the experience generated in your professional experience. What is the systematic difference between the Plan prior studies and the present? (with emphasis on the strengths and weaknesses of each program). I have not enough information to response. 42

4 IN RESPECT OF GRADUATE PROFILE 1. The education reforms have a basis in economy, political, financial, social, etc. From your point of view, how does education reforms intended to prepare new generations of students to enable them to cope with the various challenges or adversity? And what social and / or economic changes considered important for this purpose? What strategies do you consider should be implement the teachers to form students to jobs that doesn't exist it yet? The world in which we are living is changing dramatically. Education reforms need to develop people that are resilient; are problem solvers and are able to critically analysis and systems think. They also need to develop students that have a keen awareness and knowledge of their impact on the natural environment and have a strong understanding of aspects related to sustainable development; this includes making students active citizens and increasing competencies of the most disadvantaged. 2. With the beginning of the education reforms, Do you think that the linkage between education levels is given effectively?, Why? I think that in Ireland we have had a strong focus on reform of our Primary school system with a strong emphasis on Learner Centered approaches developed. There has also been a focus placed on development of core competencies of literacy and numeracy and on developing holistic learners and people. At second level this focus changes and there is a greater focus on knowledge and content. In Ireland there has been a lot of work done on the redevelopment of the junior cycle in second level schooling. This includes more ongoing 43

5 assessment of skills, knowledge much of it based on ongoing project work. There is also inclusion of short courses on innovative subjects offered by each school. At senior cycle in second level schooling there is a Transition Year from Junior to Senior cycle which is based on developing knowledge, skills, competencies in addition to a core curriculum; this includes offering a range of special subject modules, developing lifelong learning skills and includes opportunity for project work. 3. What kind of basic characteristics and what selection model, if is necessary, do you think is necessary to entry the teacher training schools? A teacher should Have a strong interest in education and in learner-centred holistic approaches Have a strong understanding and awareness of the relationship between non-formal and formal education methods have very strong communication and group facilitation skills, be highly motivated and enthusiastic. like working with children and young people; IN RESPECT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE 1. Education reforms demand action to achieve quality, including the structural types. Do you consider that infrastructure needs are fully covered both urban and rural environments?, Why? 44

6 I m not fully sure about this at a national level in Ireland. Education infrastructure in Ireland is quite complex with a range of different providers and the church has played quite a central role in the provision of education in Ireland. However, from my experience working with ECO-UNESCO in schools in Ireland, there is a wide variety of school types, school infrastructure quality and a wide variety of management systems in place. In Ireland we have a strong state schools, church run schools (both state and private fee-paying) and private fee paying schools (many of which are in Dublin). I think that all schools should be active centres for learning; from a sustainability perspective they should have policies and practices which promote sustainability from an environmental, economic and society perspective i.e. environmental - they should be energy efficient, should have efficient and effective waste management systems; economically they should promote local purchasing, fair trade purchasing and societally they should promote equality, and justice. In a school building there should be adequate creative and hands on experiential learning spaces. There should be nature zones and areas for learning in the outdoors. 2. The State must be maintained the schools in optimal conditions and with the basic services however, in occasions is not a reality, to raise an effective quality education What do you consider to be the order of the actions to be taken? Curriculum reforms and later the infrastructures. First the infrastructures and later the curriculum changes or must be at par?, Why? 45

7 I think curriculum reforms are key as the curriculum provides the guidance for the education content within the system and it is the framework within which the teachers and principals work. I think teachers are an extremely important part of the infrastructure as are principals who set the culture for the school. The schools infrastructure and buildings are of course important and it is important that there are high quality facilities with a range of spaces for students to learn. Experiential and hands on learning should be encouraged and promoted. 3. How do you think they are incorporating new technologies to the different educational levels? Are they carrying out programs that consider effective? In what sense? In Ireland this depends on the school. Some schools use technology more than others; some are using ipads instead of books and some are not. The use of technology is encouraged and instead of blackboards there are interactive whiteboards in many places. In some Primary schools it seems that technology facilities are better but again this seems to depend on schools. IN RESPECT THE TEACHING PROFESSIONALIZATION 1. Teacher professionalization is under the lens of educational reforms, however What do you consider to be the main factor by which the trainings are given to teachers are not always impact in the classroom? Teachers need confidence to use more interactive and experiential methods on the classroom. They are used to delivering in a certain way. Often more interactive methodologies are not used such as group work as teachers do not have the confidence to use these. There is still a lot of emphasis based on classroom management and this can still mean for some that students should be quietly learning etc. 46

8 Teachers should be trained on the importance of developing a positive working relationship with their students. To get the best out of this relationship, it should be built on mutual respect for each other. 2. Private educational institutions are taking a key role in the processes of teacher training How feasible is this action as agents teacher educators? and What is the trend being set in your country? In Ireland pre service teacher education and training is done by a variety of third level institutions including universities and special institutes for education. At Continuous professional development level teacher training is done by a variety of institutions including private and non-profit or NGO providers. These specialist trainings are provided for teachers in a variety of subject areas. For example ECO-UNESCO Clubs Ireland provides teacher training in environmental education and environmental issues to primary and on the Young Environmentalist Awards progamme to post primary teachers. 3. What teaching evaluation system are following in the different educational levels that ensure the quality of the training process? I m unsure of which evaluation systems are used in the different educational institutions. In ECO-UNESCO we have an internal Monitoring and Evaluation system where we monitor the effectiveness of our programmes, the quality of methodologies used and the learning outcomes Would you like to comment on some other consideration about education reforms that it considers relevant and has not been included among the group of questions? 47

9 In Ireland one of the most innovative programmes in second level education was the introduction of the Transition Year between Junior and Senior cycles. This provided an opportunity for creative teaching methods and for action project work with students. The Transition Year Programme is a unique one year programme that promotes the personal, social, vocational and educational development of students and prepares them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society (Transition Year Guidelines, 1994, Department of Education). TY provides a bridge to enable students to make the transition from the more dependent type of learning associated with Junior Cycle to the more independent learning environment associated with Senior Cycle. It encourages the development of a wide range of transferable critical thinking and creative problem solving skills I think a very interesting innovation would be a Transition Year for students going from Primary education to secondary education. Many students experience difficulties making the transition from primary education to secondary education so a year which would prepare them and help them develop the skills needed to learn effectively at second level would be a great advantage. 48

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