Weekly Message from the Principal

Weekly Message from the Principal
07-February-20
Weekly Message from the Principal

Ten Ways Educators can make Classrooms more Innovative

A recent article on the Forbes website listed ten ways educators can make classrooms more innovative for the children entrusted to their care. However, the most important element by far was maximising the importance of creativity. According to the National Education Association, in a piece written by Dawn Dupriest titled, "Creativity in the Classroom", she claims, "is there anything more satisfying than making something creative? A quilt, a webpage, a decoration, an invention? As a child, do you remember the pride you felt when you showed your parents a LEGO creation or a fairy house or even a mud pie? Creativity belongs everywhere, not just in childhood games and extracurriculars. It involves all your senses and creates new knowledge that didn’t exist before. Students of all ages need to learn by creating – it helps to synthesize information and bring joy and meaning into their educational experience"

The article listed ten ways teachers can create innovative learning spaces –

  1. Introducing a growth mindset
  2. Self-reflection
  3. Ask open-ended questions
  4. Create flexible learning environments
  5. Personality matters: create spaces for all learners
  6. Use problem finding in problem solving tasks
  7. Let students take risks and fail
  8. Consider a flipped classroom model
  9. Invite entrepreneurs and innovators into the classroom
  10. Use the design – thinking process

I particularly found points 7 and 10 crucially important because we must teach our children that we probably learn more from failure than achieving success all the time and that every single challenge that we will encounter invariably brings opportunity. This leads directly on to point ten the design-thinking process in which teachers and children follow the same pattern, specifically –

  • I have a challenge. How do I approach it?
  • I learned something. Now, how do I interpret it?
  • I see an opportunity. What can I create?
  • I have an idea. How can I build it?

These skills specifically mirror a recent talk given by Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman priest of Glenstal Abbey highlighted the challenges faced in Irish society and he stated ‘…. that the solution lies in a shared vision for an inclusive future. Building a platform towards that future requires imagination rather than memory.’

Hence, we must impart the skills of imagination, confidence, enthusiasm for learning, resilience, curiosity, kindness, empathy, communication coupled with the skills of revision. Many of these skills will not be realised with your head down looking at a blue screen on a phone or an Ipad and I would like to thank Cybersafe Ireland for coming in to talk to all of the boys from Third to Sixth Form last week as well as the parents who turned up on Thursday evening.

Finally, we, as educators, are dealing with 21st century thinkers and learners – very different from 20th century learning – therefore we should strive to prepare the boys within our school for the ‘tests of life’ and not a ‘life of tests’. We all have a role to play in this….

Principal’s Note –

‘We are a school that plays rugby. We are not a rugby school!’

Eleven fantastic young men have epitomised the meaning of the message above. I would like to congratulate –

  1. Donnacha Cosgrove
  2. Finn Hamilton
  3. Daire Hannan
  4. Sam Ramke
  5. Eoghan Rowlands
  6. Rory Staunton
  7. Donnacha Walsh
  8. Ariston Xourafas
  9. Charles Collenette
  10. Ross McGowan
  11. Daniel Ennis

On representing Willow Park Junior school at the Irish schools national swimming championships in Blanchardstown on Sunday the 9th of February.

All of the hard work, early morning training with JP and commitment has paid off!

Enjoy!

Mar
07 2020
Confirmation
Mar
13 2020
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16 2020
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17 2020
St Patrick's Day - School Closed
Mar
21 2020
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28-Feb-2020
WPA News
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