Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills
Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion with School Management Bodies
Mr. Paddy Flood:
Senator Pauline O'Reilly used two fantastic words, namely, "individual interests". If anything, the junior cycle programme has shown us we can have assessments but we can allow teachers the scope to position those assessments within individual interests. Homework can be thought of as a drudge but when individual interests feature in it, the work sometimes becomes a joy rather than a drudge. For example, with the new business specification at junior cycle, the student focuses on a business. I remember my young lad focused on a shop in the local GAA club, Truagh Gaels, as being a small business and what that means. Another example, was when my daughter focused on local history in the context of Castle Leslie and where the castle came from. With such individual interests issues are brought to life for students. Individual interests make a major difference. That scope was there. Obviously, with senior cycle, learning must be brought to a further point. It must be challenging. Learning is never fun if it is not challenging. There must be bite in the learning for the student. We certainly would not in any way condone any form of dumbing down of the specifications. When we can tap into the individual interests to which the Senator referred, it is a much richer form of learning. It is to be recommended. I commend the Senator on making that point.