Journalist Fiona McGarry’s Education Article featuring Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly on “The Teamwork Approach to Homework: 7 Ways it Can Work for You"
I recently read a very striking article which outlined how people don't go to school because of war, Ebola or simply because they are girls. We are all familiar with the story of how a schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for continuing to exercise her right to education. These seem like really huge and profound reasons to be denied education.
However, having read this article I was struck by the top ten reasons for students avoiding school everyday in what is supposed to be a better climate and a more evolved society. I have so many students who suffer extreme anxiety daily. Who are depressed - who feel there will never be a place in the world for them. Education doesn't seem like a gift or a right.
So, the most common reasons:
1: Homework. They can't do it. They live in fear of getting it wrong. They dread the public classroom retaliations for what they have produced. Maybe they don't have the perfect "happy family" at home to help them. Many of these students have literacy issues and spend hours on what they hand up. They never get the praise to match the effort. They feel like they have no life. They spend hours working in school and hours at home working too. Is there no more to life?
2: Bullying. This comes in all forms. From the students but it is often driven from the system by what you can't do or how you don't fit in. Especially, what the teachers say in front of the class can be very specific in terms of what others feel you are capable of. Every word that is ever said to a student is caried around by them forever. You need to remember this before you open your mouth. Students often quote the horrible things said to them by teachers years after the fact. The next biggest issue that I know first hand for myself is that teachers ignore bullying taking place in front of them or don't do anything when it is reported to them. This leaves students feeling very vulnerable and believing that no one is on their side.
3: Lack of Respect. It seems totally fine to make you look dreadfully bad in front of a whole class, year or assembly hall of people. Respect is a two way street and it is not something you automatically have - you have to earn it. You have to treat people with respect in order to earn it. For personalities that thrive on justice - they cannot cope with an environment that does not have respect.
4: Boring. School is horendiously boring for these bright people and usually by the age of 11 they have switched off forever and never bother again. They often have really involved interests outside school and endlessly research them. The school material is just not interesting enough and there seems to be no space for discussion on real life events, research and ground breaking ideas.
5: The endless drone of the fact that you are no good and never will be. What I experience myself and the feedback I hear back: "You can only do pass subjects." Even if your dreams hinges on being able to get certain grades. "Forget your dreams." Well then, why are you in school? Why bother? You are not going to be allowed to do any of it anyway. "You are too stupid to be here." "You should not be in this class." "If you get 40% you can stay in this class, no sorry, I have changed my mind you need to get 50% now because you came up 10%." This is what is happening in our schools.
6: You are not a social extrovert butterfly. You are a misfit. You are quiet and serious. You are often seen as too intense and are never invited to parties. You do not feel like you will ever meet anyone similar to you.
7: You are no good at sports. You lack the social "cudos" of fitting in to the whole set of what it seems really matters to fellow students.
8: Rules. Why are there so many rules? They are never explained. Many of them seem to create control for the sake of control.
9: Sitting still for far too long. They live for break time or yard time even from young ages. These people live for the sports pitch and only ever seem good there - but at least this leads to popularity.
10: Lack of expression. This even starts as young as 5. Sit down and be quiet. Sometimes as young as 7, you are battling not to be left as the only person in the class that has not received a "pen pass” and be the only one left using a pencil because you are "too stupid" to be allowed a pen. You will carry around the feeling forever that you cannot write. We will then wonder what "expand" really means on all of our essays for the rest of school life. What does this good mythical writing really look like?
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly.
This is why I keep our students doing a "play" program over the summer. There is no point undoing all the progress they have made in a few sort weeks of holidays!
In February 2009 I started a school, The Homework Club® as what I saw as my lab space in order to develop new teaching methods and understanding of learning. Since then through a number of projects these are the methods and theories that I have developed:
Purple Learning Project®: Understanding of setting up educational environments for all and working simultaneously with all learning styles, difficulties and conditions in the same room.
Purple Profiling™: Unique profiling methods to understand all learners and work effectively with them in the shortest time possible. Now expanded to all business employees and business situations. Focus is on success for each person.
Purple Development™: New development theory to understand patterns in education and to change the Educational Blueprint™. From this a new approach to education and a new focus on expression was developed, Expression Developist™.
The Periodic Table of the Development of Results™, Purple Success™: New unique method and theory to understand the individual elements to get successful results with all ages and individuals in the shortest time possible. Applied at all levels in education and all sized companies, situations and individuals globally.
Purple Processing Scales™: Understanding the individual learning styles and how they work in different situations. Which has lead on to a theory, The Pressure Cooker Effect™.
Purple Success Timescale™: Theory of the development moments in individuals from Child to Adult and their significance in dealing with situations. How Successful You Feel for Life™.
Diffuse Focus™: A new theory on the reasons behind ADD and ADHD. How to develop a new learning approach to accommodate these.
Forget Phonics Reading Method™: A new approach to teaching reading specifically for individuals with dyslexic spectrum reading difficulties. Typically a student can now learn to read and write in 4 weeks.
I have also put significant work in to developing specific programs to get successful results with students with Aspergers. I have developed a number of new programs for specific school issues such as the Primary to Secondary school Transition, Expression Club™ for dyslexic learners to keep them on top over summer months, Dyslexia organisation workshop, Maths Orientation studies for Dyscalculia, Supporting students at home with Aspergers through homework and a Purple Pre-School Success™ program to start dyslexic spectrum students ahead in reading and writing before school. I have currently been putting a lot of work into developing new theories for working with students with Auditory Processing Disorders and Dysgraphia.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly Expression Developist™
I was delighted that the kindle version of the ADHD book I'm part of was launched last week in the US - according to them I'm one of the experts with proven results they searched the planet for!
The great homework debate that I started in the Irish media on the 15th November rages on. Below is a link with the latest interview on the topic with Dereck Mooney on RTE radio 1 on Wednesday 23rd November.
I think there has been many interesting points raised during this debate. Including the fact that many teachers have responded saying that they in fact don't want to set large quantities of homework themselves. They only set work because they feel it is expected of them. By asking the quesiton - what is the point of homework? We have raised a great deal of thought and awareness into the topic of education in general.
From the perspective of the Purple Learning Project this has then by default gone on to question the way homework is being set? the type of work and in fact how do we learn? why do we do homework? what skills are we teaching? The debate has raised the point that we are still expecting to just "learn material off" in parrot fashion and that this doesn't suit the majority of students. Repetition doesn't mean success or effective skills for life. At The Homework CLub we promote inclusive very student centred classes where the students are so involved in participating in the subject that they get to really experience the topics at first hand. This means they take away a real understudying for the material, "We always remember what we do". Students don't need to go away and spend hours recreating the material or copying it. When it comes to revision they are simply refreshing their memories and they will do this in the manner that suits them best. It make be a visual mind-map, picture, cartoon or diagram. It may be a practical task with flash cards or play-dough or they could be watching a YouTube clip. Whatever the means it will be a way that matches their learning style.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly
Dr Naoisé O'Reilly has completed 10 Radio interviews in the last 3 days after the following article was published in the Irish Examiner
Here are some of the Radio Interviews of the debate that has been sparked on excessive homework and the point of homework.
"The Irish education system is stuck in a vortex and homework is actually creating bad habits for life in our nation’s children," said Dr Naoisé O’Reilly. [Irish Examiner November 15th 2011]
A clip from a radio interview on the Shaun Doherty Show this afternoon