The great homework debate continues

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.

Interview with Derek Mooney on RTE radio 1

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly




What is the Purple Learning Project?

This is a short clip from the Aspire workshop held 11-11-11 at Independent colleges Dublin on parents support their children at home.

In this live setting I talk about what the purple learning project really means and the impacts I hope it will have on the future of the school environment.

The Purple Learning Project

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly





Links to Radio interviews on the debate of excessive homework

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]

Galway Bay FM

The last word with Matt Copper Today FM

Newstalk The Right Hook

Highland Radio Donegal

Kfm Radio interview with Clam Ryan

C103 fm with Patricia Messenger

Midwest Radio with Tommy Marren

Clare fm with Ed Myers




Is Homework pointless? The debate has begun across the national media this morning

A clip from a radio interview on the Shaun Doherty Show this afternoon


Extract from the ASPIRE workshop November 14th


The Purple Learning Project is far beyond the homework workbook explains Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly

Watch this short clip from the recent Aspire workshop on supporting students at home with Aspergers and Autism.

Embracing the Purple Learning Project as a way of working


Award Winning Academic Doctor Calls For Investigation Into Excessive Homework Levels In Irish Primary & Second Level Schools

Irish Press Coverage:


November 2011.


Award Winning Academic Doctor Calls For Investigation Into Excessive Homework Levels In Irish Primary & Second Level Schools


‘’The Irish education system is stuck in a vortex & homework is actually creating bad habits for life in our Nation’s children,’’ according to Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly, a Dublin based International Educational Facilitator.


Dr. O’Reilly believes that there’s an endless cycle of parents out there who just expect their children to be given homework & this in turn leads to teachers prescribing massive amounts of homework - like a useless drug.  She added that, ‘perhaps parents should start asking the question... how does doing homework help you get on in life?’


‘’There are far more creative & effective ways for young people to retain important facts & information & extensive research in this field at home & abroad has led me to discover that homework is a pointless exercise that is eroding Irish family life with family time & even weekends being eaten into as a result.  In the workplace it’s not advisable to bring your work home... so why are our children being taught to bring work home for the duration of their school years?’’ said Dr. O’Reilly.


Existing Junior & Leaving Cert study plan material lacks any resemblance of a cohesive structure & I’m afraid it’s a case of every teacher for themselves.  The question must be asked... why are exam students being made to do homework on top of exam study?


People with learning difficulties eg. Dyslexia, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyspraxia, Visual & Hearing Impairments generally work 3 times harder than fellow students.  So from about 6 or 7 their parents are under huge strain to support them through the educational process.  There are examples of parents actually doing their homework for them just so they won’t get into trouble in the system.


Incorporate learning styles for the multiply personalities

One of the most important elements of the Purple learning method is how we can teach a wide variety of people with different aptitudes and personalities in a way that suits them all. We often spend too much time focuses on what people can't do or are not good at or what learning difficulty they have rather than just looking for the best way forward for each personal student.

This simple diagram shows how we can take the 16 personality types from Myers Briggs (MBTI) and the 8 Multiply Intelligence's (Gardner) and combine these all in 4 simple learning styles, Visual, Practical, Auditory and Kinaesthetic.

So a practical learner for example is the sort of person that gets a new techno gizmo and never reads the instructions, they simply start to play with their new phone and work it out! In the same way in a class room they need to be able to take everything apart. They are more likely to learn the alphabet by making the actual letters in play-dough or they will remember the accents in French because these were done in a different colour play-dough. At The Homework Club I have always encouraged all the teachers to think about teaching everything from English to Physics and Biology in this simple way. If we look at some of the personality types we find that people who are sensing need to be able to explore a topic and if they are extrovert and sensing they will need to do this in a group with others to interact with. We can work through all the personality types to look at their strengths, some are naturally drawn towards organisation and structure while others are not. If we then look at some of the learning difficulties we can see patterns on how say dyslexics and students with Asperger tend to be predominately visual learners. We see quite often that students on the Autism spectrum love repetition.

In later articles I will go into these details more fully. I simply wanted to start to introduce the topic here that is such an important element of the Purple Learning Project method. So the balance for all classes here is to create an environment and often groups within the classes so that everyone's aptitudes and personalities can be balanced. The teachers present the material in a number of novel ways to the students. We have mentioned play-dough above, they also use dvd's and YouTube for the auditory learners. They devise simple games so the kinaesthetic learners can interact with the topics. They devise classes that the students have a great deal of practical involvement, there is always change happening every 10 to 15 minutes. We try to create pictures and use art to teach topics such as languages, written expression and the sciences. We encourage the use of brainstorming to build up material in a visual way.

This is how we can very simply incorporate so many different students with different needs into the environment and allow them to all express themselves to their true potential. By being able to do this the students continue to develop and grow in confidence. Everyone loves and needs to be able to learn. We all very simply need to feel liked and able to be who we naturally are.



What is the Purple Learning Project?


"To promote our research and successful learning methods for all students and to make school a happier, creative, more successful and enjoyable place for all students, regardless of their differences"

An outreach programme from The Homework Club

The Homework Club was founded in February 2009 with the sole purpose of developing a new inclusive learning environment for all students.

A very small percentage of students go through school without any difficulties. We currently have students with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Asperger, Hearing impairments, Expression disorders, ADD and ADHD. There are many other conditions that may affect students such as family difficulties, various medical conditions and confidence. As we only currently have one centre based in Blanchardstown, students travel great distances to attend the school, from the south side of Dublin to as far as Co. Meath and Co. Kildare. All of these combine to give us a very diverse student intake. In doing this we offer an education service to a sector of students that currently fall through the existing education system for a wide variety of reasons and who are not catered for by other second level tuition, grind or cram schools.

As a dyslexic myself it has been important to me from the being that everything we do is inclusive and that the teaching methods suit all learners. I didn’t want to create a “special” school where students felt limited. As the project has developed what this has meant in real terms is that we take students from the ages of six right thought to repeat leaving certificate with a holistic approach to education and tailor the teaching styles, content and classes to suit each individual student relying on their strengths. The students learn the coping skills for life with us and go on to succeed in whatever dreams they hold.

The Purple Learning Project now has the potential to take our successful learning methods outside of our development centre to education establishments and students everywhere. The time has come for us to fulfil our own dreams.

Please do contact us with any enquires or requests. We will be happy to set an appointment to meet.

The Homework Club:
Shortlisted NNI Regional AD of the year 2010
O2 Ability Status 2010
Best Small Business D15 Chamber 2010
Best New Startup Business D15 Chamber 2009

Purple Learning Project:
Short-listed Innovation in Business excellence award Fingal Chamber 2011

Services offered:
consultancy and workshop facilitation for all educationalists

[email protected]



Welcome to the Purple Learning Project.

The aim of the Purple Learning Project Foundation is to create a legacy of the methods which Dr Naoisé O’Reilly has developed since 2009.

The methods in learning and personality theory have been developed while working with people of a variety of ages, backgrounds, and cultures. The methods have been applied to the education, business and sporting environments. The ages are in the spectrum of 4 to 70's. The methods include: Purple Profiling, Purple Processing Scales, The Periodic Table of the Development of Results, Forget Phonics Reading Method, Purple Pre-School Success and so on...

There has always been a clear distinction for Dr Naosié in working with people who currently need help within the system and leaving behind something of integrity for the future generations.