What Underpins Educational Achievement?

Well, if audience participation is any measure of interest and engagement, this subject is close to the hearts of many people right now. More than fifty key decision makers from education and related fields attended a very lively evening in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra for the IUSA Education Committee event on Wednesday 18th April.

Dr Pauric Travers President of St Patrick’s College was the master of ceremonies for the event which was hosted by the College. Dr Ruby Payne is visiting Ireland from the United States and her speaking engagements include addressing 400 disadvantaged area school principals at the National Educational Welfare Board Conference in Croke Park. Ruby gave an engaging and entertaining presentation with many examples from her experiences of directly engaging with learners and teachers in the United States and around the world. She spoke about the importance of the size of the student’s vocabulary and the use of different registers, formal and informal on learning styles and the successful engagement with school and college.

Dr Paul Downes Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre responded giving the Irish context. He outlined some of the evidence base and research theory which informs the evolving understanding of the issue. He also spoke about the other factors underpinning educational achievement, such as the effect of hunger and nutrition on student concentration, and the opportunity that exists to link the commitment of the State to the development of young people’s mental well being services with the provision of education services.

After many insightful questions and interesting responses the Q&A session was reluctantly brought to a close. Thanking all those involved, Declan Dunne Chair of the IUSA Education Committee commented that it was obvious from the audience engagement that it had been a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting event. Audience members and speakers stayed on at the reception for quite some time to continue their conversations and make many useful connections which will be followed up in the future.

By Declan Dunne, Education Committee