RTÉ and Abbey Theatre to help train teachers
The Abbey Theatre, RTÉ and Dublin's Science Gallery are among the leading institutions coming on board to help train teachers for the new Junior Cycle.
The teaching and learning of every subject is undergoing a massive overhaul as part of the new approach, geared towards equipping students with the broad range of skills required for modern workplaces and life.
The Department of Education's Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), a dedicated professional development (CPD) support service, is leading the training programme - but it is teaming up with several external partners to bring fresh perspectives to its work.
The range and scale of such collaborations are unprecedented in teacher professional development in Ireland.
Junior cycle changes are aimed at encouraging pupils to be creative, think for themselves, problem-solve and apply their learning to new situations.
One focus will be on developing oral communication skills, with students required to make classroom-based presentations as part of the assessment process.
Bringing in the expertise of partners such as the Abbey Theatre will play a crucial role in preparing teachers to nurture such skills in their pupils.
As well as the Abbey, other institutions with which teachers of English can choose to undergo training will include the Irish Film Institute, the National Youth Drama Association and Tenderfoot, a school theatre programme.
The Abbey workshops will run in arts centres in a number of locations, introducing teachers to different learning spaces, while also helping to build links between schools and the arts world.
RTÉ radio's award-winning 'Documentary on One' programme will also be involved, as it is preparing resources for use in classrooms.
As English is the first of the junior cycle subjects to undergo change as part of the reform process, much of the current focus is on partnerships with organisations relevant to this field.
Next September, schools will also have the option of introducing short courses, including one in artistic performance, where such teacher training will also prove invaluable.
Other JCT partners include the Science Gallery at Trinity College, in preparation for changes coming in other subjects.