It’s that time of year again! Primary School Teachers up and down the country are scanning the
pages of InTouch magazine and
scrolling online to find a Summer Course to secure the much-loved EPV days.
Over the course of my teaching career, I have completed many, many of these Summer Courses. In the beginning, the only option was face-to-face courses, but gradually, online courses have appeared and grown in popularity. My preference for a Summer Course will always be face-to-face, however, childcare difficulties, and now COVID, have meant that I have completed quite a few online ones too.
Of the face-to-face courses that I have completed, I can’t name a single one that was not enjoyable, or beneficial to my teaching. These include:
· Aistear – Play, Literacy and Numeracy
· Visual Arts
· Making Phonics Fun!
· Circle Time
· SEN with HSE Child Development Team
· Let the Children Sing!
I cannot say the same for the online courses.
I will share my thoughts on some of the ones I have completed. It may help anyone trying to make a decision!
If I were to recommend one online course for any teacher, it would be this one. The course is delivered by Gina Cullen, author of ‘Tin Whistle Made Simple’. Each participant is sent a tin whistle and Gina’s two books by post.
For each module, you have the option of completing a written assignment, or uploading a recording of yourself playing one of the course tunes on your new tin whistle. I know some people are not keen on the written assignments, so this course is a great alternative when you can’t attend a face-to-face course.
Overall, the content is extremely useful for any teacher who would like to teach the tin whistle to children, or even just to learn themselves.
I had a particular interest in this course as the Jolly Music programme is based on the Hungarian method of teaching music, which I studied during my Erasmus in Hungary many years ago. There was a lot of history and theory included in the course, which might put some people off, but is relevant to anyone with a particular interest in music education.
The Jolly Music programme was very appealing to me, and course participants got sent Book 1 by post. I went on to purchase the Interactive Whiteboard version of it to use in my class. I did use the programme with my Senior Infant class the following year, and while I could appreciate the merits of the scheme, I gave up on it half way through the year. It just wasn’t for me. I needed more freedom and variety in my music teaching.
I completed this course concurrently with a face-to-face Aistear course in my local Education Centre. Being completely honest, was no comparison between the two. I was actually quite shocked at how poor the CPD course was in terms of approach and content. The face-to-face course was absolutely enlightening for me in terms of learning and valuing the importance of child-led play. The online course placed little-to-no emphasis on child-led play, and even had some resources included that went against the very nature of it.
I completed this course in 2018. It may or may not have changed in that time, but even so, this type of course is more suited to in-person learning than online.
This course would be beneficial to teachers in an SET role, or in school that either has a full class set of Numicon resources or plans to buy one. I can see the benefits of Numicon, and the course outlined them well, but without a class set of the resources, I was unable to make any use of the course content.
I completed this course last summer. I cannot say enough good things about this course. It was jam-packed full of relevant, up-to-date research, information, tips and ideas. There are modules on Play (this could have been an entire course in itself), Literacy, Handwriting, and Classroom Organization and Management. If you are teaching infants, then this is the course for you.
I am not affiliated with any of the companies or courses mentioned in this post. All views are my own and have not been influenced by any outside parties.