Wednesday 28th June

Local Theme: NCI Professional Development

14.00 – 17.00                Workshop in CRILT/Exec 1

Workshop by Teresa Whitaker based on the newly launched A Handbook and Tool Kit for Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Independent Higher Education Institutions in Ireland

Today more than ever, students of all ages are attending college to achieve higher qualifications and fulfil their work and life goals. The independent higher education sector continues to change and evolve in response to these needs. Yet despite numerous innovations in policy, infrastructure and technology there is still one simple truth that underpins our education system; it is that the quality of learning depends essentially on the quality of teaching.

Teaching and learning is what we do, it is at the heart of the college experience and there is no substitute for a fully resourced, accomplished teacher to encourage, guide and assess student attainment. Teaching in higher education, whether full-time or part-time, can and should be a life-enhancing, enjoyable and rewarding occupation. As educational institutions strive to provide high quality programmes, they face the challenge of recruiting the brightest and the best teachers. Higher education teachers need to be experts in their chosen field but they also need to quickly acquire the specialist skills and knowledge required for effective teaching. This is especially the case for part-time teachers who bring valuable experience from wider contexts into college classrooms.

This is why A Handbook and Tool Kit for Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Independent Higher Education Institutions in Ireland is such a valuable resource. It serves as a companion for college teachers to accompany their professional development journey. It provides the most up-to-date understanding of age old insights. Underpinning the entire work is an appreciation of central role of scholarly reflection and portfolio development as a means of teacher professional enhancement.

Teresa Whitaker has put together a comprehensive collection of resources and tied these to tools and connections to open our thinking. Placed at the heart of this resource, is an exercise on the development of one’s own ‘Personal Philosophy of Teaching’. It is an engaging and challenging exercise that serves as a compass point for all of us. In the maelstrom of technical and managerial approaches to teaching and learning, it is all too easy to overlook important qualities such as well-being, care, equality and inclusion.

International Theme – Questions on education in a ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’

8.30 – 16.00                Field trip to Glendalough, Co. Wicklow

Ireland was once known as the ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’. The reputation derives from pre-medieval times when Ireland’s literary and monastic tradition stood apart during centuries of turmoil in European following the demise the Roman Empire.

Borrowing from this phrase, we ask several questions to challenge our implicit assumptions as educators. In the ‘saintly’ tradition, education is suggestive of models of perfection and predefined knowledge to be ordered and acquired. On the other hand, the ‘scholar’ tradition may imply knowledge as enticing and elusive; that which must be pursued through questions and discourse. Where do we stand on these positions?

There are also enduring questions on the interplay between religion and education. The history of Irish education largely comprises the history of religious involvement in education and the ramifications are still experienced today.

America has had its own issues with religion and education. The Great School Debates of the 19th century, brought to the fore by Irish immigration, provide a lens on the development of secular, public schools in the United States.

See for further information on Glendalough


Lough Tay (also referred to as Guinness Lake)






Glendalough Monastic Site