Pilot Project 2013-2014: 3 Primary Schools in Co. Westmeath
This course has already been taught to all staff of three primary schools in Co Westmeath. This pilot project ran from October 2013 to June 2014 and with amazing results. Sharp rises in weekly spelling tests (English and Irish!) and maths tests were seen within a few short weeks. There have been ‘phenomenal’ results in long term spelling tests. In fact the system has now become an intrinsic part of one of the school’s whole teaching approach with the result of a calmer environment and happier pupils. In the YouTube videos to the side of the page, you can see what staff and students from the school have to say about it now that it has been used for 3 years
Sé McCarthy, Principal St Joseph’s National School, Rathwire, Co Westmeath
‘Empowering Learning is here to stay!’
Schools Trained in 2016
Sheila Ryan, Principal Saint Brigid’s National School, Ticknevin, Co. Kildare.
We became very interested in Empowering Learning after hearing about it from a local school. We are a small staff, with regular communication between classroom teachers and support teachers. A constant challenge for us was improving results of children with specific learning difficulties, particularly those for whom phonics was not working. We had tried a number of approaches and programmes, none of which we found to be effective. We decided, with the support of the Board of Management, to invest in training for our resource teacher and I. We began using the methodologies as soon as we returned to school. We were amazed at how quickly children took to the new system and at the results they were achieving in such a short space of time. What was most rewarding about it was that children themselves recognised that they were improving and were confident about their own learning, making learning an enjoyable and relaxed experience for them. We found that the methods worked best with children who were experiencing the most difficulty with spelling and word recognition due to a diagnosis of dyslexia. What we found most appealing about the programme, was that it was very simple to implement, it was in fact a methodology that fit into your day in the classroom, rather than extra work for the teacher to do. The rest of our staff was so impressed with the results that they saw, that they expressed interest in being trained also. They completed the Jumpstart Training, and so Empowering Learning is now being implemented in all our classrooms.
We are seeing astounding results in classrooms, and grounding leads to a more relaxed atmosphere in classrooms and around the school. We have found, however, that it does not work for all children. The children to whom spelling comes easy, prefer their own methods of learning to spell and this is fine also. We have struggled over the past number of years as a staff to come up with an effective method of teaching spelling rather than relying on spelling workbooks and phonics which were proving ineffective for a number of children. We have attended a number of workshops and courses on the topic of spelling and have had a number of staff meetings on the topic. When teaching spelling using Empowering Learning Methods, I know that this is how spelling should be taught. We hope to further implement the methods into the future and look forward to seeing the longer term results.
Aideen O Mahoney, Principal Clohanes NS, Co Clare
I have found that grounding works very well for all children. It is particularly useful when starting off work in the morning and after break times when the children can be a little giddy or unsettled after break times. The children themselves have commented on how calm the classroom is after we use it. I have also started to let the children talk us through the grounding.
Going to swimming lesson one of our Junior infants was worried that she would sink to the bottom when she was swimming as she knew she would be swimming without her armbands that day. She said to her Mum, I know I’ll do my grounding and I’ll blow out my worries about sinking to the bottom!!
I have used visualising for spellings, maths, geography, (learning counties). I have one child who would have dyslexic tendencies and has difficulty with spelling, it has done wonders for her. It makes remembering spelling easier for her. Another child in fifth class who is very bright all round but can have a difficulty with spelling has really taken to it. Her mums comment to me was.. “This visualising is amazing, she can even spell the words backwards now”
Michelle uses grounding and visualising in Junior room. She’s using it for spellings and maths tables and has found it very helpful for both. One senior infant has a difficulty with phonics, he knows all his individual sounds but cannot blend his words. He is finding it easier to learn his words by visualising.
We have a child with Down Syndrome in second class. His first time writing any word from memory was since we started using visualising with him.
We are delighted that we did the Jumpstarting course and can already see the benefits it has for the children’s learning.
We are always looking for schools that are looking for new and innovative ways of improving the literacy and numeracy levels in their schools. If this sounds like your kind of school, please call me on +353 (0) 860775452 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and details of in-school training.