Tuesday, March 28, 2017

William Trevor evening

As part of the College's Arts Week, on Thursday 23rd March we held an event to mark the life and writings of William Trevor, Old Columban.  The guest of honour was the novelist Joseph O'Connor (pictured), who talked about writing in general, and Trevor's writing in particular, after reading beautifully to the audience Trevor's great short story 'Another Christmas'.

This was preceded by a talk by Julian Girdham, Head of the English Department, on Trevor's connections with and writing about the College, which can be read here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

William Trevor Remembered


Tonight in the Big Schoolroom at 8pm, as part of the College's annual Arts Week, there will be an event to remember the great Old Columban novelist, William Trevor.  The novelist Joseph O'Connor will read one of Trevor's short stories and talk about him, and the Head of the English Department, Julian Girdham, will give an account of Trevor's writings about schools and the College in particular.  The event is open to the public, and there is no charge for entry.

If you haven't been to the College before, here are directions.

Here is Mira Stout's great interview with Trevor in the Paris Review in 1989.

Below, a fascinating interview with William Trevor by Mike Murphy on RTE in 2000.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Reading for Pleasure

Kenny Pieper's Reading for Pleasure in the 'How to Teach' is well-worth reading by all English teachers.  It's a pleasure to read a book so rooted in true commitment. And here is Kenny in an engaging Pivotal Podcast (number 146).

Some jottings:





'I take the act of reading for granted': Kenny's emphasis on those for whom this is not true is just what all (especially experienced?) English teachers need to bear in mind: we have a version of 'the curse of knowledge'.


The notion of what Donalyn Miller calls 'aliteracy', "a generation of kids who can read perfectly well but choose not to" is indeed a real challenge.


Kenny gives 10 minutes at the start of (most of) his classes over to reading. Well worth considering.


Plenty of more good practical ideas: the 'interest inventory', bookmark formats, dialogue journals, book speed-dating and much more, with interesting comments on the balance between e-readers such as the Kindle, and paper books.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

100 Books... from the TES

On World Book Day, here's a list for secondary pupils, courtesy of the TES.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Remembering William Trevor


The most distinguished Old Columban writer, William Trevor, died in November 2016, aged 88. The College will celebrate his achievements in an event during Arts Week which is open to all-comers. We are delighted that the novelist Joseph O'Connor, who is also the Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick, will read from and comment on Trevor's work. There will also be a short talk by the Head of the English Department and Sub-Warden Julian Girdham on William Trevor's connections with and writings about St Columba's.

All are welcome to attend this event, in the Big Schoolroom on Thursday 23rd March at 8pm, and to join us for a glass of wine afterwards. There is no charge for entry.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tom McConville

At half-term our Librarian, Tom McConville, leaves the College, and the English Department has particular reason to thank him for all his support over the years. This morning at a reception in the Lower Argyle the Warden thanked Tom for all his work, the Sub-Warden, as a former Librarian, paid tribute to him, and Tom himself gave a characteristically witty and insightful thank you response.

We wish Tom all the best for the future. A good way to see some of his legacy is by checking out so many editions of the excellent Library magazine, 'The Submarine'.

Pictured: the Sub-Warden, Richard Brett (College Librarian), Tom McConville, and the Warden.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SCC Book Club

The next choice for the pupils' Book Club is Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses, on Tuesday 7th March in the Library at 1.20pm. See Mrs Donnelly with any queries.

And on the topic of Book Clubs, the next choice is William Trevor's Reading Turgenev from Two Lives, for discussion on the evening of Tuesday 28th February (more here on William Trevor before long).

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Articles of the Week


This is an ongoing listing of links to the Articles of the Week used with our Leaving Certificate pupils, from September 2013 onwards.

The idea came from the American teacher and writer Kelly Gallagher, and it fits very well into the Leaving course, getting pupils used to reading interesting articles and thus helping them in both the comprehension and composition sections of their Paper 1, as well as expanding their knowledge base and vocabulary and providing interesting topics for discussion.

Click here for Gallagher's current articles, and read more about the theory behind the scheme in his excellent book Readicide: how schools are killing reading and what you can do about it. Pupils have to mark up the articles with annotations before class discussion.
  1. February 2017: 'Our roads are choked. We're on the verge of carmageddon' by George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 20th 2016 [environment, transport].
  2. January 2017: 'Girls believe brilliance is a male trait' by Nicola Davis, The Guardian, January 27th 2017.
  3. January 2017: 'What do teenagers want? Potted plant parents' by Lisa Damour, New York Times, December 14th 2016 [adolescence, parenting].
  4. November 2016: 'Trump makes it easy to vote for Her' by Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, November 6th 2016 [politics, America].
  5. October 2016: 'How being alone may be the key to rest' by Claudia Hammond, BBC, September 27th 2016 [rest, reading, introversion].
  6. September 2016: 'Why Parents are Getting Angrier' by Nicola Skinner, The Guardian, September 3rd 2016 [parenting, psychology, childhood].
  7. September 2016: 'Burkini beach ban: must French Muslim women become invisible?' by Delphine Strauss, The Irish Times, August 22nd 2016 [culture, Islam, France].
  8. May 2016: 'How can Lidl sell jeans for £5.99?' by Gethin Chamberlain, The Guardian, March 13th 2016 [economics, retailing, manufacture].
  9. April 2016: 'Teaching men how to be emotionally honest' by Anrew Reiner, New York Times, April 4th 2016 [gender, adolescence, masculinity].
  10. February 2016: 'Then and now: how things have changed for teenage girls since the 1950s' by Clare Furniss, The Guardian, January 29th 2016 [teenagers, gender, sexism].
  11. January 2016: 'Teenagers risk being defined for life by their social media posts' by Karlin Lilllington, Irish Times, January 14th 2016 [social media, teenagers, identity].
  12. January 2016: 'Welcome to the Anthropocene, a new geological era for the world', The Week, January 8th 2016 [geology, climate change, environment].
  13. November 2015: 'Birth Order Determines ... Almost Nothing' by Jeanne Safer, psychologytoday.com [psychology, parenting, childhood].
  14. November 2015: 'How psychopaths can save your life' by Kevin Dutton, The Observer [psychology].
  15. November 2015: '10 benefits of reading: why you should read every day' by Lana Winter-Hebert, Lifehack.org [reading, entertainment, education].
  16. October 2015: 'How much can you really learn while you're asleep?' by Jordan Gaines Lewis, The Guardian, October 6th 2015 [neuroscience, learning, adolescence].
  17. September 2015: 'Fifth of secondary school pupils wake almost every night to use social media' by Sally Weale, The Guardian, September 15th 2015 [social media, learning, teenagers].

Monday, February 06, 2017

Junior Poetry Prize, 2017

The theme for this year is: e n e r g y

life… power… speed… fossil fuels… electricity… muscle… heart… physics… biology… wind turbines… dynamo… joules…movement... drive...
 

Any interpretation of the theme ‘energy’ is welcome!
 

Poems should be fourteen lines or more. Entrants can enter as many poems as they wish. 

Please email your poem(s) to Ms Smith, or hand them to your English teacher by Wednesday 29 March 2017.

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

First Form Public Speaking Competition

The annual First Form public speaking competition took place today, and Ms Smith writes:

"We are grateful to Cathy Boobbyer who judged this year's speeches. Eight courageous finalists spoke on topics as various as tropical animals, Syrian refugees, robots, the dangers of gaming, and the importance of failure. 


There were four winners: 4th place went to Peter Taylor with his brave speech about Anxiety. In joint 2nd place were Guy Fitzgibbon and Tom Casey. Guy made an arresting address about robot invasions, and Tom Casey spoke about forms of discrimination in our world. 


First place went to Emma Hinde for her engaging, carefully constructed speech about artificial intelligence (AI). She certainly made us all think. Something robots could be doing very soon... "

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Submarine, January 2017

The latest edition of the Library magazine, The Submarine, is out, and it is a special one, since our Librarian, Mr McConville, moves to pastures new next month. His creation and editing of this excellent magazine has been one of the highlights of his time here, especially his elegant and amusing editorials. Read it via Issuu below (click on the arrows to navigate, and again to zoom in).

The edition includes 'A Russian Christmas' by Anastasia Danilova,  a review of Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy by Nevin McCone, another by Catherine Butt of Lauren Gruff's Fates and Furies, an account of Olive Mooney's recent launch of her book The Curse of Helbizia in the BSR by Avi Johnston, a short story by Daisy McKeever, a version of Isabelle Townshend's TY House Speech on 9/11, another session of 'What's Reading Me', and the major part of the production, the completion of John Somerville-Large's series of articles on the architectural development of the College (including, of course, the Library itself, which he designed).
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Senior English Prize 2017

Congratulations to Douglas Boyd Crotty, winner of this year's Senior English Prize, for his coherent and well-argued essay on the refugee crisis. Distinctions and book tokens for the best performers in Forms go to Callum Pery-Knox-Gore (VI), Richard Gao (V), James O'Connor (IV) and Casper v Schulenberg (IV).