SPOTLITE - Implementing Meaningful Student Voice & Participation within Schools
The St. Aidan's Community School SPOTLITE Programme
The St. Aidan's Community School SPOTLITE Programme (Student Perspectives On Teaching & Learning In The Educational Space) has been in the making for several years but was rolled out during the 2022/23 school year.
It gives schools an opportunity to capture and articulate the student perspective on Learning and Teaching through voluntary lesson observation and dialogue between students/learners and teachers throughout.
- In phase one of the programme, students visited 6 different lessons. They formulated 6 areas of importance and produced a report that highlighted 6 agreed areas of observable highly effective practice. There is no element of evaluation or problem finding. It is a shared conversation with a mutual mission to find agreed examples best practice in pedagogy.
- In phase two of the programme, Students presented their findings to all school staff at a school meeting and a commitment was given by staff to employ and implement the recommendations.
- In phase three of the programme, students have begun a fresh round of classroom visits and have also presented their findings and model to new staff members in the school as part of their induction programme. At the moment students are seeking funding and partnership to produce a manual and roll out the programme in like-minded educational settings.
- The Programme has been widely lauded in Ireland and abroad. Students and staff have presented at national and international symposiums and webinars. The programme is bring trialled and discussed in Singapore and New Zealand.
- The department of Education inspectorate have made enquiries towards a broader implementation and various universities have begun negotiations concerning evaluation and study.
- Kevin and Shane have had many requests to present on the programme in Ireland and abroad.
The SPOTLITE programme would not have taken the form it has without being heavily influenced by the child participation model devised by Professor Laura Lundy, where Space, Voice, Audience and Influence are essential components. We are also indebted to Professor Lundy for her support, encouragement and advice regarding the programme over the past year.
Shane Casey is a post primary teacher of English and Classical Studies at St. Aidan’s Community School Brookfield. A native of Crumlin in Dublin, he completed his undergraduate degree and his Postgraduate Masters in Education at UCD. He is also an alumna of NUI Maynooth where completed the Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership. Shane is director of student participation and Student Council coordinator at St. Aidan’s, he also oversees the schools AR literacy programme which was awarded a PDST well read national award in 2023.As assistant principal, he has responsibility for 2nd year students.
Shane is an executive committee member representing post primary on the Literacy Association of Ireland. As an educator he believes that full student participation though meaningful student voice is a key factor in educational improvement for all stakeholders in schools. As one of the founding developers of the SPOTLITE programme, Shane set out with like-minded students and staff to demonstrate the enormous potential in education when schools endeavour to capture and articulate the student perspective on Learning and Teaching through voluntary lesson observation and dialogue between students/learners and teachers throughout.Shane understands how radical the notion is of students visiting, observing lessons and engaging is professional discussion afterwards may seem, however, he says: “Students do this all the time, the opinions are there, the learning is available, all we have done is provide the space and structure and created the opportunity to listen, discover how much students can teach us as educators and adapt accordingly”.
Kevin Shortall is principal of St. Aidan’s Community School Brookfield, Tallaght. He grew up around 3 miles from the school, was an early school leaver and never imagined he would go to college or eventually become a teacher. This continues to have a lasting influence of the kind of educator his aims to be. He went back to complete his leaving cert 4 years later in Pearse College Crumlin, he then went on to Mater Dei to do his teaching degree. Since then he has competed a Masters degree in Education in Maynooth University and Postgraduate studies in school leadership at University of Limerick. During his teaching career, Kevin was seconded to the SPHE support service, worked as HSCL for 6 years and was Deputy Principal of nearby Old Bawn Community School for 4 and a half years until his return as Principal to St. Aidan’s C.S. which he described as the time as like ‘coming home’.
|22-02-2024 7:00 pm
|22-02-2024 8:00 pm
|Cut off date
|22-02-2024 12:00 pm
|Shane Casey & Kevin Shortall