“Wasn’t there a lot of fuss about remembering 1916 in schools for the last couple of months?” a friend, who is not a teacher, observed. Many of us have noticed that all over Ireland children have been coming home from school talking about the Easter Rising; schools organised concerts and other commemorative activities to mark the centenary. “How can schools justify spending so much time on one topic this year just because it’s 100 years since the Easter Rising?” the friend asked.
For someone who doesn’t know how teaching works, that might seem like a reasonable question, along the lines of why children spend so much time rehearsing for a school concert, training for a football league final, or preparing for sacraments in religious schools. Continue reading