Home > So how was school today? Report of a survey on how young people are taught and how they learn.

Ireland. Department of Children and Youth Affairs. (2017) So how was school today? Report of a survey on how young people are taught and how they learn. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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This report sets out the views of some 3,242 young people, aged 12 – 17 years, who responded to the survey from across the network of 31 Comhairle na nÓg youth councils. Comhairle na nÓg National Executive developed this survey in response to Comhairle members, who identified their top issue as the need for young people to have a stronger say on what happens in the classroom. The results are an important contribution to debates about education in Ireland.

These are key concerns:
• Exams are the biggest source of stress with 78% of leaving cert students and 81% of junior cert students reporting that exams make them feel stressed.
• Students prefer active learning yet only 30% agree that their teachers make learning interesting and fun. Examples of active learning include project work, role plays, quizzes and debates. Active learning also involves feedback from teachers.
• Students would like the teaching methods for mathematics, Irish and English to be improved. (These are listed in order of priority.)
• First year students tend to be most positive about their school experiences. Findings show that they have lower levels of stress and were more satisfied with levels of support relative to other years.
• Less than half of students are satisfied with the support services in their schools.
• Girls report more negative experiences of school than boys do

These results are in line with international research, and some of the findings demonstrate that we are not supporting the educational rights for young people set out in national and international legislation. The results also reflect concerns from previous research in Ireland about our exam-focused system with lower levels of student-centred and active-learning methods in schools. The survey indicates that this influences both student engagement and wellbeing.

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