The Teaching Council launches FÉILTE 2020: “Collaborating to Connect: Empathy with our Communities”
Former president Mary Robinson to deliver keynote interview
FÉILTE, the largest educational event in Ireland, is taking place online for the first time on Saturday, 3 October from 10.30am to 4.30pm, the Teaching Council has announced.
Monday, 28 September - FÉILTE (the Festival of Education in Learning and Teaching Excellence) gives teachers the opportunity to collaborate and share their work with each other and with the wider public. Details of the event were launched today by Minister for Education Norma Foley, T.D., together with the Teaching Council’s Chair, Seán McMahon, and Director, Tomás Ó Ruairc.
Minister Foley commented: “I am very proud of our teachers and our school communities for continuing to carry out their work in difficult circumstances during the current pandemic crisis. The teaching profession is highly collaborative, caring and interpersonal, so the closure of schools earlier this year affected them greatly. However, with resilience and forbearance they developed novel ways to maintain connections and deliver effective teaching and learning for their learners. As we commence a new school year, teachers have again risen to the challenge in the successful reopening of our schools bringing a sense of normality back to the lives of children and young people in our school communities. With this in mind I warmly welcome the return of FÉILTE this year, with its new and innovative format which is representative of the immense contribution and adaptability of the teaching profession.”
Now in its eighth year, FÉILTE provides a unique platform for teachers to share innovative teaching and learning practices, and to network with each other and the public. In response to government guidelines, FÉILTE will be online, opening the full event to a global audience.
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and keynote speaker, said: “As a lifelong advocate for learning, social justice and sustainability, I am honoured to have been asked to deliver the keynote interview at FÉILTE 2020. Innovation has always been an essential pathway for education. With Covid-19, as school buildings closed, teachers responded to the crisis with creativity and compassion.
“Now as schools reopen, the challenges of equity, social justice and innovation are more acute than ever. I am delighted to see how teachers are once again responding to these challenges. FÉILTE recognises the value and vocation of teachers within society.
“I warmly congratulate The Teaching Council on FÉILTE 2020. Held online, FÉILTE will be a great national collaboration among teachers and communities of education, in the circumstances of Covid-19. We have much to discuss.”
Seán McMahon, Chairperson of The Teaching Council, added: “Since its inception, FÉILTE has evolved as a truly sharing and collaborative event, characterised by energy, enthusiasm and empowerment. This year going online has meant that the collective professional harvest of our school communities is the biggest ever with over 2,000 registered attendees. Even though we may be physically apart, we are in fact together in our commitment and dedication and in our passion for teaching and learning. Perhaps most importantly, we are together in recognising, acknowledging and applauding our collective professional contribution as teachers to our wonderful young people, our communities, our society and our country. I wish to express my admiration for the manner in which our teaching profession has risen to the unprecedented challenges which Covid has presented. With World Teachers’ Day on Monday, 5 October, the timing of this years FÉILTE is also most opportune.”
The Main Stage will host the keynote event, where Ms. Robinson will deliver the opening address and will share insights in conversation with Tomás Ó Ruairc, director of the Teaching Council.
Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director of The Teaching Council, added: “FÉILTE is a celebration! It provides a space for teachers that recognises and celebrates all that they do every day for their students, inside and outside the classroom. The last six months have shown that while it may take a village to raise a child, it takes a nation, working together, to educate our children. That said, we need time away from work to recoup and rejuvenate. FÉILTE offers an opportunity for teachers simply to be, to come together and acknowledge their role in the community, and to have that role acknowledged and celebrated.”
Innovation within teaching and learning is core to the FÉILTE experience. The Teaching Council has taken the physical elements of FÉILTE and placed them on a virtual platform, allowing attendees to enjoy all aspects of the festival, including the ability to network with each other in a digital lobby.
The popular ‘meets’ – collaborative sessions focusing on certain themes and topics – will continue in an online format this year. Sessions include ResearchMeet, LeadershipMeet (facilitated by the Centre for School Leadership), and TeachMeet. Additionally, there will be a panel discussion between school leaders and Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in StudentMeet, where they will offer advice and discuss queries that student teachers may have.
The 45 Showcases – which display a multitude of projects by teachers covering a range of themes including wellbeing, cross-curricular, STEM, inclusion, collaborative practice and more – will also be available online in a virtual format via a tailor-made Expo area.
There will also be a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Teaching and learning during a pandemic: opportunities and challenges’, probing the learnings and of this most turbulent year and discussing the new reality of the next academic year under Covid-19.
Finally, a fun, collaborative entertainment piece featuring Paul Harrington with students, teachers and parents will also be hosted on the Main Stage.
FÉILTE has always celebrated the innovation of teachers, but since the lockdown in March, teachers have truly shown their responsiveness and innovation by transforming the learning and education environment to support their students.
The event is open to teachers and the general public. Join us to celebrate teaching!
The FÉILTE Innovation Report, covering FÉILTE 2019, can be found here.
Tickets are free and now on general release and available at https://hopin.to/events/feilte2020
Full programme is accessible here https://hopin.to/events/feilte2020