21 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork training charity, Ag Eisteacht, has responded to a need for further continuous professional development for teachers during the Covid-19 health crisis by providing on-line learning opportunities for primary and post primary teachers and SNAs.
Under a joint initiative with Cork Education Support Centre (CESC), Ag Eisteacht is piloting its on-line training programme with a free and facilitated on-line screening of Resilience, a documentary about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), on Thursday 23rd April 2020 from 3pm – 5pm.
As with all of its screenings of the documentary, Ag Eisteacht will place the findings of the documentary into an Irish context, and Dr Maeve Hurley, founder of Ag Eisteacht, will facilitate a group discussion immediately afterwards. During this time of social distancing, this will be done via Zoom.
Dr Hurley said:
“Checking in with everyone after the documentary is important so it is great that on-line technology can support us in this and we look forward to exploring interventions by teachers and the wider school community that might buffer the impact of ACES and toxic stress”.
The two-hour, certified on-line training session is suitable for CPD purposes, in line with the Government’s Croke Park Hours agreement, and there is no charge for participants.
A key message in the documentary is that people who have experienced adversity in childhood are not irrevocably damaged – there is hope. By being ACE aware, teachers can act as a buffer or be ‘that one good adult’ for those who have experienced or are experiencing ACEs.
Dr Hurley said:
“Our aim is to raise awareness of the potential impact of ACES on children’s learning and development and to support schools’ response to ACEs. The Resilience documentary may help teachers to understand some of the behaviours they see at school could be due to toxic stress or ACEs. Wondering about what has happened to someone rather than what is wrong with them is a first step towards compassionate communication and engagement.
“Our goal at Ag Eisteacht is, as always, to ensure that teachers have the support, skills and insight to respond in a sensitive and focused manner when someone turns to them for support. ”
Niamh Ní Mhaoláin, director of CESC said
“We are absolutely delighted that the Ag Eisteacht team has facilitated this screening because teachers needs every support possible during this time. This information on ACES will help schools to think further about how they can be trauma sensitive and to continue their own professional development at a time when they are focusing all of their time and energy in supporting their pupils and students through this difficult time.”
Ag Eisteacht is currently preparing to offer its five other short workshops for schools on-line to support teachers further in their work. These include ‘An introduction to managing conflict in the school community’ and ‘Building resilience – putting on one’s own oxygen mask first.’
Details of all on-line training offers can be found on the CESC website www.cesc.ie