I have really enjoyed the time I spent at Scoil Bhride in Galway, Ireland. My day seems to be particularly relaxed, making the time fly. It seems that the Irish school system is not run on pressing time-constraints and meeting state and national standards as much the American school system does. The teachers are given two breaks during the day. The morning break is a tea break, while the children get a short recess and the afternoon break is for lunch, while the children enjoy a longer recess. There are several leniencies in the curriculum. For example, the day after the Super Bowl my CT and I got into a discussion about American football vs. Gaelic football. Later that afternoon we discussed with the class the differences and similarities. It was particularly fun because I was able to show the students clips from the Super Bowl to explain American football and then the students showed clips and explained Gaelic football to me.
Another contrast between Irish schools and American schools is “specials”, as they are called in America. This includes out of the general classroom instruction for art, music, computers, and physical education. In Ireland, or at least at Scoil Bhride, these subjects are taught by the general education teacher. I can see the use in having teacher trained specifically in the field to teach these subjects. However, my CT creatively incorporates these subjects among others into his class curriculum. One example is how the students are taught religion through music. They love singing the songs, which means they all want to learn the lyrics. The lyrics are an effective way of telling religious stories.