Development Education Week in Maynooth

We’re off to Maynooth this morning to take part in Development Education Week – an annual week of activities, seminars and training sessions packaged together for student teachers completing the professional diploma in education (PDip or PDE) for teaching at post primary level in Ireland.

Many people typically view DE as an ‘add on’ that requires extra work outside of the official curriculum. Surely the goals of the curriculum and the goals of DE are not aligned…are they? The Dev Ed Week NUIM website unpacks this issue further:

We live in a world characterised by injustices. Issues of global inequality are difficult ones for which there are rarely simple answers. This component of the PDE course is based on the belief that education for world democracy, for human rights and for sustainable human development are central concerns for the school curriculum. Indeed, education has a vital role to play an advancing the international development agenda. Therefore, all teachers deserve opportunities to consider the world through the eyes and ears of the victims of global injustice. Furthermore, they deserve support in incorporating such perspectives into their everyday classroom teaching, irrespective of their subject areas.

The particular perspective on education fostered by ‘Development Education’ is one that sees students as active agents in their own learning. A critical, questioning approach is favoured over one that might tell them what to think or even one that dramatises the horrors of poverty and famine. Methodologies associated with ‘Development Education’ tend to be active and so are of real practical benefit to students in a wide variety of education settings.

Of course, it goes without saying that these features: promoting concern, empathy and a sense of responsibility towards others; encouraging student autonomy and developing approaches that are active, critical and questioning are also features of good teaching generally. Thus, the ‘Development Education’ component is an essential, integral and compulsory part of the PDE course.

Dev Ed Week NUIM, clearly, has a strong presence within the PDip as an integrated portion of the course for a number of years.

A fantastic innovation of the week has been in featuring classes from Junior Cycle, Transition year and Senior Cycle levels presenting their DE projects to the student teachers.

For those curious about such things information on the speakers, programme activities and blogs can be found at

You can follow the week on Twitter at @devednuim and Tweets at #deved13