Adult Learner Star – My Learning Journey
I started my school life in Presentation Convent Warrenmount in 1937, I had spent one year in Whitefiars Street School and transferred to Warrenmount when we moved house. When I joined Mother Agnes was the Principal and I recall my first teacher was Sr. Dymphna, I was also taught in primary school by Sr. Cecilia, and Sr. Aloysius. My first memory was the decision to introduce a school uniform which I was proud to wear. First communion day was a big occasion, we all dressed in our white dresses and walked from the school to St Nicholas of Myra church in Francis Street and then back to the school for tea and biscuits, the invitation to the tea included my parents. I recall how excited we all were going to the May processions in our beautiful communion dresses.
Every year school held a drill display and we had rehearsals after school, in preparation for the big night, the school would be buzzing with excitement as we walked out into the playground to perform before our parents and school friends.
I made my confirmation in 1942 and I was confirmed by Archbishop McQuaid. We were all very fearful he would ask us a question; he asked me what were the duties of a priest and unfortunately I did not know the answer but I was still confirmed.
I sat my primary cert at the age of 12 and transferred into the secondary school which at the time was one classroom dived in two and the two teachers were Sr France’s and Sr Carmel. Our uniform consisted of a hand knitted jumper that we had to knit ourselves, with a gymslip and a white collar that had to be stitched onto the jumper; it was detached for washing and then stitched back on. I excelled at commerce and my certificate is now in the archive in Warrenmount, I learned to type sitting in a cloak room after school, there was only one typewriter my lesson was on Tuesday between 5 and 7, on Thursday after school I did shorthand and on Saturday I did booking, keeping all these lesson were held outside normal school hours.
Now after many years I am back at Warrenmount and enjoying every minute of it. I have learned to crochet; I have increased my knowledge of computers and have learned many new crafts. We recently took part in a project knitting cardigans and hats for premature babies at the Coombe hospital. We did the knitting but the Warrenmount community centre bought the wool. Thanks to our very knowledgeable Tutor Patricia.
Exploring Routes to Learning 2011-2013
Exploring routes to learning was an exciting and innovative look at the way people gather knowledge. It was an EU backed project that has us working with similar groups in five other European countries.
The course covered a wide area of interest and topics. We made Podcasts of Irish idioms. We looked at Irish literature, reading the story and looking at the film The Dead by James Joyce. We examined paintings, selecting one, describing it and what made it great. We examined the 1911 Census. We were introduced to IT, setting up an email account and doing basic research. We practiced public speaking following the toastmaster formula. Screen painting on bags was part of the course.
It was no all class based learning. We had some very enjoyable trips. We went on a tour of the State Apartments in Dublin Castle. The National Gallery and the Titanic in Belfast. There was a visit of a group of people from Scotland who we “entertained” by singing for them. Some of us were lucky enough to travel to Evora in Portugal where we met up with participants from the other five countries and were royally treated by our hosts.
The Course came to an end with talks from leaders of adult education in Ireland. Finally each group set up a stand exhibiting what they did in their groups and items of interest from their country.
Altogether it was a great course with enthusiastic participants and in Helen O’Keeffe-We have an inspiring mentor, leader and teacher.
At the age of 82 I learned a new word that I was able to answer on mastermind that the contestant did not know the word was ‘haiku’ I knew this word thanks to our tutor Helen.
Unlike when I attended as a child when everything was very strict and serious, we now have lots of fun and laughter during our classes.
Monica Baird (nee) Kempson