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Personal histories ideal for Transition Year

Rather than the scrapping of Transition Year to become a year of community service, as proposed by Friends of the Elderly, perhaps the smarter option would be to increase the number of community service hours for each Transition Year student.

Furthermore, ‘education’ and ‘community service’ do not necessarily have to be viewed as mutually exclusive concepts.

Suppose that in Transition Year (or third year) each student in school was assigned to a person in an elder person’s home in the local community to interview and record their personal histories. Some examples might include: Do you remember the Bay of Pigs in 1961?

Did you see President Kennedy when he came to Ireland in 1963? Did you have a relative who fought in the First World War/Second World War? Did your parents or grandparents ever talk about Ireland becoming an independent state in 1922 and how it affected their lives? Using their creative, writing and IT skills, the students could then compile the stories into project displays with photographs and documents — giving extra historical detail where necessary — to present back to interviewees. The Irish love story telling and it is within these personal stories that a wealth of our history lies.

Alison Hackett

Dun Laoghaire

Co Dublin


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