NUI Galway Launch Breaking The SEAL 2020

Jan 13 2020 Posted: 12:40 GMT

Schools Engagement with Archives through Learning’

NUI Galway’s Access Office is launching its 2020 ‘Breaking the SEAL (Schools Engagement with Archives through Learning)’ Programme on Thursday, 16January, at 9am in the Archbishop McHale College, Tuam, Co. Galway. This award winning programme, developed by Dr. Paul Flynn & Dr. Barry Houlihan, is an initiative of the University’s James Hardiman Library and the School of Education, in partnership with Access Centre at NUI Galway. The programme will be launched by Seán Canney, Minister of State Community Development, Natural Resources & Digital Development.

The programme is designed to help Senior Cycle History students engage with the resources of the NUI Galway library and archives to complete their mandatory Research Study Report, while at the same time introducing them to key transitional skills such as: collaboration; critical analysis skills; independent thinking; academic writing; and digital skills. Dr Flynn further emphasizes that "History, as a second level subject, offers opportunities that other subjects don’t such as the development of crucial 21st Century skills such as collaboration, critical engagement, academic writing and experience presenting materials to a public audience. Breaking the SEAL offers a unique opportunity for Leaving Certificate History students to develop these skills and support teachers as they prepare students for the leaving certificate examination."

It has been well documented that these are the very skills that new entrants to undergraduate programmes find the most challenging. Therefore, the programme aims are two-fold: provide students with an initial introduction to the aforementioned skills through onsite workshops and online support; and to support students as they begin, develop and complete their mandatory Research Study Report projects.

Joseph Nyirenda, Attract Transition Succeed (ATS) Coordinator at NUI Galway said: “Breaking the SEAL is a project that has helped both history teachers and students in completing their Research Study Report project, while at the same time giving a changes to students to forge links with young historians across Europe. The project further builds relationships between young historians and local history societies via a new programme which involves mentoring. “

Breaking the SEAL is a project that is growing since its launch in 2015. Last year for example, 9 schools took part and for the 2019-2020 academic year, 19 schools have signed up. Apart from winners representing Ireland in the EUSTORY, Breaking the SEAL offers students the opportunity to opportunity to have their submitted abstracts being published and receive a certificate of participation. Participants will also receive mentoring support from external history experts and will meet with current NUI Galway students who will provide advice and what life entails while in college.”

The project is further breaking grounds by linking local history associations with young historians who are developing their RSR project. Currently the Old Journal of Tuam Society will be working with students at Archbishop McHale College by providing mentorship through their process of RSR project.

Breaking the SEAL holds the rights to the IrishNational History. Finals of this competition will be held at NUI Galway on 30 April, and the winners will be invited to engage with European young historians via the EUSTORY Competition. For the first time in its history the EUSTORY Competition will be held outside Germany with NUI Galway hosting the 2020 event. This event will take place in the month of October and details of the actual will be confirmed in the first quarter of 2020.

For more information, contact Joseph Nyirenda at 086 852 8550 or


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