Episode 6 – Notes

Episode 6 Episode Notes – Find the Episode HERE

‘Lazy Student’

If you do nothing else, make sure you download and complete the ‘Ep 6 Listen Along Guide’ to make sure that you get the most from this episode. Pay particular attention to the final section that highlights the relevant essay areas in which a detailed discussion of Brexit might be relevant!

If you want to have a little bit of a laugh, look at “Foil, Arms, and Hog’s” funny Brexit ‘Divorce’ Video!

‘Engaged Student’

Brexit Map (New York Times – 24th June, 2016). Examine the map and try and account for some of the regional variation. In particular pay attention to the percentages for each areas of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). Are there long-term consequences for the structural integrity of the UK as a whole? Why might the DUP not support a Brexit deal?

For a good summary of the Brexit Process and the possible implications, check out Channel 4’s good short video here.

‘Ambitious Student’

Dig deeper by looking into the follow podcasts suggested in this episode.

Link to the Irish Times “Inside Politics” Podcast with Simon Carswell.

Link to RTE’s “Brexit Republic” podcast with Tony Connelly.

Finally, for a useful ‘Long Read’, The Irish Times’ Fintan O’Toole is always worth a look. In particular, you might want to start with his take on “Are the English ready for self-government?”. You could also look out for his book ‘Heroic Failure’ (see a review here from The Guardian).

For a counter argument about why Fintan O’Toole is wrong about Brexit, see John Lloyd’s article here.



Episode 6 – ‘Brexit for Beginners’ is LIVE

Sixth years are preparing for, or have just sat, their Politics and Society mocks. They’ve just been asked to deal with the whole course in two and a half hours for the very first time. Everyone’s stressed and can’t wait for the midterm to gather their wits and stare down the run into Easter. It’s just that time of year…

So, why not sit back and get a handle on at least one part of the course with the next installment of the Pol-Soc Podcast! In this episode I’m joined by Professor John O’Brennan, the Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at Maynooth University. He helps us to get to grips with the broad challenges that Brexit poses to the EU, the UK, and Ireland. This is NOT a comprehensive analysis of every facet of Brexit, but is designed to give Leaving Cert Students, previously unfamiliar with European politics, a good grounding on some of the big issues of which they should be aware. It also hopes to frame discussions around Brexit in a way that makes it useful for them in their terminal exam in June by showing how aspects of the discussion relate to the key requirements of the course.

Why not try out the “Key Thinker Quizzes” that help you get to grips with some of the key terminology. It’s a great way to ‘bed in’ some of the more detailed and specific aspects of the course! If you’d like to support the website and podcast with a ‘teeny-tiny’ donation to help cover some of the costs, I’d be grateful for any support that you could give here. You’d be surprised how the costs add up. (Sad Face Emoji… that I have yet to figure out how to import into a blog post!)

In the meantime, if you find this useful, help me spread the work. You can follow along on my twitter feed @khpolsoc where I’ll be circulating relevant articles, videos, and highlighting the experiences of some of my own students, or use your own wits and social media to let your fellow Students & Teachers know about the resource. I’ll be updating the “Episode Notes” page in the next few day, adding lots of other additional resources for students who want to go that step further. These episodes were always meant to be a starting point for your own investigations, not just and end in themselves…

I hope you enjoy this episode, and find it useful. As always, all (constructive) feedback is most welcome!



Episode 5 – EU Institutions is live!

Hi All,

Happy New Year to all my subscribers and any ‘randomers’ who have stumbled onto the website! Episode 5 – EU Institutions is now Live!!! In this episode, I’m joined by my colleague Ms Vicki Malcolm, a teacher of European Studies here in The King’s Hospital, to explore the main institutions of the EU – the Parliament, Commission, and Council. I chat with students about their experience of the ‘Euroscola’ competition which won them a trip to the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, and get a valuable insider’s perspective on the Parliament from Brian Hayes MEP. I spend a bit of time giving a very brief outline of the EU’s historical development and try to help students get their heads around the idea of the ‘Qualified Majority Voting’ system of the EU. All in all, it’s a jam packed episode. We’re already getting lots of positive feedback about the episode, particularly the ‘Listen Along’ worksheet. Make sure you give it a listen and spread the word far and wide!

You’ll also notice a few additions to the website. I’ve uploaded a number of new ‘Key Thinker Quizzes’ and have updated ‘useful podcasts’ to include some suggestions from other teachers. My favourite of those is Kathleen Lynch’s interview on the “Reboot Republic” Podcast. It’s really relevant to lots of our course material and it provides an excellent example to students as to how to use data to support their arguments. There’s also a new Thomas Hobbes revision ‘notes’ sheet to help students to see the contemporary relevance of Hobbes and to offer suggestions on how to write about him coherently.

The editing is already underway on the next episode on ‘Brexit’ and I hope to have that finished in the next few weeks (barring all of life’s usual disasters getting in the way!). Future episodes that are already in the pipeline include an interview with Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland and our second ‘Key Thinker’ podcast, looking at the life and work of John Locke with I’m hoping to record in the coming weeks. There’s so much to do!

Finally, if you have found these podcasts useful as either a teacher or a student and you’d like to make a very small donation (I’m suggesting €3 – the price of a cup of coffee!) then I’d love if you could do so here. I really don’t mind working for free (if I think it will help students and teachers), but as things stand there’s a “not insignificant” cost associated with paying for domain hosting and for a SoundCloud account that can continue to make sure that I can upload sufficient material for the podcast to be of long-term value to students. I’d really appreciate any support you can give, but if you’d even have to think twice about a donation, then keep your money! As of right now there have been over 1,300 downloads of the five episodes I’ve completed (I’m as surprised as you are, trust me!). Help me keep it free for the students that really need it!

I hope ye enjoy the episode. I’d love to hear any (constructive) feedback you might have, and particularly to hear about any other useful resources that I could add to the ‘Episode Notes’.



Episode 4 is Live!!!!

Well, after an enforced break that came about due to the “Triple Whamy” of baby number 4 arriving, finishing up a PhD, and heading up PASTAI (the Politics and Society Teachers’ Association of Ireland), we’re back up and running!

I hope that you find this episode, which focuses of the Council of Europe and human rights useful, whether you’re a teacher or a student! There’s tons of extra resources in the show’s “Episode Notes” which can be reached by following that link.

You might also want to check out some of the other new features on the site including a list of other podcasts that are directly relevant to the course. They’ll be updated as I find more, but if you can think of any other podcasts that I missed, please let me know!

The final new feature is our new “Key Thinker” Quizzes. These are ‘self-correcting’ Google Forms quizzes that students can take to help with their own revision. They can be taken multiple times, and offer immediate feedback. Again, I’ve got a handful done so far, but I’ll be adding more in the near future.

That’s about it for the moment, but (as always) if you have any ‘constructive’ feedback, I’m all ears!


Dr Jerome Devitt!!! (that’s probably the only time I’ll use my new title, so indulge me this time!)

Logo Poll

Well folks, we have selected 4 finalist logos for you to vote for. We would really appreciate if you took the time to vote HERE.

FYI, episode 4 is in the works and we will be looking at European Instituion

Here is a sneak peek of the logos that we have selected:

podcast logo comp copy



Episode 3 is Live!

A huge thanks to Anne-Marie McNally and Ms Susan Leahy for their help in making this episode, which tracks both National politics in the Dáil and the smaller-scale world of Student Councils.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Students – don’t forget to check out the Episode Notes for help to try and digest the material covered in this episode. You’ll find a ‘Listen Along’ worksheet, as well as links to a few different articles that tease out some more of the ideas we discussed in more detail.

Also don’t forget about our Logo Design competition!



Listen on your mobile device!

Well, I managed to work out how to get the podcast uploaded to iTunes and Stitcher. This should make the whole process easier to engage with for our listeners. If you want to make the podcast easier to find, then please subscribe on those apps and give us a (5 -Star???) rating. That would really help us out!

Don’t forget that we need your help with the Logo Competition. Click here for full details from a previous blog post.

It’s lovely to be able to say that the first two episodes have gotten a great reception, and I’m really hopeful that the students will find them useful in the months ahead.

Thanks for the support!


Logo Competition!

We at Pol-Soc Podcast are looking for a new logo to accompany our iTunes podcast, and we would like you to help.

If you are interested in entering this competition then email your entry to polsocpodcast@gmail.com.

The closing date for this competition is the 21st of December.

Don’t forget to click ‘Subscribe’ on the home page for email updates when Episode 3 is uploaded!