Video Clips


I'm rather pleased with the new videos section of the website (click here). I figured out how to "embed" videos, from YouTube at least, on the site. There's a huge range of good stuff on YouTube (and a lot of objectionable material, all too easy accessible) so I'll try and bring Faitharts users the best of it, adding a few new videos each week, and, unfortunately, deleting those that disappear off YouTube. It only seems to be a viable proposition for those with broadband, as the videos play to erratically on dial up connections. It's a great way to let you experience some of the songs I mention in various articles, and elsewhere on the site.

I'm also pleased to see my latest article in print in the An Tobar magazine (published by the Christian Brothers' support service in Marino, Dublin. It's about using poetry to teach religion, both material on the Leaving Certificate Course and some modern performance poetry. See earlier blog entries for more information.

Recently saw the film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days - it's about a young student, motivated by her Christian faith, campaigning against the Nazis in Germany during the war. The religious element is there, but subtly integrated. In German, with English subtitles, it is riveting as we see her interrogated by the German police, and all the more poignant as it is based on real events. Julia Jentsch does a brilliant job in the main role. Despite the setting there is no graphic violence, but there is plenty of tension. One scene of particular use in class starts with Sophie praying one night in prison, leading to a scene with her interrogator where conscience is discussed. I hope to use this clip after mid term break as I'm doing conscience with fifth year students. Another useful exercise I've found doing this issue is to get the students drawingtheir own symbols for conscience. I like to ramble around the class (purposefully of course!) chatting with individuals about their symbols. Usually some will draw the angel-on-the shoulder image, but whatever comes up it is a useful discussion starter.

Quite a bit to catch up on. Mock exams on now so a bit of time freed up for writing. Last week the drama and faith module moved with a visit from The Covenant Players. These are an international group of actors who travel the country performing short faith based plays. They are mostly from a Protestant background, but have been respectful of our Catholic ethos, and the issues they deal with are usually broad faith and human life issues. We've had them in our school every year for at least five years, and sporadically before that. This year they also did some general drama exercises with the Transition Year group, as well as the plays with a moral. After each little play there's a chance for discussion, and this years TY guys were very responsive - especially those who do drama outside school. The whole session was very good humoured.

Just recently I heard from Australian singer songwriter Peter Kearney who is back in the country. As part of the faith and music module I've had him into school for the past two years. He does a short concert in the class and speaks between songs about the issues raised Many of the songs are about social justice, and he has also written some material about Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers. He has written some graduation material as well. For more info see

Got some more music DVDs recently to add to the collection - Heart of Gold by Neil Young is a superb DVD if you're into folk/rock/roots music. I could watch Four Strong Winds over and over. Emmylou Harris does backing vocals, which for me is a bonus. On this DVD is the song When God Made Me from Young's Prairie Wind album. Some of you might have seen him singing this in the concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This song is somewhat controversial - gospel flavoured in style it asks a few rhetorical questions. Some take offence, but I think it's general and subtle enough to be interpreted in many ways, including an interpretation favourable to belief in God, though with the hint of caution about some of the practices and attitudes of believers. Check out the lyrics and the controversy here

Second great DVD I got recently was the Musicares Person of the Year Tribute to James Taylor. Many of Taylor's hits are performed by other stars like Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Rait, Sting and the Dixie Chicks. He duets with Carole King on You've Got a Friend, and there's yet another version of Shed a Little Light, a song mentioned in my recent An Tobar magazine article on using music DVDs in class (email me for the resources). I still prefer the version on the DVD Squibnocket.