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Education Practicum in Northern Ireland


Newry, Ireland

Program Description

This is a 3-credit program designed for early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, exceptional education students who are interested in enrolling in EDUC 510 Practicum or ELED 510 and any other JMU student in the arts, music, theater or English who would like to enroll in ELED 510: Creativity and the Arts and explore the Irish educational system or examine the central role of the arts in Irish culture.

Our schedule will consist of 4 days per week in the schools of Newry located midway on the east coast of Ireland between Dublin and Belfast and then travel on the weekends to the different sites in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

We will begin our trip with a weekend in Dublin, Ireland with an introduction to Irish culture with a tour of Trinity College’s unique Book of Kells, the world famous Guinness Brewery and Jameson’s Distillery as well as an introduction to traditional Irish music and literary history through a musical and literary pub crawl.  From there, we initiate our practicum experience in the historic town of Newry on the river Clanrye. Each weekend we will take side trips to the stone age sites at Newgrange and Knowth, see the unique geography of the Giant’s Causeway, visit the “troubles” and Titanic Museum in Belfast, and explore the only walled-city in Ireland, Derry/Londonderry, before returning to Dublin to finish our month abroad.

What is particularly unique is that you will be initiating the first JMU educational program in Northern Ireland and will be welcomed to Newry by the mayor of the city and, as an emissary from the US, will enjoy publicity and ensuing fanfare.

Location Description

Newry, Northern Ireland is located just across the border from the Republic of Ireland and north of Dublin. It is a mid-sized city located near the eastern coast of Ireland and has a diverse public school system that consists of Catholic and Protestant Schools as well as a few Consolidated Schools (both Catholic and Protestants attend). Consequently, teaching assistants will gain valuable insights into the role of religion in public schools and will examine these issues of diversity and acceptance. All practicum students will be assigned to a classroom teacher in a specific teaching area and will have the opportunity to teach lessons with supervision. In addition, the Irish schools often place an emphasis on the arts and teaching assistants or arts researchers may have the opportunity to work with pre-school, elementary, middle school or high school students in these areas if enrolled in the Creativity and the Arts Course option and to collaborate with classroom teachers when possible. In addition to the practicum and Creativity and the Arts course work, students who decide to enroll will enjoy several weekend side trips to diverse sections of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We will take a weekend trip to Dublin to experience the traditional music and literary traditions of Ireland by engaging in two "pub crawls," visiting the Guinness Brewery and the Jameson distillery. In addition, we will visit Trinity College, see the "Book of Kells" and take a bus tour of Dublin in order to orient everyone on the best way to explore the city. In addition, we will examine the ancient neolithic sites of New Grange and Knowth north of Dublin that actually pre-date Stonehenge and take a weekend excursion into Belfast where we will take a "Black Taxi" tour of the Peace Wall to better understand "The Troubles" and visit the newly opened, Titanic Museum. In addition, we will take a tour of the northern Irish countryside and visit the Giant's Causeway and the Rope Swing across rushing waters that separate an island from the shore. Then, we will spend a weekend in Derry/Londonderry, the only ancient walled city in Ireland where we will enjoy a variety of Irish floodways, cultural sites and shop.


Deborah Carrington | | Elementary Education
Hood Frazier | | Middle and Secondary Education


Accommodations will be provided through residence halls/dormitories and host families, with two meals per day provided in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

All participants are required to complete criminal background checks before leaving the United States.

This program is designed for Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and Exceptional Education students as well as students enrolled in the arts, music, literature or theater and who may be interested in teaching in the arts.

Students who have previous educational experience working with children or who are flexible and willing to adapt to change will be given priority. However, the program is open to diverse students who are interested in the arts and education as well.

Previous practicum experience will be required for applicants who are taking the EDUC 501 credit.

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

  • JMU Short-Term Application Form

  • A supplemental essay addressing the following question:
    "How will this experience benefit you?"
  • Attend an interview if requested with the program directors prior to the application deadline: Deborah Carrington | | Elementary Education -and-  Hood Frazier | | Middle and Secondary Education

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


EDUC 501: Workshop in Education: Education Practicum (3 credits)

ELED 510: Creativity and the Arts in Elementary Education (3 credits)