As part of our Project Based Learning programme, we have initiated a series of ‘In Conversation with…’ podcasts that give our participants the opportunity to interview prominent public figures. This project was created to enable participants to apply and develop the communication skills they learn in workshops conducted by journalist Aura McMenamin.
On the 4th of May we had the opportunity to have a conversation with Hollywood star Jessie Buckley which was conducted by one of our participants. On our website, you will find a brief interview in which our participant shares his thoughts on communication, the project-based learning approach, and on interviewing Jessie Buckley!
I: Hi, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
P: I’m 35 years of age, I have three kids, who are 19, 12 and 7-months. I’m from Ballyfermot, I lived there all my life. As a person I would be friendly and smiley, I would talk to anybody and I am open minded.
I: I would also say that you are a very humorous person and always make people laugh
P: Well you can tell a lot from laughing. If someone goes through a serious situation, you can kind of laugh at it but you’re also recognizing it as one of them things. You can’t take life too seriously, but it has to be done in the right manner and at an appropriate time.
I: What do you think about communication?
P: Communication is extremely important. People think differently, people take up conversations or different situations probably more seriously than other people. You need to know how to communicate. If you go around and you don’t know how to communicate, it can affect your family; you might come out roaring and it pushes you to anger. With me, I didn’t really communicate as a teenager, and I’ve seen the effects of that and in a lot of friends too, who ended up committing suicide. And I think it comes down to not talking. Suicide happens especially in the area where I come from. I suppose whatever life they are living they can’t really communicate and they are probably disconnected. With me, I head to learn my feelings again. I couldn’t pinpoint what I was that I was feeling and so anger kind of fuelled me. I was very fearful but couldn’t show it so I was angry.
I: Do you think communication skills can be learned?
P: It is never too late to learn it. I don’t know where I lost my communication, in what part, or stage or life but I lost it somewhere along the line. But yes, you can pick it up bit by bit, probably taking me a while but you are getting there.
I: Can you give us an example where you learned these communication skills?
P: When I attended my communication workshops with Aura, before interviewing Jessie, I don’t think I could have done it as confidently. When you do stuff, it builds up your confidence.
I: So do you link communication with confidence?
P: Definitely. See people I would talk to, if I was in a job situation and was talking to a manager I would feel like a little child. But if you see me talking to someone out there I’d put up a show. Because you’re not used to talking to someone who is well educated, you feel less, you’re looking at your toes and you are shy.
I: What did you learn in your communication workshops with Aura?
P: I found the workshop with Aura very interesting. I learned how to turn a conversation around. How to get a conversation to go the way you want it to go, without being blunt about it. Which is a good skill to have in your daily life.
I: How was interviewing Jessie Buckley?
P: I was very nervous. I had my questions written down but I had to get rid of the sheets and I was doing it freely. When you talk to someone like that you think they are in Hollywood but really, they are just the same as you. Everybody is the same. And when you get outside your area you think you are not capable and you don’t fit in so its nice to talk with someone like that.
I: What did you enjoy the most about it?
P: I really enjoyed just talking to her in general and then it was that pushing yourself over that barrier of doing this kind of thing. And when you’ve done it you can give yourself praise and get praise from others; I think that’s a big thing too. So, I think pushing little barriers like that allows you do other things.
I: How did you find this learning experience (project-based learning) in comparison to traditional ways of learning?
P: I do think you have to put learning in practice. You can read a book all day long – I mean I can read a book all day about going to space but it doesn’t mean I can go to space. You can research stuff all day but doing it is the way to learn. And the confidence too, you are applying it. You are not going to be thinking it about doing it, you would have had it done.
I: Where do you see yourself in the future?
P: For me to be doing something it has to have a meaning. I could see myself working in my community. I can see myself being a helpful person, I like helping people and I seem to have connection with people especially in my area, who struggle with mental health.
I: Thank you so much, I am sure that is something that will happen.