All posts by aokane

Student Teachers’ Experiences of Creativity

Creativity is frequently presented from authoritative positions to student teachers who are then required to meet particular requirements or to assess the extent to which they agree or disagree with given ideas. ‘Top-down’ approaches include how ministries of education include discourses of creativity when writing curricula and education policy, or how the aspirations of the cultural industries sector inform curricula. This proposed study presents an opportunity to access rich accounts of creative experiences and practices from student teachers in a number of subject areas. It is only possible to understand creativity – a concept central to the curriculum of students from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and to ‘write creativity’ into curricula and policy documents in such a way that it will make an impact with teachers and students when current understandings are accessed. Without rich examples of the concept accessed from those student teachers soon to be working in schools, we cannot extend our knowledge of the concept or merge knowledge of commonalities between different jurisdictions or subject areas. This study can advance understandings and make suggestions/proposal for further advancing provisions for creativity in schools in line with most current thinking on creativity in the literature, but in a relevant way that begins with authentic experiences of student teachers.

Big Pictures of the Past

• ‘Big Pictures of the Past’ is a collaborative project involving researchers and history educators from the School of Education in UCD and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).
• The researchers worked with a group of student teachers from UCD in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and a cohort of first year history students taught by them across different settings while on school placements, both in the first and second years of their PME studies.
• Acknowledging that acquiring ‘big picture’ understanding of the past is an integral part of the junior cycle history specification, the project is focused on ascertaining what types of ‘big pictures’, if any, junior cycle students possess, and how they might be supported to develop more robust ‘big picture’ understanding.
• The project also explores the nature and extent of ‘big picture’ understanding that student teachers possess.
• ‘Big picture’ mean the capacity to demonstrate long-term chronological understanding and to make connections between events and developments from different periods of time, or what might be termed the ‘broad sweep’ of history.
• The concept of student voice was invoked by the researchers as a key feature of the research approach, recognising the importance of students talking about their experience of learning and teaching in history, and ensuring that their voice has a meaningful impact on how these experiences are shaped.
• The researchers argue that using frameworks of eras can meaningfully support students to acquire meaningful ‘big pictures’ of the past. A framework is a device that can help students grasp the concept of ‘big picture’ thinking.
• As well as presenting a report, the researchers have developed an experiment framework that could be used in the Junior cycle classroom to support students’ ‘big picture’ understanding. It is called ‘Our History Scaffold’ and consists of 10 eras.

Building bridges: Cross-Sectoral Community of Practice for Modern Foreign Language Instruction in Irish-Medium Education (IME) Gaelscoileanna.

Interprofessional collaboration within the education system has been a proven and longstanding exemplar of continuous professional development. Teachers, when viewed as ‘change agents’, Cordiner, M. (2014), have the professional capacity ‘to develop and steward knowledge’ within their respective fields, educational institutions and wider school communities Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Snyder, W.M. (2002). By merging primary and post-primary professional practices to help support Modern Foreign Language (MFL) pedagogy in Immersion Education (IME), we are succinctly reinforcing Lave and Wenger’s definition of Communities of Practice (CoP), whilst simultaneously enhancing plurilinguistic competencies through cross-sectoral and cross-contextual collaboration. (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

I hope to conduct my research in conjunction with the
“Say Yes to Languages Initiative 2017-2026”.
Currently 1,200 primary schools are participating in this scheme to pilot and gauge the children’s response to the MFL/ISL model. However, only 49/1200 of those school are Gaelscoileanna.
Gaelscoileanna acutely align with broader efforts to revitalize and preserve the Irish language. Additionally, there is a long history of governmental, cultural and other educational initiatives that actively participate in promoting immersion programmes and bilingual education to strengthen the Irish language’s presence. However, it is curious to see how Irish-medium educational establishments have been played such a minute participatory role in this pilot scheme. Gaelscoileanna should be encouraged and celebrated for their efforts to preserve linguistic integrity and used as blueprints towards successful language acquisition establishments going forward.

Without this investigation into Gaelscoileanna’s response to MFL teaching and learning, there is undiscovered data and unlocked potential as to what can learn from students’ metalinguistic skills as MFL learners in the Irish context. Bilingual and immersion education should be used as didactic capital and used advantageously in order to reflect social reality.

Exploring Irish and Northern-Irish Primary Teachers’ Understanding and Experiences of Teaching History Empathy in History Education: A Cross-Sectoral Study

This comparative, collaborative study seeks to explore Irish and Northern-Irish primary teachers’ understanding of historical empathy and experiences of teaching historical empathy as part of History Education in primary schools. Historical empathy involves successful reconstruction of the beliefs, values, goals, and attendant feelings of people in the past (Donnelly and Sharp, 2020). The findings from this mixed-methods project will help inform History Education curriculum design
and pedagogy in an evolving policy context for Primary Curriculum and History Education in both jurisdictions, and will be pertinent and beneficial
for History Education; primary education; teacher education; social-justice education; educational policy; and educational practice.

RSO i scoileanna làn-Ghaeilge/Special Educational Needs in Irish-medium schools

Ba mhaith liom iniúcadh a dhéanamh ar na chleactais dearfacha atà ar siúl i scoileanna làn-Ghaeilge chun tacú le daltaí a bhfuil RSO acu agus conas is féidir na chleactais seo a roinnt.

I would like to study how effective practices can be shared across regions to help meet the needs of students with special educational needs learning through Irish. This project will be undertaken through the medium of Irish.

The Fusion of Theory and Practice: Reflections on the Early Years and Childhood Studies Professional Practice Placement as a Community of Practice

Our small-scale pilot study was funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Through a series of four seminars, we brought together students, university staff and placement mentors by developing a Community of Practice (CoP). We explored the fusion of theory and practice, acknowledging this triquetra relationship. At our last seminar, we explored how the Community of Practice (CoP) could be sustained and potential actions for transformation. Seminar participants were eager to continue to develop the Community of Practice model.
We would like to explore the potential of expanding the CoP model across boarders, HEI and early years education professional practice placements.

Cur chuige na ceardlainne mar mhodh eile teagaisc an aistriúcháin.

Beidh an taighde seo bunaithe ar úsáid na ceardlainne mar mhodh teagaisc agus foghlama an aistriúcháin i measc mhic léinn an tríú bliain ar chúrsaí BA (Saorealaíona le Gaeilge). Is gnách go n-áirítear aistriúchán ó Bhéarla go Gaeilge mar chuid de na modúil sna Saorealaíona agus go dearfa, mar chuid de na modúil i mBaitsiléir an Oideachais, ó bhliain a haon go bliain a trí. Is gnách go mbíonn píosa leanúnach próis le haistriú ar ábhar ar leith agus go n-ullmhaítear sa léacht ar bhonn seachtainiúil é. Déanfar taighde ar chur chuige na ceardlainne agus na mic léinn ag aistriú píosa leanúnach próis atá curtha le chéile agus leabhair thagartha ar leith in úsáid ag na mic léinn sa cheardlann. Bainfear úsaid as Ó Dónaill (2016) Gramadach Gan Stró, Eagrán 4, Mac Lochlainn (2018) Ó Bhéarla go Gaeilge agus Mac Lochlainn (2020) Cruinneas mar phríomhthéacs tagartha sa cheardlann. Bainfear úsáid as leabhair thagartha eile a bhfuil cur amach ag na mic léinn orthu thar na trí bliana de chúrsa na céime. Díreofar ar chur chuige na ceardlainne a mholtar in Fitzpatrick & Hunt (2019). Mar sin de, sa taighde seo déabfar taighde ar chur chuige an mhodha úir lena fháil amach cad é a shíl na mic léinn de chur chuige na ceardlainne agus iad ag cur lena bhfeasacht agus lena n-eolas ar theanga na Gaeilge. Cuirfear ceistneoir chuig na mic léinn ag tús an tionscadail lena fháil amach cad é an dearcadh atá acu ar aistriúchán go ginearálta agus ar a mhuiníní atá siad maidir le cúrsaí aistriúcháin. Eagrófar an cheardlann agus déanfar físthaifeadadh den cheardlann féin agus na mic léinn i mbun oibre le breathnóireacht a dhéanamh ar an chur chuige. Cuirfear agallamh ar na mic léinn i bhfócasghrúpaí cúpla lá i ndiaidh na ceardlainne lena dtuairimí ar an mhodh úr teagaisc a mheas. Déanfar anailís ar thuairimí na mac léinn.

“Investigating comparative gender experiences of autistic adolescence; negotiating the barriers and facilitators impacting transitions to adulthood”

Preparation and planning for the transition to adulthood has implications to life outcomes for all students; positive or negative. Autistic students however, experience notable discrimination and experience poorer life outcomes, compared to neurotypical peers and people with any other disability. These negative outcomes relate to education, accommodation, job acquisition, mental and physical health. Women are also less likely to be diagnosis as autistic which impacts self-awareness and support/accommodations.
This project has two key aims;
(1)To investigate the roles of transition services in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) for autistic students in preparation for adulthood. Teachers play a critical role in supporting students to prepare and plan for the transition to adulthood. Teacher and autism support service knowledge, involvement and support they provide to autistic students and their families will be critically reviewed.
(2) To examine student and familial expectations/experiences of transition planning/implementation prior, during and post transition from school to adulthood. The trajectory of wellbeing outcomes for students and families (e.g., mental, and physical health, relationships, finance, accommodation, education, and work), with focus on gender outcome differences, will be mapped longitudinally.

The Children and Youth Programme – UNESCO: Published Reports

Who We Are
We are an independent collaboration between the two UNESCO Chairs in the island of Ireland at the UNESCO Centre at the University of Ulster and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway.

What We Do
We are an academic, independent monitoring programme, focusing on the well‑being of children and youth in Ireland and Northern Ireland, using a rights‑based approach.


Maternal Mental Health and Poverty: The Impact on Children’s Educational Outcomes
Abstract:A range of factors can undermine maternal mental health, with short and long term consequences for mothers and their children. The relationship between poor parental mental health and children’s well being is increasingly documented, with the evidence suggesting adverse developmental outcomes across the domains of a child’s life. More specifically, maternal mental health, particularly when combined with socio economic disadvantage, has been recognised as a pivotal influence on children’s educational outcomes. This thematic report focuses on the relationship between poverty and maternal mental health, and the impact of these on children and young people’s educational experiences in Ireland and Northern Ireland.Date: 29th October 2013PDFs:


Education for Civic Engagement in Post primary Schools in Ireland and Northern Ireland: A Rights Perspective
Abstract:The focus of this report is on policy and provision for education for civic engagement in post primary education in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This issue is topical and relevant in both jurisdictions. In Ireland reform of the Junior Cycle has led to a renewed focus on civic education and its cross curricular linkages. In Northern Ireland, education for civic engagement occurs within a divided society, giving rise to questions about its role in such a context.Date: 8th May 2013PDFs:

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Capacity Building for Inclusion: The Role and Contribution of Special Needs Assistants and Classroom Assistants in Ireland and Northern Ireland
Click to download Abstract:Historically, the basic right to education has been an automatic assumption for children in Ireland and Northern Ireland. For pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN), this has been a more ambiguous process, where the language, policy and legislation of education provision has alternately strengthened and diminished their educational options. This, our second thematic report, focuses on capacity building to support the inclusion of children with SEN within the mainstream school sector. The issue is explored specifically in relation to the role of the Special Needs Assistant (SNA) in Ireland and the Classroom Assistant (CA) in Northern Ireland.Date: 4th September 2012PDFs:




Reviewing the Provision of Education for Young People in Detention: Rights, Research and Reflections on Policy and Practice
Abstract:This, the first of our Thematic Reports, addresses the relevant rights instruments and standards for education in the youth justice system, highlights the current legislative and policy context measured against international standards and assesses the role of education for young people in detention and draws concluding messages for policy in relation to custodial education and well being of children and young people.Date: 25th May 2012PDFs:


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Children’s Rights and the Family – A Commentary on the Proposed Constitutional Referendum on Children’s Rights in Ireland
Click to download Abstract:The UNESCO Chairs have produced a commentary in response to the proposed constitutional referendum on children’s rights in Ireland, with the intention of informing and adding value to current debates.Date: 21st March 2012PDFs:


Understanding Policy Development and Implementation for Children and Young People
Abstract:This, the second of our Foundation Reports, analyses the policy environment in relation to children and young people in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It reviews key policies and legislation relating to children and young people, including the pledges and commitments identified in each. Through consultation with relevant stakeholders, it identifies the main policy barriers and enablers and develops a framework to review policy development and implementation.Date: 30th January 2012PDFs:

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A Rights Based Approach to Monitoring Children and Young People’s Well Being
Click to download Abstract: This is the first of our Foundation Reports; it explores understandings of a rights based approach to monitoring children and young people’s well being, in particular, the relationship between rights based obligations and well being. It includes analysis of the debate on the relationship between child rights indicators and well being indicators currently used to monitor outcomes for children and young people. In doing so, the report seeks to provide clarity for policy makers and those working with, or on behalf of, children and youth.Date: 24th October 2011PDFs:

Dyslexia in Ireland: Views regarding the provision for pupils with dyslexia since the publication of the Task Force Reports, North and South (2002) (DyslexiaN/S)

Dyslexia in Ireland Views regarding the provision for pupils with dyslexia since the publication of the Task Force Reports, North and South (2002) (DyslexiaNS)

Project Aims
(a) to consult with members of the Dyslexia Task Force groups, North and South (DENI, DES) and ascertain their views and perspectives on the provision of support for pupils with dyslexia ten years on.

(b) to consult with key stakeholders, North and South and to ascertain their views and perspectives on the provision of support for pupils with dyslexia and

(c) to clarify present policy in the area of dyslexia support, North and South and to identify strategic policy which informs good practice.