All posts by aokane

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.

Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Older Struggling Literacy Learners

In this formative experiment, a series of Professional Development (PD) sessions are designed, facilitated, and iteratively evaluated by the researcher working collaboratively with a cohort of teachers who work with Adolescent Struggling Literacy Learners (ASL) in small-group or individual settings. The PD aims to develop the understanding and ability of these teachers to design and implement a
Literacy Intervention (LI) to suit the needs of their students in their educational context. The LI will apply recommendations from research regarding effective components of instruction for adolescent struggling literacy learners, to practice. Each Teacher will apply the learning and support from their PD sessions to the design of a LI for the ASLs in their context. The teachers will be initially supplied with a framework to guide their design and LI implementation. At each PD session, the teachers will engage in collective sharing of practice and working together as a community of professionals. This study will document the development of the participating teachers’ understandings and practice, the adjustments to PD as it responds to the needs of the teachers, and the modifications made to the LI they create to support the literacy needs of their students.
This study will serve to bridge the gap that exists between educational theory and practice by observing how the authentic environment and experience of teachers impact the design of PD for teachers who seek to work with such pupils in the future.

Trading Places: Sharing the experiences of practitioners as they move into Further Education and Training (FET) teaching roles.

Changing career from a current occupation to a teaching role is not as smooth a transition as one might expect. Our recent study identified a range of personal and professional issues that arose for FET tutors as they transferred their professional ‘ways of thinking and practicing’ (Hounsell, 2003) to an FET teaching-learning environment. Their motivation to teach was driven by a desire to share their knowledge, skills and work experiences in order to empower young people and adults who had returned to education. Their new career aspirations and expectations did not match up with the reality of their experiences of teaching and of the purpose of FET.
Similar to the SCoTENS funded SAFETTI Study (, findings also revealed that in ‘trading places’ some struggled to accommodate their evolving personal and professional identity from practitioner to teacher. Recommendations included the need for a more extensive study to be conducted, to explore in greater depth the aspirational vs reality of moving into FET teaching, ideally in a North/South context.
We are seeking partners to work with us on a research project that will focus on the subject of role change from that of practitioner within a discipline to teacher of the disciplinary knowledge, skills, and practices, and the relationship of all of this to personal and professional identities.

The role of the parent in the transition process of a pupil from pre school to primary

This qualitative study using case study data collection methods examines the issues around transitioning pupils from pre school to primary from a parents perspective .
Recently NCCA produced pupil profile booklets were introduced . These are filled in by pre school practitioners and parents . Due to GDPR regulations parental permission is needed before pupil profiles can be transferred to the primary school . In cases where this is not requested profiles are not given to the junior infant teacher and valuable information which has the potential to inform her practice is lost . This research hopes to highlight the need for information . Many parents are unaware of the lack of communication between education settings . Teachers and pre school staff need to improve professional relations and work together to help parents in establishing best practice in the transitioning process .

Narrative Emergence in the Work of Widening Participation Initiatives Supporting Teacher Diversity

This research project reflects upon the emergence of multiple dimensions, and dynamics, of narrative in the ongoing work of widening participation projects/initiatives focused on supporting teacher diversity. This study will reflect on the creation of critically reflexive spaces for the telling and retelling of emerging narratives (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) of communities of learners, educators and activists in response to enduring, inclusive and ‘risky’ questions such as ‘what it is to be a teacher?’ and ‘what do we want to change in education?’. The potential of narrative spaces and processes to disorientate the wider field of teacher education and the hegemonic stories that circulate in the profession on what it is to be a teacher will also be considered.

Digital Literacy in Practice: Students Creating Video for Assessment

Digital literacy is an essential skill for 21st century life. It encompasses many elements such as the ability to source, evaluate and synthesise digital information. It also includes the ability to create and share content using digital tools, whereby creators can express views, opinions, and facts in a coherent manner. Video is an extremely popular medium, especially with university-age students. This study seeks to examine student experiences (benefits, challenges, learning) in creating video as an assignment, in place of a traditional written piece of work.

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.