Communities of practice: Learning together to teach together

Conference Year: 2016
Conference Location: Armagh City Hotel

Communities of practice: Learning together to teach together

The 2016 Annual SCoTENS Conference theme is intended to facilitate an open and engaging exploration of the value of collaborative learning to support teachers’ professional practice.   The Conference will draw upon the expertise of the key learning theorist Etienne Wenger whose scholarship on learning and particularly his concepts of ‘communities of practice’ and ‘boundary’ have enriched our understanding of how we learn and how we teach.  Wenger reminds us that we all participate in multiple communities of practice and how this multi-membership often involves crossing boundaries and negotiating meaning with others outside our immediate CoP. Boundary, he suggests, is not only for outsiders, it keeps insiders in but in weaving and crossing boundaries we extend the possibilities for action and mutual engagement. SCOTENS 2016 offers us a chance to reflect on the important communities of practice of which we are a part and how we can continue to collaborate to extend and enrich our professional practices. Keynote addresses on the conference theme of learning together to teach together are designed to invite delegates to collaborate and talk about their practices. Workshops are built around cross-border partnerships and will seek to develop our understanding of collaborative professional learning. We look forward to welcoming you to our conference and hearing what you have to say.

Conference Programme


Date / Time Event Details Watch/Listen

Opening Remarks by co-Chair SCoTENS, Mr Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director, the Teaching Council and co-Chair SCoTENS

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Keynote address:  Professor Graham Donaldson, University of Glasgow: From Ambition to Reality

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Panel Discussion: Professional Learning Chaired by Professor Teresa O’Doherty, Dean of Education, Mary Immaculate College

Panel comprising:
Mr Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director, the Teaching Council and co-Chair SCoTENS
Dr Margery McMahon, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow
Ms Marie-Therese Kilmartin, Principal, Coláiste Bríde Clondalkin
Ms Nicola Connery, Principal, Wellington College
Mr John Anderson, Managing Inspector, Education and Training Inspectorate









Launch two SCoTENS reports:

  1. 2015 ScoTENS Annual Report launched by Dr Tom Hesketh
  2. Managing Early Years Inclusive Transition Practices launched by Professor Paul Conway, Professor of Education, University of Limerick
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SCoTENS Seed Funding Workshop:  Members of the research team that produced Managing Early Years Inclusive Transition Practices showcase their project as a good example and present on the preparation, implementation and impact of their project. Chaired by Professor Kathy Hall, Head of School of Education, University College Cork and Dr Geraldine Magennis, Senior Lecturer, St Mary’s University College.  Research group led by Dr Colette Gray, Principal lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, Stranmillis University College and Dr Anita Prunty, Retired Senior Lecturerher , Special Education Department, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.




Workshop 1 – Models of Partnership

Dr Brian Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Education, University College Cork

Ms Audrey Curry, Director of Community Engagement and External Affairs,  Stranmillis University College


This workshop brings two complementary perspectives on the issue of professional partnerships, drawing on case studies from ITE North and South of the border.


Workshop 2 – Cluster Approach to CPD

Ms Eimear McCarthy, Teacher, St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush

MS Nicola Connery, Principal, Wellington College


This workshop includes the experiences of two schools from North and South who have had a positive experience with CPD. They will speak about how they’re schools approached and managed cluster CPD. This will include the challenges and opportunities which exist with such a task, as well as what was achieved and the logistics behind the approaches in two different education systems.


Workshop 3 – 3D Printing across the Curriculum using the Bridge21 Pedagogical Model

                Mr John Peto, Director, The Nerve Centre, Newry

Professor Brendan Tangney, Trinity College Dublin


This workshop will explore the work of Bridge 21 and the Nerve Centre.  It will look at 3d printing across the curriculum using Bridge 21 model



Workshop 4 – The Importance of Developing an Autism and Early Years Training Programme

Ms Tracie Tobin, St Michael’s Infant School in Limerick

Ms Frances O’ Neill, Autism Trainer/Advisor, Middletown Centre for Autism


Middletown Centre for Autism knew that there was need to provide a supportive programme to parents and professionals living and working with young children with autism.

St Michaels’ Infant School and Tracie Tobin, Principal, were willing to pilot and evaluate the programme to ensure that it met the needs of this particular group of children.

This collaborative partnership offers a training programme, which wishes to focus on developing the practical foundation skills needed by the child in the Early Years to enable him/her to progress and optimise his or her potential.


Workshop 5 – Developments in school leadership in the Irish education system

Mr John Anderson, Managing Inspector, Education and Training Inspectorate

Ms Carmel Kearns, Education Officer, The Teaching Council

Mr Martin Lally, Assistant Chief Inspector, Department of Education and Skills


This workshop aims to update participants on recent development in school leadership in the Irish education system. In particular, the presentation will provide information on: the development of The Quality Framework for Leadership and Management, which provide a set of national standards to be used across the system by a range of education partners; and the establishment of the Centre for School Leadership – a  partnership approach to the development of school leaders by the Department of Education and Skills, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals.