Enhancing the Teaching‐Learning Environment in Professional Development Programmes for Teachers in Further and Adult Education in Ireland.

Ref: 02-2013/4-north
Name: A. Cagney
Email Address: agraham@wit.ie
Phone Number: +353872466120 (M) or +353 51302476 (W)
Institution Address: Waterford Institute of Technology
Seeking a partner/s in: Northern Ireland

Professional development in further and adult education (FAE) is a new initiative in Ireland. Creating & enhancing human capital is central to Ireland’s recovery and economic renewal – FAE is identified as intrinsic to achieving this. National policy has identified the need for individuals with the interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, qualities and dispositions to work with adults in FAE. Over 4,000+ teachers do not hold Teaching Council of Ireland recognised teacher education qualification (TEQ) in a context where a professional qualification is now a requirement to continue working in the sector.

The challenge to TEQ education providers is to develop within participants new and different skills and perspectives that help them to i) think beyond their current contexts & disciplines; ii) recognise and exploit the value latent in their prior knowledge and previous experience; iii) recognise the corresponding need to interact with others and bridge the knowing/doing gap; so that, iv) together, they might progress from disciplinary expertise through multi‐disciplinary interaction to interdisciplinary outcomes. Combined, the elements of this response will re‐define professional identity for teachers within the sector.

Our aim is to explore how to create transformative learning spaces that enhance and support the re‐definition of the evolving professional identity for Irish educators within further and adult education.

Fundamentally, our project explores how can we create TEQ learning spaces that enable participants to think beyond their own discipline; explore how their ‘ways of thinking and practicing’ (WTPs) evolve and develop over time in order to enhance their professional development while not diluting the transformative learning experience of their TEQ programme.