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  • School Placement in Initial Teacher Education: Partnership or Paralysis

    Casey, Elva (2024)
    The concept of partnership in school placement is not new to the initial teacher education (ITE) reform agenda (Furlong et al., 2000). Despite its prevalence in the rhetoric on placement, the nature of partnerships, the definition of partners, and the extent to which partnerships are voluntary or enforced are all far from universally accepted facts. Harford and O’Doherty (2016) argue that the partnership metaphor has been applied very loosely to describe collaboration and consensus, without any real definition of what is meant by it. Partnership in school placement is often discussed in policy documents and guidelines as a fait accompli, but when we probe the use of the word, we find it can be applied to many ways of organising collaboration between higher-education institutions (HEIs) and schools (Gorman & Furlong, 2023). It can vary in meaning depending on who uses it, whether site of practice, HEI, professional body, or student teacher. It can also be used to reflect distinct interpretations and motivations (Stuart & Martinez-Lucio, 2004). If we cannot agree on what partnership is, how can we hope to understand who the partners are and how they should fulfil their roles? This article posits that the confusion around partnership has hindered the development of school placement into a meaningfully experienced first step in the continuum of professional development, resulting in a paralysis of reform in school placement.
  • Inclusion as Lived and Felt in the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme: A case study exploring spatial discourses of inclusion

    Curneen, Annmarie (Education Matters, 2024)
    Parity of esteem has long been an enduring theme of educational discourses of inclusion. This article examines parity of esteem through the lens of the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme by focusing on spatial discourses of inclusion. For this article, parity of esteem relates to issues of value and recognition of difference and the resulting experience of inclusion as something that is lived and felt in school contexts. The article draws on research conducted by the author over a 10-month period with four case-study schools in the north-west of Ireland. The LCA programme is a distinct, modular, self-contained, two-year Leaving Cert pre-vocational programme. It ‘emphasises forms of achievement and excellence which the established Leaving Certificate has not recognised in the past. It offers a specific opportunity to prepare for and progress to further education and training’. (PDST, 2019, p.7). The programme incorporates work experience and learning that takes place outside the classroom. It is ringfenced, meaning it is separate from but equal to the Leaving Certificate Established (LCE) programme and is not part of the CAO points system. However, recent changes announced as part of Senior Cycle redevelopment mean that since September 2022 LCA students ‘have the opportunity to take Leaving Certificate Mathematics and, where possible, a Leaving Certificate Modern Language’ (DoE, 2022).
  • When the Mind Meets the Body: Health and wellbeing for schools

    Burke, Jolanta; Dunne, Padraic J.; Doran, Annemarie (Education Matters, 2024)
    Most risk factors for developing non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, are established during adolescence. Urgent action is required to prevent the premature death of this cohort in Ireland as a result. We conducted a quasiexperiment combining positive psychology and lifestyle medicine to help students improve their sleep, nutrition, stress management, and physical activity. Here we reflect on our findings and the implications for school wellbeing policy and practice.
  • A six-component conceptualization of the psychosocial well-being of school leaders: devising a framework of occupational well-being for Irish primary principals

    McHugh, Rita (Informa UK Limited, 2023-06-13)
    Drawing on a multidimensional conceptualization of occupational well-being, this mixed methods study aimed to ascertain levels of psychosocial well-being of a sample of Irish primary principals (n = 488). A Framework of Occupational Well-Being was devised which facilitated the first psychometric measurement of their levels of burnout, job satisfaction, trait mindfulness, work motivation, perception of fairness and the satisfaction/frustration of basic psychological needs (autonomy, competence and relatedness). Subsequent interviews provided supporting qualitative data and an evaluation by principals of the current management structure of Irish primary schools, 90% of which are governed by Catholic Boards of Management to whom principals are answerable in all their professional decision making. As employers, Boards’ compliance with EU and Irish Occupational H&S directives is examined toward an understanding of the level of protection provided to principals. Results reveal high levels of burnout, anxiety, depression and autonomy frustration among principals alongside low levels of trait mindfulness and low perception of fairness regarding workload and remuneration. Beyond its application in the education sector, the Framework of Occupational Well-Being may prove useful for policy makers and as an assessment tool for employers of other white-collar workers as it provides both a definition of psychosocial well-being and a means by which to measure it.
  • Hibernia College Education Papers: Volume 5

    Kelly, Mary; Butler Neff, Linda; Corless, Mary; Curtin, Catherine; Doyle, Maria; Fanthom, Lorna; Jones, Emily; Joyce, Sarah; Aine, Murphy; O'Dowd, Stephen; et al. (2023)
    The School of Education is delighted to publish Volume Five of the Hibernia College Education Papers. On our Professional Master of Education programmes, students complete a 10,000-word dissertation as part of their Research module. The Research module emphasises lifelong learning through reflection. With the support of the Research team, students are encouraged to work independently and to demonstrate an ability to plan, implement and evaluate an empirical investigation that integrates theories, knowledge and skills central to the curriculum and is informed by their school placement practice
  • Curriculum for Inclusion

    Essex, Jane (2023-05)
    As part of our Research Webinar Series 2023, we are delighted to welcome Dr Jane Essex to share her insights and experience in the area of inclusion in education. Jane will present her research on how curriculum commonly functions as a way of excluding some learners and how it can, instead, be used a vehicle to enhance inclusion. Although the seminar will focus on primary and secondary science as a specific example, she will also show how the analysis can be applied effectively to a wide range of disciplines and curriculum areas, including literacy, PE and Art. Dr. Jane Essex is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Her main work is in the field of Initial Teacher Education. Her research focus is inclusion in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and her research focuses on how STEM can be made accessible to all learners. She is an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was awarded their Inclusion and Diversity Award in 2019. She has recently written her first book, Inclusive and Accessible Secondary Science: How to Teach Science Effectively to Students with Additional or Special Needs.
  • The role of story in strengthening intergenerational bonds in primary education

    Kernan, Margaret; McArdle, Fiona (2023-04)
    To mark Global Intergenerational Week (24th to 30th April 2023), Hibernia College is delighted to welcome Dr Margaret Kernan and Fíona Mc Ardle, who will present their work on intergenerational learning in primary education. They have collaborated with Children’s Books Ireland to highlight stories and storytelling as a way of strengthening intergenerational bonds and produced Share a Story, a carefully curated booklist for ages 0-12 featuring a diversity of friendships and relationships between old and young. They will also discuss other initiatives, in Ireland and internationally, that connect primary schools with community and illustrate a diversity of learning relationships between children and older adults. Our ageing population and the growing diversity of our communities calls for new perspectives on learning relationships. In this webinar you will hear about the benefits for children, for primary schools and community members of all ages of working intergenerationally. Dr Margaret Kernan is currently a Lecturer in Education and Research Methods in Hibernia College. Her research interests are in early childhood education; psycho-social wellbeing of children; play and learning and intergenerational learning. Margaret is also coordinator of the award-winning intergenerational learning programme Together Old and Young (TOY) http://www.toyproject.net/ Fíona McArdle is currently a Lecturer in Education, School Placement in Hibernia College and worked as a primary school principal prior to joining the college. Fíona also worked as a facilitator and coordinator with Rainbows Ireland for several years and taught kindergarten, in public schools, in the United Arab Emirates. Her research interests include areas of inclusion and diversity, leadership, and international, intercultural, and intersectional perspectives on children’s rights to, in and through education.
  • Assessing Students' Journeys From Theory To Practice In Intercultural Education

    Whitaker, Teresa; Kenny, Martin (AISHE, 2016)
    This paper reports on a Master's module on intercultural education. It explores current laws and policies on intercultural education. It examines the assessment of the module and presents three exemplar essays in which primary school teachers effectively implemented the intercultural guidelines in the classroom relating to ethnicity, religion and Traveller identity. The Intercultural Education Strategy recommends that teachers learn about intercultural education in order to promote a society based on values and principles so that human rights and democracy are safeguarded. The paper concludes that teachers internalised the key tenets of intercultural education, were reflective and reflexive practitioners and engaged in classroom strategies to educate young children on the importance of respecting diversity.
  • Embracing Changes Outdoors for Children Under 3, Pilot Study of a Community of Research and Practice: Evaluation Report

    Kernan, Margaret; Casey, Marianne; Dowdall, Marie (2023-04)
    The lack of attention to outdoor provision for babies and toddlers in ECEC practice and research was a key motivation to pilot a community of practice and research approach that would empower early childhood educators in Ireland to reflect on and improve their outdoor play and learning provision. Between May and November 2022, 11 educators from three ECEC services in the South Dublin region participated in the pilot. It was titled, Embracing Change Outdoors for Children Under 3 Community of Practice and Research (ECO-3). The cycle of change underpinning ECO-3 involved choosing to change; planning for change; creating the change; sharing first insights and sharing with others. This report documents the findings of the evaluation of ECO-3 which addressed the following questions: ) What impact did ECO-3 have on pedagogical practice, knowledge and time outdoors? 2) What features of ECO-3 process contributed to the participating early childhood educators to reflect and improve their outdoor play and learning provision? Evaluation methods included: a baseline and post ECO3 online questionnaire that was completed by the early childhood educators and mid-process reflection and evaluation activities. Amongst the findings were: that ECO-3 had the effect of early childhood educators broadening and deepening their understanding of outdoor play pedagogy in ECEC in general, and for children under 3. Furthermore, the most effective and valuable aspect of the ECO-3 approach for the was the opportunity it provided to exchange knowledge and experiences with colleagues from their own setting and with peers in other ECEC settings. These are other findings are discussed with reference to their implications for professional learning and development and further research.
  • Problematizing Second Language (L2) Learning using Emerging VR Systems

    Butler, Linda; Neff, Flaithri (Dublin Institute of Technology, 2015)
    There is little doubt that there is nothing like being immersed in the country of the language you are trying to learn. Not only do students who wish to learn English as a Second Language (ESL) enjoy the experience of inter-cultural learning contexts from a sensory and affective sense, it is often the case that they gain emotional and intellectual maturity while living abroad. The reality of travelling abroad to learn English however for many International students is often a difficult transitional one especially at pre-sessional or beginner/foundation levels in terms of language acquisition, expense, feelings of isolation while in some cases, struggling with pressures to maintain scholarships. As it stands, existing English language centres work hard to advance students onto higher levels of language competencies. They offer students opportunities to avail of further language courses, which help them progress onto undergraduate studies. As part of such programmes, colleges often plan visits to historical and cultural sites to encourage non-formal learning. Such trips often impart historical information, however, that is outside students’ immediate language levels, and this oversight does not optimise the experience as potentially pedagogical in developing competencies as outlined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). While not intending to replace present ESL courses, we propose that the use of VR systems can successfully compliment Internationalisation programmes in Ireland. The emergence of commercially available VR head-mounted displays offers opportunities for immersive ESL virtual environments. VR technology can enable spaces for creative learning structures during foundation/beginner courses by delivering VR-based learning within Irish virtual site visits from their home-based colleges. This will work to tailor courses to where students’ levels are at in actuality before they progress to their respective host Englishspeaking countries at higher levels in class-based environments. While in Ireland, it is envisaged that the VR supports will facilitate visits to on-site locations that are followed up by virtual site equivalents to maximise language learning in structured, innovative ways. VR can also engage with online colleges that do not have a physical campus in offering students a diversity of online courses while offering students the option to stay at home to best suit their own personal life situations. A collaborative project between researchers at Limerick Institute of Technology and Hibernia College Dublin aims to capture the structural and acoustic data of various historical buildings and iconic landmarks in Ireland. The acquisition of structural features will involve the use of a 3D laser scanner and a record of construction materials. The acquisition of acoustic data will involve measuring the impulse response of the space using a dodecahedron speaker, reference and binaural microphones. Using this data, digital equivalents incorporating spatial attributes of both auditory and visual modalities will be rendered for the Oculus Rift VR headset and standard headphones. These renders will seek to position both the ESL learner and English language lecturer at virtual Irish historical sites to articulate immersive learning to find full expression in realising the digital campus.
  • Comparing Online Learning with Blended Learning in a Teacher Training Program

    Kirwin, Susan; Swan, Julie; Breakwell, Nicholas (2009)
    This paper describes the establishment and delivery of a Blended Learning Higher Diploma in Education, being a professional qualification for Primary School teachers in Ireland. This innovative course represents a major departure from the traditional mode of delivery of teacher training in Ireland. A careful analysis of student feedback and examination scores is therefore of crucial importance to inform further development of the course and to contribute to innovation in teacher training both in Ireland and internationally. The two primary modes of course delivery, that is an Entirely Online mode and a Blended Learning mode, were compared in terms of qualitative feedback from the students themselves and quantitative results from the formal assessment procedures. Across a range of questions that covered learning outcomes and learner outcome satisfaction, balance of delivery, tutor and peer engagement, workload, technology and perceived career benefit, student satisfaction was shown to be good across both modes of delivery. Some differences were noted in workload and student support; workload was perceived higher, but student support was more satisfactory in the purely online elements. There was a small but significant grade improvement for Blended Learning courses over Entirely Online courses. However, alternative hypotheses make it difficult to attribute this grade increase to the mode of course delivery. The mode of delivery of course content does not affect student satisfaction or the ability of students to perform well in formal assessment. It is therefore concluded that a blended learning educational system that includes online education is a highly appropriate mode for the training of primary school teachers.
  • Essays on Intercultural Education - from Policy to Practice

    Whitaker, Teresa (Hibernia college, 2013)
    This is a compilation of essays written by twenty five students who were undertaking a module entitled ‘Intercultural education1’; one component of a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and Learning ‐ a Level 9 programme on the National Framework of Qualifications. These students were current teachers in various educational sectors including early childhood education and care, primary and post‐primary schools. The assessment for this module was a 3000‐word essay, based on a reflective analysis of the conduct of a designed classroom or school‐based intervention, aimed to promote intercultural awareness and improve social inclusion.
  • A CASE FOR USING SWIVL FOR DIGITAL OBSERVATION IN AN ONLINE OR BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

    McCoy, Selina; Lynam, Aoife; Kelly, Mary (Begell House, 2018)
    This paper examines the use of digital video in order to enhance professional development for online and blended learning programs in higher education, with particular reference to initial teacher education (ITE). While digital observation in the context of teacher education has been the subject of some discussion, the technology considered in this article is relatively new. Swivl is an innovative technology which allows for nonintrusive digital observation of, for example, school placement. The benefits of using digital observation for professional development are numerous, including the recording of information that may not otherwise be captured and allowing for the retaining of that information for reflection and analysis purposes. This paper assesses the potential benefits for both staff and students who work in an online and blended learning environment, as well as identifying some challenges this technology may present. The paper places a particular focus on the practical application of Swivl technology in a blended learning postgraduate program for ITE in Ireland. The aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to explore the use of an innovative technology called Swivl for online or blended higher education and (2) to present an overview of a proposed pilot study in which a randomized controlled trial group of student teachers (N = 50) will use Swivl to self-reflect during school placement. A second paper, in early 2019, will provide a detailed analysis of the impact of the use of digital technology in a treatment group as part of the pilot study
  • Embracing Changes Outdoors for Children Under Three

    Donnolly, Ciara; Fitzpatrick, Nicole; Giblin, Anna; Lynch, Chrissandra; Mahoney, Jackie; Murray, Geraldine; Murray, Geraldine; O’Neill, Gemma; Pilkington, Valerie; Casey, Marianne; et al. (Early Childhood Ireland, 2022-11-01)
  • Assessing children's psychosocial well-being: Norwegian early childhood education and care teachers’ challenges when completing a global screening tool

    Franck, Karianne; Seland, Monica; Rimul, Johanne; Sivertsen, Anne H; Kernan, Margaret (2022-11-03)
    In this article, the authors illustrate some of the challenges and dilemmas that Norwegian early childhood education and care teachers experienced when completing a global screening tool (UPSI-5: Universal Psychosocial Indicator for 5 Year Old Boys and Girls) concerning the psychosocial well-being of five-year-olds as part of an international research project. Based on interviews with 31 teachers, the authors present in-depth analysis of the critical reflections of 19 teachers concerning the assessment forms. While previous research has criticized standardized testing and screening in early childhood education and care, there is a need for the critical voices of practitioners to be heard. The aim of this article is to illustrate which aspects teachers find challenging and how they respond when in doubt. The authors found that teachers’ assessments are inextricably linked to the early childhood education and care context, and the values, ideas and norms that are prevalent in Nordic early childhood education and care settings.
  • BeSAD (Bereavement, Separation, and Divorce): The Response of Pre-service Teachers to Pupil Well-being

    Lynam, Aoife, M.; McConnell, Barbara; McGuckin, Conor (Doggett Print, 2018)
    The current research explored the frequency in which pre-service teachers encountered pupils during their placement (e.g. teaching practice) experiencing loss as a result of bereavement, separation and divorce (BeSAD). The research examined how they responded to BeSAD and the training they received at Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The report describes the findings of a mixed-method research programme involving a survey with pre-service teachers (N=354), and semi-structured interviews with experts (N=6) in the area of BeSAD. Centres for ITE provided a sample for the survey from Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (RoI). The quantitative component of the research indicated that nearly half of pre-service teachers had encountered pupils who had experienced some form of BeSAD. Respondents lacked confidence when supporting pupils experiencing BeSAD, particularly in relation to separation and divorce. Personal intuition was reported as the main way in which respondents support pupils experiencing bereavement and this was closely linked to their own personal experience of death. Nearly one quarter of respondents said that inability to concentrate in the classroom was the biggest impact on pupils. A decline in attendance was also noticed along with physical and emotional responses including withdrawn behaviour, fear of coming to school, and anxiety. Nearly half of respondents did not answer the question which could mean that no reaction was evidenced by these respondents. The majority of respondents were unaware if policy existed relating to BeSAD and stated that they had either not received training or if they had, it was "briefly". The interviews conducted with experts from NI and the RoI (N=6) identified a range of roles and responsibilities for teachers in supporting pupils who have experienced BeSAD. They identified the core role that teachers play as advocates for children and supporting families who have experienced BeSAD. They identified key challenges within the current education system for both jurisdictions and drew attention to core training needs required during ITE and through Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
  • Teaching, Learning, and Assessment during Covid-19: Reflections from the frontline of higher education

    Kelly, Mary; Lynam, Aoife, M. (Education Matters, 2020)
    This article explores how Hibernia College, as a higher education institution, adapted to full-time online teaching, learning, and assessment during Covid-19. It reflects on changing pedagogies and the formation of are imagined identity for teacher educators.
  • Integrating 21st-Century Skills into Irish Primary Schools: A Pilot Study on the Outcomes, Experiences and Observations of Teachers Prepared

    Meegan, John; Casey, Elva; O'Brien, Niamh (2022)
    The implementation of 21st-century skills and competency-based learning in European and OECD countries' educational curricula indicates affirmative action across global educational systems to develop a wider breadth of skills beyond traditional literacy and numeracy skills. There is broad agreement and significant common interest across national and international competency frameworks concerning the importance of 21st-century skills. This consensus is underpinned by the need for education to equip learners with transferable knowledge and skills rather than relying upon well-worn procedures. From the Irish primary school context, there is an explicit focus on, and pathway to, the development of 21st-century skills beginning with Aistear: The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and progressing to the development of the new draft Primary School Curriculum. This skills and competency pathway continues into post-primary school settings as students transition into the Junior and Senior Cycle stages of their education. With this explicit focus on competency and skills-based education, many schools seek to develop skills through innovative teaching methods or by employing specific skills-based interventions. This report presents a small-scale pilot study of the 'Magical Leaders' programme, a 21st-century skills intervention programme suitable for primary school students between 10 and 12 years of age. The mixed-methods study investigated teachers' attitudes and perspectives of the Magical Leaders programme, the 21st-century skills outcomes, the programme's resources and the core peer-to-peer teaching methodology. Using focus group discussions and adapted reliable and validated scales, the findings of this research have highlighted the positive development of students' 21st-century skills, teachers' and students' perspectives of engaging with the programme and the peer-to-peer teaching methodology. Several challenges to programme delivery were identified, including the programme's digital components, teacher training, lesson preparation time and adherence to programme fidelity.
  • Can teachers be trained online?

    Breakwell, Nicholas; Quigley, U.; McManus, A. (2005)
    This paper describes the establishment and delivery of a Blended Learning Higher Diploma in Education, being a professional qualification for Primary School teachers in Ireland. This innovative course represents a major departure from the traditional mode of delivery of teaching training in Ireland. A careful analysis of student feedback and examination scores is therefore of crucial importance to inform further development of the course and to contribute to innovation in teacher training both in Ireland and internationally. The two primary modes of course delivery, that is an Entirely Online mode and a Blended Learning mode, were compared in terms of qualitative feedback from the students themselves and quantitative results from the formal assessment procedures. Across a range of questions that covered perceived workload, satisfaction with objectives and learning outcomes and perceived career benefit, the mode of delivery had no effect on student levels of satisfaction with the course. There was a small but significant grade improvement for Blended Learning courses over Entirely Online courses. However, alternative hypotheses make it difficult to attribute this grade increase to the mode of course delivery. The mode of delivery of course content does not affect student satisfaction or the ability of students to perform well in formal assessment. It is therefore concluded that a blended learning educational system that includes online education is a highly appropriate mode for the training of primary school teachers.
  • The Results: Using Swivl for Digital Observation in an Online or Blended Learning Environment

    Lenehan, John; Lynam, Aoife; McCoy, Selina (2019)
    This paper is a follow-up article on the examination of the use of digital video to enhance professional development for online and blended learning programs in higher education. Our first article published on IJIOE presented a case for using Swivl robot for digital observation. The article provides particular reference to initial teacher education (ITE) and pre-service teachers. The results of a pilot study are examined to evidence pre-service teachers use of Swivl to self-reflect during school placement (i.e., time spent teaching in a classroom as part of an assessment). The results from the study provide strong evidence that the digital video footage created by pre-service teachers in order to self-reflect was highly supportive in developing their self-reflective practice and provides an overview of the usefulness of the technology employed. A more detailed overview of the project methodology can be found in our first paper: “A case for using Swivl for Digital Observation in an Online or Blended Learning Environment”. The aim of this paper is to provide the findings of this pilot study, its effectiveness within a blended learning college, and provide recommendations for those wishing to use similar technology.

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