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Mon., Mar 25, 2019
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Two Teaching Council Research Awards for the Education Department

Two Teaching Council Research Awards for the Education Department

The recipients of the Teaching Council’s Professor John Coolahan Research Support Framework awards 2017/2018 were announced recently. At a special ceremony held in Dublin, a total of 33 research studies, spanning a variety of themes, across all levels of the education system, were awarded funding under the new framework. Two research projects in the Education Department in St. Angela’s College were among the successful recipients. They include a study by Dr. Kathryn McSweeney and a second study by the research team of Dr. Deirdre Harvey, Dr. Louise Lehane and Ms. Kate Mohan.

Dr. Kathryn McSweeney is supporting Home Economics teachers in their use of a Lesson Study approach to enhance pedagogical practice, student learning and organisational development. The project aims to develop ‘communities of practice’ within schools and to empower teachers to work collaboratively on the improvement of teaching and learning practice. In contrast to mentor-mentee and coaching contexts, the core of the Lesson Study process is its peer-to-peer approach. Its key features are self and collective reflection, experimenting with teaching techniques and sharing experience. Dr. Kathryn McSweeney explained her role in the project: “As a University-researcher, my goal is to support Home Economics teachers in the implementation of Lesson Study cycles in their schools and to disseminate evidence of best practice.”

The second research study, under the team of Dr. Deirdre Harvey, Dr. Louise Lehane and Ms. Kate Mohan, will investigate student teachers’ collaborative experiences during school placement.  Empirical literature and policymakers point to the significance of teacher collaboration on a number of fronts; improving their instructional quality and classroom practices as well as stimulating and renewing professional growth. However, the reality on the ground in implementing teacher collaboration and the perceived barriers and opportunities in this pursuit, are relatively under researched, particularly from the student teacher perspective. Consequently, this study will investigate student teachers’ collaborative practices in their upcoming school placement. It is hoped that the findings will further our understanding of the role of school placement in influencing student teachers’ attitudes towards collaboration and in developing their competencies in this regard.
Pictured at the Research Support Framework Awards ceremony (l to r) are:
Dr. Deirdre Harvey, Dr. Kathryn McSweeney, Professor John Coolahan and Dr. Louise Lehane

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