The Education Studies Team in St Mary’s have considerable experience working in all sectors of education from Nursery through Primary, Post-primary and Further and Higher Education, as well as the Curriculum Advisory and Support Service and the Educational Psychology Service.
Education Studies tutors work with all students on the four years of the BEd (Hons) Degree programme. In addition, the tutors have a significant input into the PGCE and MEd programmes offered by St Mary’s. Education Studies classes comprise of lectures, seminars and workshpos which provide students with the opportunity to engage with their studies in a range of different contexts.
Education Studies courses address the theoretical, knowledge-based foundations of educational study as well as emphasising the pedagogy of working with and educating children. Since much of the students’ work in attaining the Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree is competence-based, within all courses, there is a strong emphasis on the principles of effective teaching and learning and those of classroom management.
In Year 1, issues related to reflective practice, child development and children as learners in schools in Northern Ireland are addressed. In year 2, the focus is on learning, the development of children’s thinking and related skills and the Personal and Social Development of pupils. In addition, across years 1 and 2, there is a strong emphasis placed on the development of competence and the students’ professional development as teachers. Professional Development and School Experience (PDSE) classes are specifically dedicated to professional development issues and the preparation for school experience.
In year 3, students have the opportunity to study a range of courses which are specifically tailored to their chosen phase e.g. Nursery/Foundation, Key Stage 1/2 and Post Primary. Courses in Special Educational Needs, and Literacy and Numeracy across the curriculum also form a large component of the third year programme.
The Education Studies Team regards Year 4 as an important preparation for the transition between the students’ college life and work and the professional world of the school and the classroom. To help bridge this gap, the students are provided with a course on Professional Issues and a menu of Education Studies modules from which they can select, according to their particular area of interest. The modules cover a wide range of relevant issues related to contemporary school and classroom practice. There is a strong research element within these modules and the assessment instrument is a classroom-based research project.
Head of Education: Dr Martin Hagan