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Where To Now?: Human Rights Education On This Island, These Islands And Beyond


Dr Gerard McCann from the College is collaborating with Rowan Oberman from Dublin City University on a project funded by the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS). The project received the funding in 2017 and it will take the form of a series of research-informed lectures that explore the role of teachers and teacher educators in advancing human rights. The two researchers refer to human rights frameworks providing legislative and ethical structures, which have shaped societal responses to many of the greatest challenges faced by individuals, organisations and institutions across the island of Ireland and beyond (Waldron & Ruane, 2010). Yet still, the human rights of individuals and the instruments developed to uphold these rights are under threat. Therefore, each of the lectures within the yearlong series will consider education’s role in promoting human rights.
The series of research-informed lectures will explore also the role of teachers and teacher educators in advancing human rights. Building upon the recognised position of human rights within the education systems North and South, the series will consider how human rights education can play a role in strengthening human rights frameworks and contributing towards meeting myriad local, national and global challenges. It will offer insight into the following questions: What role can human rights education take in facing the challenges faced by communities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? What role can human rights education play in tackling inequality and discrimination and strengthening the pursuit of a just and equitable peace across the island of Ireland, and throughout these islands? What role can human rights education play in tackling the escalating global issues with which we are now faced? For further details, please contact Gerard McCann.



Religions And Beliefs In Changing Times: Perspectives Of Student Stakeholders In Third Level Irish Educational Contexts


The Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) awarded funding in 2017 for a joint research project involving Rev Dr Niall Coll from the College and other academic scholars from the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Institute of Technology, Stranmillis University College and Ulster University. The project is a multi-strand, inter-institutional, inter-disciplinary initiative and aims to: provide a systematic and critical literature review of ‘Religion and Belief in Ireland’ (2000-2017); obtain the perspectives of second year higher education student stakeholders through an anonymous on-line survey; explore perspectives of students on religions and beliefs through self-selected focus groups; and highlight key issues for policy and professional practice(s). The focus for this study is the perspectives of student stakeholders in six higher education institutions, their awareness of religious and belief diversity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the implications for their professional practice. The originality of this project lies in the fact that there is a lacuna in the literature on awareness and perceptions of religions and beliefs among higher education students in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This exploratory, multi-disciplinary research project is apposite at a time of growing intolerance and hate crime/speech in an increasingly polarised society, which challenges the ideology of inter-culturalism (DES 2005 & 2006). This has implications for how one responds to ‘difference’ in terms of policy impact and professional practice(s). There is a deficit in research and literature focusing on the higher education student population, and this study will strive to understand higher education students’ attitudes to a belief diverse society involving newly arrived immigrant and refugee groups. This will enable better reflection on key issues for student stakeholders, which will impact on professional practice. For further details, please contact Niall Coll.



The Culturally Diverse Classroom: Exploring Opportunities And Challenges


The Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) awarded funding in April 2016 for a joint research project involving Dr Maria Campbell from St Angela’s College, Sligo and Peter Stevenson from the College. The project, which has two broad aims, will take place during the 2016-2017 academic year.
The first aim is to support student teachers to adapt their pedagogies in order to provide the optimum learning experience for all the pupils in their culturally diverse classrooms. To this end, the project will focus on the area of Critical Media Literacy and endeavour to provide student teachers with the analytical tools to critique popular media. This will help them to unpack the hidden messages and subtext contained in the representation of immigrants and minorities so student teachers can be cognisant of the images and media they select in their teaching. It will also enable them to support their pupils to critically engage with popular media in general.
The second aim of the project is to engage in a meaningful way with the continuum of teacher education by hosting a one-day event which explores the opportunities and challenges that the culturally diverse classroom poses for educators. This event aims to bring together representatives from various educational stakeholders but primarily student teachers, initial teacher education providers, school principals and teachers. It may also include school inspectors and representatives from curriculum development units. The main purpose of the event is to examine key issues facing educators in the culturally diverse classroom and to explore ways in which the theoretical concepts of initial teacher education may be transferred into pedagogical practices and inform policy development, in order to provide the optimum learning experience for all pupils. For further details, please contact Peter Stevenson.



Teachers’ Pedagogical Work And Well-Being


A research project involving two senior lecturers from the College - Paddy Tally and Dr Elaine McLaughlin, in collaboration with Dr Timothy Murphy and Dr Patricia McNamara from the University of Limerick, received funding from the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) in May 2016.
The project will focus specifically on teacher well-being. The project partners are especially interested in exploring how pedagogical well-being is manifested in challenging educational contexts and will identify a school in Northern Ireland as well as one in the Republic of Ireland. It is intended that the framing research question will examine what good pedagogical well-being looks like in practice, in other words, how do teachers conceptualize their own pedagogical well-being?
Two schools will be invited to participate in the project. The teachers in the schools will be invited to complete a survey on well-being related to the project. There will also be the opportunity for follow-up interviews with up to four teachers in each school. The survey and follow-up interviews will seek to elicit the teachers’ perceptions and experiences of pedagogical well-being and their overall sense of well-being. It is intended then that the project will adopt a mixed-methods approach.
The intention is to capture information on what contributes to teacher effectiveness, especially in terms of pedagogy, notwithstanding the challenging and difficult contexts in which teachers can work. By inviting teachers to articulate these understandings, it is anticipated that the ensuing research could offer insights and perspectives which could be instructive for teachers who are newly qualified and who may be taking up posts of responsibility as teachers in challenging schools. For further details, please contact Paddy Tally.