Keep CALM and Carry On: A cross-national comparative study exploring formative assessment enactment in Ireland and Scotland
How formative assessment is enacted is not fully understood. This thesis explored formative assessment enactment in Ireland and Scotland with a specific focus on the factors that promote or inhibit enactment. The literature review revealed a gap in the research on how formative assessment is enacted in second level science classrooms, particularly in Ireland. The study employed a multi-site case study methodology with activity theory providing the theoretical lens. A sample of four second level schools (two in Ireland and two in Scotland), four school leaders, and eight science teachers with their lower second level science classes were recruited to the study. Data were gathered using interview, observation, video data, desk research, and the Q methodology. Qualitative data were coded using themes relating to formative assessment (Wiliam and Thompson, 2007) and activity theory (Engeström, 1987). Q data were analysed quantitively using PQ Method software (Schmolck & Atkinson, 2002). Findings from this thesis illustrated that in Ireland there is a strong focus on tools for formative assessment without consideration of its true purpose: improved learning and responsive teaching. While teachers plan to enact formative assessment, they were not using it to inform teaching and learning, thus students were unable to derive meaning from these practices. The cultural context of high stakes examinations in Ireland was also undermining formative assessment enactment. Scotland had a longer time with formative assessment in their Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Executive, 2004) however the data showed teachers were still not enacting formative assessment effectively. The findings add new knowledge to the scholarship on formative assessment. Most notably a model for formative assessment enactment is presented: the CALM model (cultural context, assessment literacy, meaning making). In addition, this thesis uncovered a variety of factors that were influencing formative assessment enactment including curriculum, whole school initiatives, professional development, school community, teacher professional identity, and teacher student relationships.
The Irish Teacher: Origins, Identity and Contribution in the 19th Century.
The study examines teacher identity within the narrative of nineteenth century education in Ireland. The research aims to address a significant lacuna around the social origins and character of the teachers employed by the Commissioners of National Education, in the decades following the establishment of the primary education system in 1831.Utilising a methodological framework of primarily documentary analysis, aspects of identity which contributed to historical Irish teacher identity are considered. The source material to date is primarily drawn from the National Archives of Ireland and official reports from the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland during the period in question. It is envisioned that the findings will serve to inform those tasked with the administration and creation of education policy, with particular emphasis around teacher professional identity and the promotion of teacher diversity.
A Counter-Narrative Study on Racialized Micro-aggressions in Post-Primary Contexts from Perspectives of Individuals from different Ethnic and Racial Minority Groups.
My research proposes an exploration of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic students' experience of racial microaggressions in school during their years in post-primary education in Ireland and the resultant impact thereof. Most participants that engaged in a documentary examining racism in Ireland reported that they had never spoken about the racial abuse that they suffered. Considering the Irish State’s reluctance to acknowledge racism and the evidence suggesting that experiences of racism are often denied in Irish society including by key politicians and officials my study employs a counter storytelling technique to challenge this master narrative that is based on the social and cultural history of the dominant race). Stories are critical since they give voice to marginalised and often silenced people. The hidden transcripts or counter-narratives of subordinate groups are crucial as they confirm the experience of the ‘othered’ and bear witness to their lived reality in the face of a dominant culture that oftentimes distorts, stereotypes, and marginalises that reality.
Racism in Ireland is an under-theorized area calling for specific as opposed to generalised accounts of racism and racialization. Understanding how students experience racism in their school lives can provide critical insights to develop appropriate policies and practices to tackle racism at local school level. In the context of our increasingly diverse classrooms, investigating experiences of racial micro-aggressions in academic settings is essential for informing interventions aimed at producing inclusive classrooms, and empowering people to recognise and stop micro-aggressions when they occur.
The Perception of Teachers' Professionalism: A Comparative Case Study of Irish and Vietnamese Teachers
My thesis focuses on how Irish teachers and Vietnamese teachers perceive their professionalism (i.e, autonomy, knowledge and skills development, professional and organisational commitment, prestige and standing). From a comparative approach with ethnography (observation), qualitative (interviews, focus group discussion), and quantitative (survey) methods, my thesis attempts to explore the similarities and differences between teachers' perception of their professionalism in two countries. Additionally, from juxtaposition of the data, I wish to develop a casual model from a hypothesis: school organisation and national education system in each country influence teachers' perception of their professionalism.
The Role of Continued Professional Development (CPD) in the Transformation of Health Professions Educators (HPE)
Health Professions Educators (HPE) are teaching health professionals who may have backgrounds in medicine, nursing, lab clinician work, science, teaching, language, lecturing or any other teaching area applied to healthcare education. While effective teaching is a skill that can be developed through years of observations, training and practice, being a content expert does not necessarily correlate to being a teaching expert. This research investigated the role of professional development on the transformation of HPEs and their own understanding of their teaching practice.
An Investigation into the Barriers which Exist for Students and Parents to Access Additional Learning Support at Second Level.
My project aims to contribute to understanding the barriers which exist for some cohorts of parents and students to access additional learning support. The present allocation system appears to favour those parents who are conversant in the workings of the school's additional needs system who are well placed to make use of the informal dialogue that takes place on a regular basis between parents and additional needs coordinators. In contrast, some other groups of students and their parents may not have the same access to or knowledge of the school's additional needs infrastructure, and as a result their children are underrepresented on the school's list of students with identified additional needs who are in receipt of additional learning support. The questions my work seeks to address are around the relationships that exist within the second level school system in relation to the access of additional learning support.
Formations of Togetherness: An Art-Based Inquiry with Immigrant Teachers.
This study aims to explore the phenomenon of human togetherness as encountered by the researcher and the participants in addressing individual positionings, feelings of belonging and solidarity. It adopts a relational ontology to conceptualise new ways of togetherness that are not delineated by shared identities but by processes of becoming. The study questions: What kinds of relational forms are created when the difference among co-researchers is understood not in terms of who they are but as the unique way of responding to each other? What does an emerging space that considers the bodies, things, time and lived place, alongside with the human, look like? In what ways can an emerging subjectivity engender an orientation towards solidarity as a decolonial way of living? This study will be carried out with immigrant teachers in Ireland employing art-based and participatory methods. It will be informed by Sharon Todd’s concepts of ‘relationality’, ‘becoming present’, ‘liminal spaces’ and ‘embodiment’, in conversation with Rosi Braidtotti’s notion of ‘nomadic subjectivity’ and Karen Barad’s ‘intra-activity’. This hopes to shed light on the complex, messy and ambiguous nature of our entanglements with human and non-human others as a process of negotiating one’s existence. In this way, the study moves away from discourses of socialisation and representation which tend to smoothen the complexities of relational encounters and forms of solidarity
Dancing with death: Life-Affirming Teachings in and for Unsettling Times.
Theoretical in nature, the principal aim of this research is to (re)formulate understandings of death beyond the duality of life and death and weave in its teachings for learning about the conditions of liveability for a precarious future attuned to present conditions. Simply put, in this thesis, death will act as a teacher in the context of profound ecological change and extinctions and already ensuing adverse social consequences. The theoretical framework for this study is located at the convergence of the critical posthumanities, the environmental humanities, and educational theories with a concern for aesthetics. I adopt a relational ontology to analyse the transformative potential of death, and discuss its associated notions, such as dying, absence, fragility, and impermanence – notions that have been well-covered up within modernist conceptions of education – while withstanding fantasies of immortality and deathlessness. Within an affirmative ethical framework, my hope with this work is to offer a different educational perspective, foregrounding relational modes of endurance and healing in unsettling times, and further argue that teaching about life is to be taught by death too.
The Montessori school as a 'Healing' Environment: Translating Childhood Trauma Research into Effective Trauma -Informed Educational Practice
This research aims to empower Montessori and early years teachers to help children impacted by adversity (which includes neglect, abuse, etc.) and trauma (which includes exposure to one or more extremely stressful experiences), through the design of a new CPD programme on Montessori-attuned, trauma-informed practice, which will then be delivered and scientifically tested and evaluated in a number of schools in 2022/2023.
The ECCE Routine: Facilitating or Hindering Children’s Participation Rights?
The aim of this research study is to understand the embodied experiences of children navigating the ECCE routine of an early years setting and how this influences, alters and produces practice. This research involves testing out an innovative method of documentation where children will use GoPro cameras to capture their direct experiences. Using video recall in weekly focus groups, children and educators will reflect on children's video-recorded experiences as a way to critique and analyse ECCE practice while exploring current power dynamics within the ECCE routine and its impact on children’s ability to exercise their participation rights.
Exploring the Relationship Between Prison Education and Criminological Theories of Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Desistance: A Multi-Stakeholder Study.
This research aims to gain an insight into the experience of prison education in Ireland and how this experience relates to the criminological theories and processes of reintegration, rehabilitation, and desistance. It endeavours to bring the fields of criminology and education into conversation with one another, exploring how these fields intersect. It aims to examine the relationship between the philosophy underpinning prison education in Ireland and philosophies underpinning criminological theories of rehabilitation, reintegration, and desistance.
Working with Art on Existential Questions. Enhancing a Normative Orientation in the Curriculum of Social Workers
I am conducting a doctoral study on the pedagogical use of social art in social work concerning existential questions. The central assumption in this project is that relative to the traditional instrumental use of creative means, engaging in social art leads to an existential encounter with and understanding human beings as an existential value for social workers. My premise is that when Social Work students engage in visual art when working with people, contributing to well-being on the existential level will be possible. Overall, the ambition of my project is to position social art in social work curricula to educate on existential matters. The focus of my project is on a practical curricular question: How can social work students be sufficiently prepared to engage visual arts for addressing existential issues?