Thesis Title/ Topic area:
Dancing with Death: Life-Affirming Teachings in Unsettling Times
Supervisor(s): Professor Sharon Todd, Angela Rickard
Short Biography: My educational journey began with a passion for the arts: trained as a professional dancer, and working with visual media (video and photography), I dedicated myself for over ten years to experimenting with embodied and aesthetic modes of creation. Parallel to my artistic practice, I pursued a BA in International Relations at the University of Geneva (2011-2014), graduating with the first prize for Best Research Project. A newfound love for theory and research became an integral part of my journey. In 2018, after completing an MSc in Educational Studies at the University of Glasgow (with Distinction), I was awarded a Graduate Teaching Studentship at Maynooth University in 2019, where I began my doctoral work exploring the educational value of death in a time of planetary unrest. To this day, my curious spirit dances between the field of philosophy of education, critical posthuman theories, the environmental humanities, art and aesthetics, death and dying.
Two recent publications:
Bertoldo, J. C. (2023). Reimagining Death in an All-Too-Human World: A Pedagogical Exploration of Pinar Yoldas’ Ecosystem of Excess. Research in Arts and Education, 2023(2), 21–31. https://doi.org/10.54916/rae.126841
Bertoldo, J. C. (In press). Thinking with Death: An educational proposition in the interest of publicness. Philosophy of Education
Thesis Title/ Topic area: The Irish National Teacher: Forty formative years; origins, identity and contributions, 1831-1871
Supervisor(s): Dr Thomas Walsh, Dr Anthony Malone
Short Biography: A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick and accredited with the Teaching Council, John has worked as a primary school teacher in a variety of education settings in Ireland. He holds a Master's degree from the Institute of Education at University College London for original research within the discipline of History of Education. In 2020 John was awarded the prestigious John and Pat Hume Doctoral Scholarship from Maynooth University for his proposal to examine Irish teacher identity in nineteenth century Ireland. He has presented papers internationally at the History of Education Society Conference UK, and most recently at the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE) Budapest. John is currently employed at Marino Institute as Assistant Lecturer in History and Policy of Education, where he teaches on the B. Ed, B.Oid and B.Sc. Education Studies programmes.
Thesis Title/ Topic area: Invisible and unheard?: young people in residential care & education
Supervisor(s): Dr Catriona O’Toole, Professor Aislinn O’Donnell
Short Biography: Using a participatory methodology, this research aims to explore what it is like being a young person in Ireland living in residential care while going to secondary school in collaboration with young people as co-researchers. In light of the new Department of Children, Equality, Disability and Youth’s National Framework for Youth Participation and the Ryan Report’s call for more involvement of young people in the development of their care, this research functions under the notion that young people are experts not only in their lives but in the institutions within which they live and grow. Theoretically framed by anarchist principles of skill-sharing, consensus-making and horizontality, we will use arts-based methods developed from Irish and international socially-engaged artists to develop a co-constructed data set. These findings will be displayed in a semi-public event for professionals, educators and policy makers with the goal of developing dialogue and information sharing concerning the unique educational needs of this population between young people and the adults tasked with their care. It will also ask these adults to reflect on how the perspectives of young people can impact future policy and practice within residential care and child protection more broadly.
Thesis Title/ Topic area:
A counter-narrative study on racialized microaggressions in post-primary contexts from the perspectives of individuals from different ethnic and racial minority groups.
Supervisor(s): Dr Bernie Grummell, Professor Sharon Todd
Short Biography: My area of interest is Race and Ethnicity in Education. 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. My study employs a counter storytelling technique to provide a platform for the often-silenced voices and stories of marginalized communities.
Thesis Title/ Topic area: Sustainability Education, Teacher Education
Supervisor(s): Dr. Joe Oyler, Angela Rickard
Short Biography: My research will attempt to offer space for student-teachers, who will be tasked with teaching sustainability content, to build an understanding around social sustainability and the wider sustainability conversation. Some ideas I will be exploring are around how space for criticality and reflection might impact pedagogical thinking for social sustainability, and if it has an impact on overall understanding of sustainability. De-centring humans and reconciling our relationship with non-humans within our communities. How student-teachers are understanding social sustainability and its place in their classrooms.
Thesis Title/ Topic area:
Exploring the Use of Translanguaging in a Primary English Class in Beijing: A Linguistic Ethnography Study/ Translanguaging, second language acquisition，Bilingualism and Multilingual Education
Supervisor(s): Dr. Céline Healy, Dr. Maija Salokangas
Short Biography: My name is Sichen Huangfu. My bachelor’s and master’s studies in the English language have laid a good foundation for me in the field of language acquisition theory and practice. After my master’s graduation, I chose to become an English teacher in The Elementary School Affiliated to the Renmin University of China due to my passion for languages and education. I have encountered and taught students with different family backgrounds and academic levels. I have found that many local students in Beijing have been exposed to English at an early age and often attain high levels of English proficiency. Meanwhile, students from other places in China often study English at a later age and are not as confident at expressing themselves. Hence, I started to explore effective ways to help students from diverse backgrounds and with different levels of English proficiency in my future research.
In addition to my working experience, I have developed my research skills through participating in several research projects. These projects focused on helping students with English pronunciation, the application of technology in subject teaching, as well as the development of students' core literacy skills using the whole-book approach. Based on my research in this area, I have published two journal articles and presented my findings at a conference entitled “The 3rd International Conference on Literature, Art and Human Development”.
Two recent publications:
Huangfu, S. (2021). Using Drama as a Teaching Method to Improve the Core Quality of Primary School Students. Educational Sciences, 3(6), 202-203.
Huangfu, S. (2021). Exploration of Phonetic Teaching Mode for Lower Grades of Primary Schools Based on Letter-Land. English on Campus (29),137-138.
Huangfu, S., Ouyang, Y., & Meng, X. (2021). An Investigation of the Cultural Awareness Cultivation in Primary School English Teaching: A Case Study. In The 3rd International Conference on Literature, Art and Human Development (ICLAHD 2021) (pp. 219-227). Atlantis Press.
Thesis Title/ Topic area: Formations of publicness in an overheating climate: Exploring public pedagogy as cultural praxis through the intersection of art and education in European Space
Supervisor(s): Prof. Hana Cervinkova (Anthropology), Prof. Sharon Todd (Education)
Short Biography: Katharina is a PhD student who is interested in staging interdisciplinary discourses, most recently through engaging the disciplines of anthropology and education in their shared emphasis on relationality, embodiment and the formation of public spaces in the age of increasing privatization. She is currently conducting multi-sited ethnographic research in three European countries, including Ireland and Poland, focusing on long-term community-based projects that stage encounters between art and education to generate public dialogue and build bridges within and across transnational contexts divided by differently internalized borders and other markers of difference (e.g. nationality, gender). Drawing on posthuman, feminist, and affect theory, her research is particularly concerned with the generation of new cultural and political alternatives that respond to the urgent needs of an overheating assemblage of human and non-human inhabitants in times of rapid, urgent and uneven transformation.
Two recent publications:
‘Listening to Radio Silence in Virtual University Teaching and Learning’. 2022 (Kurz, K.) In Educational Forum (Forum Oświatowe) June 2022, Vol 34, No 1(67) https://forumoswiatowe.pl/index.php/czasopismo/article/view/831/550
‘Can dialogue help police officers and young Black adults understand each other? Key findings from a restorative process’. November 2023 (Marder, I., Kurz, K.) In Policing and Society, DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2023.2279067
Thesis Title/ Topic area: Teacher Agency in Curriculum Making: A Critical Analysis
Supervisor(s): Dr Maija Salokangas, Dr Elizabeth O’Brien
Short Biography: In my study, I examine the ongoing curriculum reforms in Georgia, focusing on the impact of these reforms on teacher agency and system-wide curriculum making practices. Globally, educational reforms have been converging towards 21st-century skills, student-centered learning, and innovative pedagogical approaches. This study specifically explores how these reforms in Georgia have influenced teacher's roles in curriculum-making.
Central to this research is an exploration of how the newly implemented Georgian National Curriculum framework impacts the ways in which teachers exercise their agency within the enacted curriculum. Subsidiary questions delve into the processes of curriculum-making across different institutional sites, the articulation of teacher agency in the curriculum, and teachers' perceptions and exercise of their agency in the classroom.
The conceptual framework for the study is based on Priestley and Philippou's understanding of curriculum-making as a complex, context-specific process with non-linear power dynamics. This study will use an ecological model of teacher agency, examining how agency is affected by cultural, structural, and material factors.
Expected outcomes include a foundational understanding of curriculum-making as an interlocking series of social practices, the impact of the reforms on teacher agency, and recommendations for future curriculum development.
Thesis Title/ Topic area: An exploratory multiple case study examining positive leadership in Irish second level schools
Supervisor(s): Dr. Rose Dolan & Dr. Jolanta Burke
Short Biography: This multiple case exploratory study aims to explore whether a positive leadership approach is a contributing factor to excellent leadership in Irish second level schools. Theoretically, positive leadership represents an umbrella approach to leadership rooted in strategies from positive psychology and positive organisational scholarship. In 2018, a new circular was issued by the DES outlining a significant change in post primary school leadership policy and a shift to a distributed leadership framework in schools. This change in practice has come at a time when school leaders have had to navigate reforms in terms of the reporting of the overall performance of schools and new approaches to curriculum and assessment where the use of technology has become a more prominent feature of planning. Additionally, a global pandemic as well as separate social, economic and political issues has had implications for the roles of school leaders. Traditionally, studies on organisational performance reflect a problem-centered approach where improvement focusses on overcoming issues. This study aims to understand whether a positive approach to leadership has contributed to school leadership teams excelling in their roles despite the considerable challenges that they have faced.