Dr Suzanne O’Keeffe

Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education

Lecturer / Assistant Professor

School of Education
SE326
(01) 474 7404

Biography

Dr. Suzanne O'Keeffe
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4344-2488
Suzanne O’Keeffe is Assistant Professor of Education in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth University, Ireland. Her work focuses on sociological questions in education, with a particular interest in questions of gender and masculinities. Areas of interest include care, children and childhood, teachers’ daily lives and feminist research designs. Recent publications include Masculinities and Teaching in Primary Schools (2022, Palgrave MacMillan).

Most recent publications include:
O'Keeffe, S. (2023). New Modes of Marginalisation: Teachers’ Ways of Knowing Themselves. In Säfström, C.A. & Biesta, G. (Eds). The New Publicness of Education: Democratic Possibilities after the Critique of Neo-Liberalism. London / NY: Routledge

O'Keeffe, S. (2022). Masculinities and Teaching in Primary Schools. Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education. Available online at: bfm:978-3-030-93994-6/1 (springer.com) 



Research Interests

Care Theory; Education; Feminist Research Designs; Gender and Gender Role Expectations; Masculinities.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Teaching & Learning Approaches to EDI and SDG 5 - Gender Equality Co-investigator VIT&L Week 2021 Dr Gemma Irvine, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at Maynooth University will share her experiences and insights on practices to date in integrating gender in the curriculum in the HE sector. The session will be followed by audience Q&A. 1500
‘Integrating the gender dimension into teaching, learning and educational outreach in initial teacher education’ Co-investigator The Gender Equality Taskforce1, states that HEIs have a responsibility to ensure that all their graduates are gender-aware and in particular ITE providers have a responsibility to educate teachers who greatly influence the society of the future. Pre-service teachers receive little if any specific training on the impact of gender in the classroom. As a result, educators lack knowledge around gender identity diversity . There is also a significant gender imbalance across teachers working in the Irish education system, specifically at primary level. Therefore, it is pertinent that teachers are educated in how gender influences teaching, the curriculum, and the lives of students in the classroom and how to minimise gender bias in their teaching practices . For this to be realised in the Irish education system, we need to begin with teacher educators and ensure that the above-mentioned areas are explored across all subject areas and across all levels in ITE, in-order for coherent systemic change to be achieved. 19000
Contested Childhoods across Borders and Boundaries: A North-South Comparative Study Collaborator / Researcher This project addresses a significant void in the literature on the under-researched topic of the history of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ireland. The research aims to map out and critically analyse potential variations in the developmental pathways taken by ECEC north and south of the border post-partition in Ireland. It will trace the journey from the 1908 Children’s Act and explore the Child-State relationship North and South to the present day. We are particularly interested in issues of children's voice and agency, and constructions of childhood. We wish to examine the shift in thinking from the very progressive ideals evident in the first democratic programme of the government in the Irish Free State towards the education system that subsequently emerged. It will also explore the parallel journey north of the border. 01/06/2019 30/06/2020
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE): enhancing students' confidence, competence and pedagogical skills. Lead Noting the complex challenges faced by teachers in delivering Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) as highlighted in the NCCA’s December 2019 RSE report, as well as the growing concern about wellbeing within the new Primary Curriculum framework (2026), this initiative aims: 1. To support, through dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge, student teachers’ confidence and competence in the provision of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE); 2. To become confident in using the language and terminology associated with RSE pedagogy and practice; 3. To unpack RSE in terms of personal experiences, assumptions, biases, as well as historical contexts, in order to enhance the overall experiences of teaching, and learning, this subject. 05/09/2022 30/06/2023
Sociology of Education: a way to bring student teachers into a relational understanding of the world. Researcher This project engages with students in terms of their own understandings, beliefs and experiences regarding sociology of education. The research is based on students’ understanding of what societal topics a “Sociology of Education” mini-module should address and the pedagogical /instructional design that may accompany each topic. 
Crucial Conversations: Exploring Parental Voice and Parental Rights regarding the Provision of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Irish Primary Schools PI This project aims to explore views and perspectives of parents regarding Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Irish primary schools and parents are key stakeholders in this complex area. We have identified 5th and 6th class as a key moment in both policy and practice in relation to RSE in primary schools. This project is funded by a Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute Small Grant.

Book

Year Publication
2022 O'Keeffe, S. (2022) Masculinities and Teaching in Primary Schools. Exploring the Lives of Irish Male Teachers. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2021 O'Keeffe, S. (2021) 'Artificial boundaries? Shaping policy through empowering research' In: Recruiting and Educating the Best Teachers: Policy, Professionalism and Pedagogy. Netherlands : Brill Publishers. [Full-Text]
2020 O'Keeffe, S. (2020) 'Quality Teachers and Quality Teacher Education Exploring Wellbeing, Gender and Job Satisfaction' In: Studies on Quality Teachers and Quality In-service Teacher Education. Warsaw : Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE) Publications. [Link] [DOI]
2022 O’Keeffe, S. (2022) 'Identities at Work: The Staffroom, Playground, and School Environment' In: Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education. [Link] [DOI]
2022 O’Keeffe, S. (2022) 'Introduction' In: Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education. [Link] [DOI]
2022 O’Keeffe, S. (2022) 'Masculinities and Non-human Bodies' In: Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education. [Link] [DOI]
2022 O’Keeffe, S. (2022) 'Connecting Power, Emotions, and Materiality Through Data Analysis' In: Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education. [Link] [DOI]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2021 O’Toole L.; McClelland D.; Forde D.; O'Keeffe S.; Purdy N.; Säfström C.A.; Walsh T. (2021) 'Contested childhoods across borders and boundaries: Insights from curriculum provisions in Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State in the 1920s'. British Educational Research Journal, 47 (4):1021-1038. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3708 [Full-Text]
2021 Biesta G.; Heugh K.; Cervinkova H.; Rasiński L.; Osborne S.; Forde D.; Wrench A.; Carter J.; Säfström C.A.; Soong H.; O’Keeffe S.; Paige K.; Rigney L.I.; O’Toole L.; Hattam R.; Peters M.A.; Tesar M. (2021) 'Philosophy of education in a new key: publicness, social justice, and education; a South-North conversation'. Educational Philosophy and Theory, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 O’Keeffe S. (2022) 'Conclusion'. Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education, :81-90. [DOI]
2022 O’Keeffe S. (2022) 'Emotions and Reshaping Masculinities'. Palgrave Studies In Gender And Education, :39-56. [DOI]
2021 O' Keeffe, S (2021) 'Artificial boundaries? Shaping policy through empowering research'. Irish Educational Studies, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 (2017) 'How do you teach like a man?'. Intouch Magazine, .
2017 (2017) 'EQUALITY, INCLUSION AND OPPORTUNITY: CONTEMPORARY IRISH SCHOOLS AND MODERN MASCULINITIES'. European Journal Of Education Studies, . [DOI]
2017 (2017) 'Doing Feminist Research: The Interview as Method'. Sage Research Methods Cases, . http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526403889
2016 (2016) 'What are male teachers' understandings of masculinities?- An exploration of sex, bodies, and gender in Irish primary schools'. Palgrave Communications, . [DOI]
2020 O' Keeffe, S; Skerritt, C (2020) 'Exploring teacher identity using poststructural tools'. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Ring, E.; O'Sullivan, L.; O'Keeffe, S.; Ferris, F. and Wall, E. (2019) 'Transforming the Lives of Early Childhood Teachers, Autistic Children and their Families: Findings and Recommendations from an Evaluation of a Programme of Continuing Professional Development'. The Adult Learner, . [Full-Text]
2018 O'Keeffe, S (2018) 'Experiences of care labour, gender and work for men who teach young children'. Palgrave Communications, 4 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 O'Keeffe S.; Deegan J. (2018) 'Gendered positionality among Irish male primary teachers: the staff room as a site of performative masculinity'. Irish Educational Studies, 37 (3):373-389. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 O'Keeffe S. (2016) 'What are male teachers’ understandings of masculinities?—An exploration of sex, gender and bodies in Irish primary schools'. Palgrave Communications, 2 . [DOI] [Full-Text]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) 'How do you teach like a man?' Irish National Teachers Organisation Magazine, (168) :52-53. [Full-Text]
2014 O'Keeffe, S. (2014) 'Why the decline in male primary school teachers?' Irish National Teachers Organisation Magazine, (148) :43-44. [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) Academic International Conference on Multidisciplinary Studies and Education . In: Dr. Ramandeep Kaur Chhina eds. HOW DO YOU TEACH LIK E A MAN? POLITICS AN D PERCEPTIONS OF MEN WORKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN London, [Link]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2023 O'Keeffe, Suzanne and Kennon, Patricia (2023) Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) Creating A Collaborative and Caring Policy For Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in an Urban Primary School Belfast, .
2023 O'Keeffe, Suzanne (2023) International Froebel Society International Froebel Society Conference Maynooth, .
2021 O'Keeffe, S. and McClelland, D. (2021) Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Contesting lingering gendered attitudes about childhood Online, 28/11/2021-02/12/2021.
2021 O'Keeffe, S. (2021) Sociological Association of Ireland: ATOMISED SOLIDARITIES: TOGETHER / APART 2021 'Bodily Boundaries: Irish male primary school teachers’ understandings of their gendered positionality in contemporary primary schools’ Online, .
2019 O'Keeffe, S. (2019) Education in Times of Change, Choice and Challenge ESAI Conference 2019 Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo, Ireland, 11/04/2019-13/04/2019.
2019 O'Keeffe, S. (2019) QUALITY TEACHERS AND QUALITY TEACHER EDUCATION: RESEARCH, POLICY AND PRACTICE TEPE Conference 2019 Poland, 16/05/2019-18/05/2019.
2018 O'Keeffe, S. (2018) ‘Recruiting and Educating the Best Teachers: Policy, Professionalism and Pedagogy’ 2018 TEPE Conference Braga, Portugal, 17/05/2018-19/05/2018.
2018 O'Keeffe, S. (2018) 'The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education' 2018 AERA Annual Meeting New York, USA, 13/04/2018-17/04/2018.
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) Tidy Binaries vs. Prolific Paradigms: The Reimagining of Teacher Education Research 2017 ESAI Conference University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 20/04/2017-22/04/2017.
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) Do opposites subtract? Connecting Irish male teachers' voices to school innovation and change 6th Annual Research Conference Kilkenny Education Centre, Kilkenny, Ireland, 14/10/2017-14/10/2017.
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) ‘Education for All: Issues for Teacher Education’ 2017 TEPE Conference Limerick, Ireland, 18/05/2017-20/05/2017.
2016 O'Keeffe, S. (2016) From Hero to Zero: Male Teachers Navigate the Modern Irish Educational Landscape 2016 ESAI Conference Raddison Blu Hotel, Galway, Ireland, 31/03/2016-02/04/2016.
2015 O'Keeffe, S. (2015) Why the decline of male teachers in Irish primary schools? 4th Annual Limerick Postgraduate Research Conference Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland, 28/05/2015-28/05/2015.

Published Report

Year Publication
2019 Ring, E.; O'Sullivan, L.; O'Keeffe, S.; Ferris, F. and Wall, E. (2019) An Evaluation of 'Teach Me As I Am' Early Years Programme. Centre for Early-Childhood Research at Mary Immaculate College (CERAMIC) Limerick, .

Educational Article

Year Publication
2020 O'Keeffe, S. (2020) How to teach children about feminism. Online at: https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/1123/1179902-how-to-teach-children-about-feminism/: [Educational Article] [Link]

Case

Year Publication
2019 O'Keeffe, S. (2019) Using a Voice-Centred Relational Method of Data Analysis to Study Male Teachers’ Daily Experiences. London: [Case] [Link] [DOI]
2017 O'Keeffe, S. (2017) The Interview As Method: Doing Feminist Research. London: [Case] [Link]
2018 O'Keeffe, S. (2018) The Interview and Social Relations: Exploring How Gender Shapes the Research Process. London: [Case] http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526430748
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Member -
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Association Member -
International Sociological Association Member 01/06/2020 - 31/12/2026
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Member -
The Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) Member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2017 John Coolahan Research Support Framework Teaching Council of Ireland
01/05/2022 John Coolahan Research Support Bursary Teaching Council
01/10/2015 MIC Postgraduate Award University of Limerick (Mary Immaculate College)

Committees

Committee Function From / To
Research and Ethics Committee Member 03/12/2018 - 06/12/2020
Departmental Doctoral Programme Committee Committee member -
Faculty of Social Science Ethics Committee Nominee for the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education 03/02/2019 - 03/03/2021
Museum of Childhood Ireland Education Board Member -
Faulty of Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Sub Committee Member -

Employment

Employer Position From / To
Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick Lecturer 03/10/2016 - 28/09/2018
National University of Ireland Maynooth -

Education

Start date Institution Qualification Subject
University of Cambridge: Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) Certificate of Participation An introduction to international development: understanding contemporary issues and themes
Yoga Therapy Ireland Children's Yoga Teacher (Recognised by Yoga Alliance) Wellbeing
Mary Immaculate College
Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley Certification of participation The Science of Happiness

Languages

Language Reading Writing Speaking
Irish-Gaeilge Functional Functional Functional
English Fluent Fluent Fluent

Other Activities

Description
Reviewer of academic education journals
External Examiner, Sociology of Education (2020-Present)
Education Board Member

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
Department of Education and Skills Policy Makers This project, Leadership Clusters Initiative for Schools, is an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills and is being co-ordinated by the Centre for School Leadership (CSL). My role is to build the school's networks and to support their initiatives.

Teaching Interests

Sociology of Education 
Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
Education Department 

EDF 126: An important objective of this module is strengthening student teachers’ reflexivity on their own professional learning and that of their pupils, and to prepare student teachers to support their pupils in achieving their full potential. This is achieved through engagement with the following topics covered in this module:

• Sociology – Types of Schooling; Society, Culture and Identity; Norms, Values and Roles; Hidden Curriculum

EDF 237: Through engagement with Global Citizenship Education, Sociology of Education, and Psychology of Education, student teachers will be supported to examine how structures and systems in place, both locally and globally, explain how people interact with each other, the impact on educational outcomes and the undeniable interconnectedness of modern life.

EDF 328: This module fosters student teachers’ reflexivity on their own professional learning and that of their pupils by highlighting the relationship between schools and the wider society. Acknowledging that this association is critical and complex, the module explores structural forces at play and contextualises them against a theoretical framework of social justice and equality. Sociology of Education provides an opportunity to engage with topics such as race, ethnicity, identity, types of schooling, which will¿support¿newly qualified teachers to facilitate quality teaching and learning for all pupils.¿The sociology of education is the study of how social institutions and individual experiences affects education and its outcome. The topics covered in this module seek to explain how people relate with one another, how hidden structures play an important role in everyday life, how individuals behave and how all these combined impacts on education and its outcome. In total, the topics addressed in sociology of education foster student teachers’ abilities to support their pupils in achieving their full potential. 


Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.)
Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education

EDF 128: Student teachers will explore the dynamic processes by which curriculum is designed and facilitated for all pupils, with a particular focus on the junior primary classes. The recognition of the central role of play, as outlined in Aistear (NCCA, 2009), and pupils as active agents in their own learning will guide experiential learning activities across Visual Arts, Drama, Music, PE, SESE and SPHE. The organisation and attributes of a Froebelian learning environment with concrete materials will be introduced so the student teachers become aware of the interdependence of teachers’ learning and pupil learning and the importance of teacher-pupil relationships in the teaching/learning process through guided discovery and inquiry-based learning. A range of methodologies to achieve planned outcomes will be experienced including opportunities to experiment with and explore new and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.


EDF 229: In relation to the middle primary classes, students will continue to explore the dynamic processes by which curriculum is designed and facilitated for all pupils. These are underpinned by a broad range of theoretical lenses, including literature pertaining to Integration and Problem-based Learning, Assessment and Universal Design for Learning and digital learning methodologies.


Student teachers are supported to engage with pupils in order to develop effective, creative and imaginative strategies that promote individual and shared learning, further embedding playful pedagogies, in alignment with national curricula/curricular frameworks.

Through reflection on, and evaluation of, their own teaching and learning experiences, student teachers will be encouraged to think critically about characteristics, organisation and management of an inclusive, Froebelian, and enquiry-based learning environment.

Student teachers will plan and implement the subject matter, pedagogical content and related methodologies of Visual Arts, Drama, Music, PE, SESE and SPHE, through Froebelian and child-led approaches.

An awareness of the interdependence of teachers’ learning and pupil learning and the importance of teacher-pupil relationships in the teaching/learning process will be further built upon. An extended range of methodologies to achieve planned outcomes will be experienced and implemented, including a variety of opportunities to experiment with and explore new and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.

EDF 330: The module will build on student teacher understanding of the significance of knowledge of the individual potential of pupils in their planning for teaching, learning and assessment of Visual Arts, Drama, Music, PE, SESE and SPHE, through Froebelian and child-led approaches.
Student teachers will connect relevant principles and theories of education, in the context of the relevant national curricula curricular frameworks, using well-developed skills of enquiry, to inform his/ her professional practice.

Student teachers will also examine and apply a broad range of assessment principles and practices, preparing them for teaching, learning, creative and reflective practice and assessment in their schools. To this end, research associated with Froebelian practice and principles will be elaborated and extended upon. Collaborative and problem-based learning and differentiated teaching strategies will be examined in depth.



Behaviour Management workshops
Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2020 Sarah Kavanagh
2019 Aoife Hession
2019 Lucy Brannock

Internal Collaborators

Name Company Role Country
Patricia Kennon Co-Investigator Ireland
Ciarán Ó Gallchóir Education