Tony Sweeney

Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, ALL Institute

Gaeilge agus fáilte

Associate Professor

School of Education
(01) 474 7403


Tony qualified as a primary teacher from St. Patrick's College Drumcondra, and taught in St. Colmcille's NS, Knocklyon for many years. He was seconded to the PCSP and delivered in-service training in Physical Education nationally, before working as a cuiditheoir in PE & SPHE. Tony completed an M.Ed in Inclusive Physical Education in 2008 and worked as a part-time lecturer in St. Patrick's College and Coláiste Mhuire, Marino before taking a full-time role in Froebel College of Education, Blackrock in 2008. He lectures in Physical Education at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth University, and co ordinates the Curriculum, Methodology and Assessment modules. Tony is currently Acting Programme Leader for the Bachelor of Education Programme.

Current research projects include:

Enactment of Socially-Just TPSR in Initial Teacher Education

EPPEN Stakeholder Project - Perspectives of Initial Teacher Educators in Physical Education

The Voice PE project - Including children's voice in decision making in Primary Physical Education

Research Interests

Meaningful Physical Education, Voice of the Child in Primary Physical Education, Socially-just Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility in Physical Education, Self-Study, Adapted Physical Education, Digital Learning, Perspectives on Initial Teacher Education, Assessment for Learning, Value Orientations in Teacher Education, 

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
The enactment of the socially-just Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) approach in physical education initial teacher education. Co-Researcher An international community of learners project with colleagues in Australia, Canada, University of Limerick and Dublin City University. 15/12/2022 31/12/2023
Children’s Voices in Primary Physical Education Co-Researcher 01/11/2021 30/06/2022
EPPEN Stakeholder project co-researcher 01/06/2019 31/05/2022
VOTE-PE: Value Orientations of Teacher Educators in Physical Education: investigating beliefs, curricula, and programming in two jurisdictions Co - Investigator Our research questions are: 1. Are the value orientations of physical education teacher educators (PETEs) displayed in their professional practices and programmes of study ? 2. Are these values and practices compatible with those found within their respective national curricula for physical education (PE )? 3. Can shared understanding of these values help PETEs to foster deeper understanding of curriculum texts ? This area of study in education is concerned with the beliefs or philosophies held by teachers, that have an impact upon their teaching approaches, the content they focus upon, and the ways in which assessment is carried out. Curriculum choices made by teachers reveal the degree to which they emphasise the way in which pupils learn, the context in which learning occurs, and the subject knowledge that is covered (Ennis, Ross and Chen, 1992; Curtner-Smith & Meek, 2000; Gillespie, 2011). 01/09/2021 31/08/2022 4800
Collaborative Self-study in Meaningful Physical Education (2019) Researcher 06/02/2019 30/06/2020
A Digital Journey in Europe PI 01/09/2015 31/08/2018 28780
A Digital Journey in Europe PI 01/09/2015 31/08/2018 28780
Writing and ipads in the Early Years Co-researcher A joint research project with Dr. Jill Dunn, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, funded by SCoTENS. 13/05/2016 30/06/2017
Writing and iPads in the Early Years PI 0

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2023 Sweeney, T., Bowles, R., & Coulter, M. (2023) 'Looking Back to Move Forward: Identifying Value in Collaborative Self-Study' In: Pausing at the Threshold. Opportunity Through, With, and For Self-Study of Teacher Education Practice. USA : Equity Press. [Link]
2021 Coulter M.; Bowles R.; Sweeney T. (2021) 'Learning to teach generalist primary teachers how to prioritize meaningful experiences in physical education' In: Meaningful Physical Education: An Approach for Teaching and Learning. New York : Routledge. [DOI]
2020 Sweeney, T., Bowles, R., & Coulter, M. (2020) 'Shared Learning, Different Contexts: Understanding Teaching for Meaning in Pre-Service Physical Education Teacher Education' In: Textiles and Tapestries: Self-Study for Envisioning New Ways of Knowing. Online, BYU : EdTech Books. [Link]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2024 Ní Chróinín, D; Parker, M.; Coulter, M.; Sweeney, T. (2024) 'Teachers learning to use student voice in primary physical education – ready, steady, go!'. European Physical Education Review, . [Full-Text]
2024 Keay, Jeanne, Martinez Alvarez, Lucio, Murray, Alison, Pearson, Julie, Randall, Vicky, Sweeney, Tony. (2024) 'The purpose of primary physical education: The views of teacher educators'. European Physical Education Review, . [Full-Text]
2023 Bowles, R.; Sweeney, T.; Coulter, M. (2023) 'Using Collaborative self-study to support professional learning in initial teacher education: developing pedagogy through Meaningful Physical Education'. European Journal of Teacher Education, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Dunn J.; Sweeney T. (2018) 'Writing and iPads in the early years: Perspectives from within the classroom'. British Journal of Educational Technology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2020 *Maura Coulter; *Richard Bowles; *Deirdre Ni Chroinin; *Tim Fletcher; *Doug Gleddie; *Tony Sweeney (2020) AERA National Meeting Online Repository Meaningful Physical Education in Outdoor and Adventure Education: Perspectives From Preservice Primary Teacher Education,
2020 Sweeney, T., Bowles, R. and Coulter, M. (2020) American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA) Exploring pedagogy and practice: meaningful physical education (MPE) in elementary pre-service teacher education California,
2012 Cosgrave, C. & Sweeney, T. (2012) Proceedings of the 6th Annual Physical Education, Physical Activity & Youth Sport (PEPAYS) Forum . In: McCarthy, U eds. Like Calves in the Field: Guided Discovery Methodology in Early Childhood Physical Education
2008 Sweeney, T. & Coulter, M. (2008) PE PAYS Research Forum . In: McPhail, A. & Young A eds. Teachers’ perspectives on the inclusion of pupils with special education needs in the mainstream physical education class

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2024 Sweeney, T.; Coulter, M.; Calderon, A.; Scanlon, D.; Iannucci, C.; Luguetti, C.; Baker, K.; Crane, J. (2024) AIESEP Conference 2024 (Re)inventing the Socially-Just Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (SJ-TPSR) approach in physical education teacher education: An international learning community University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, .
2024 Sweeney, T.; Coulter, M.; Cardiff, G; Ní Chroinín, D. (2024) AIESEP International Congress, 2024 Planting seeds: Growing voice in primary school physical education University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, .
2023 Sweeney, T., Bowles, R., & Coulter, M. (2023) Castle Conference 14: The Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP) International Biennial Looking back to move forward: Identifying value in collaborative self-study Herstmonceux Castle, UK, .
2023 Sweeney, T., Bowles, R & Coulter, M. (2023) Meaningful PE Research Symposium, NIH, Oslo Designing a PETE programme around the pedagogical principles of LAMPE Norwegian School of Sport Science, Oslo, .
2023 Sweeney, T., Coulter, M., Rafferty, R., Ní Chróinín, D. & Parker, M. (2023) PE PAYS Forum 2023 Facilitating the Voice of the Child in Primary Physical Education Marino Institute of Education, .
2023 Ni Cróinín, D, Parker, M, Coulter, M, Rafferty, R., & Sweeney, T. (2023) 2023 PHE Canada Research Forum Facilitating the Voice of the Child in Primary Physical Education Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, .
2023 Coulter, M, Sweeney, T., Macken, S., Walsh, C., McKee, D., & Mcloughlin, E. (2023) PE PAYS Forum, 2023 Value Orientations of Teacher Educators in Physical Education Marino Institute of Education, .
2023 Sweeney, T, Coulter, M., Rafferrty, R., Ní Chróinín, D., & Parker, M. (2023) 10th Biennial International Froebel Society Conference Facilitating the Voice of the Child in Primary Physical Education Maynooth University, .
2022 Walsh, C., Coulter, M., Macken, S., McKee, D., Sweeney, T., McLoughlin, E.. (2022) AIESEP International Congress, 2022 Value Orientations of teacher Educators in Physical Education (VOTE-PE) Gold Coast ,Australia, .
2022 Tony Sweeney, Grace Cardiff, Richard Bowles & Maura Couter (2022) PE PAYS Forum 2022 Meaningful Engagement in Self-study: learning about practice in PE and sport University of Limerick, 11/06/2022-11/06/2022.
2021 Tony Sweeney, Maura Coulter & Richard Bowles (2021) 'Descending the Mountain' 2021 AIESEP Scientific Conference PRACTITIONERS’ EXPERIENCES OF IMPLEMENTING MEANINGFUL PE Banff, Canada (Virtual), .
2021 Tony Sweeney (2021) Navigating New Terrain in Physical Education : IPPEA Annual Conference 2021 The use of digital applications for outdoor learning Online, .
2020 Coulter, M,, Sweeney, T., & Bowles, R. (2020) ESAI Conference: Opening Up Education, Options, Obstacles and Opportunities Exploring Pedagogy and Practice: Meaningful Physical Education in Elementary Preservice Teacher Education Dublin City University, .
2018 Sweeney, T, O'Neill, S. & Young K. (2018) Primary Education, The Digital Journey Multiplier Event for Erasmus+ Maynooth University, .
2018 Sweeney, T. & Dunn, J (2018) Writing and iPads in the Early Years: Perspectives from Children and Teachers MITE International Conference on Mobile Technology Galway Bay Hotel, .
2018 Sweeney, T. (2018) INTO Education Conference School Placement Seminar Maynooth University, .
2017 Dunn J & Sweeney T (2017) European Early Childhood Education Research Association ( EECERA) Writing and iPads in the Early Years: Perspectives from Children and Teachers Bologna, Italy, .
2014 Sweeney, T (2014) Computer Education Society of Ireland (CESI) Conference Geocaching & Technology for Outdoor Education GMIT, Galway, .
2012 Sweeney, T (2012) IPPEA Annual Conference Disc Golf Marino Institute of Education, .
2012 Sweeney T (2012) International Froebel Conference Froebel and Guided Discovery in PE Froebel College of Education, Dublin, .
2008 Sweeney T & Coulter, M. (2008) rd National APA (Adapted Physical Activity) Conference, Building the right structures Teachers’ perspectives on the inclusion of pupils with special education needs in the mainstream physical education class Killarney, Co.Kerry, .

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2009 M Coulter, S Marron, M Murphy, C Cosgrave, T Sweeney, G Dawson (2009) Teaching PE: The central role of the Class Teacher. Dublin: [Magazine Article]
2003 Murphy, J. & Sweeney, T. (2003) Get Set for Athletics. [Magazine Article]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
14/03/2023 John Coolahan Award (SCoTENS Report) SCoTENS
21/06/2008 Best Overall Poster Presentation (AfPE, UK) Association for Physical Education (UK)

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
AIESEP Member -