The Three Core Elements of Turn To Teaching;


Turn To Teaching comprises three educational interventions that have been designed to address specific barriers to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and support the participation of the most marginalised groups to become teachers, the interventions include;

  1. A one year pre-university foundation course; ‘Think About Teaching’ which will prepare 25 students annually who have experienced deep educational disadvantage for entry to ITE degrees. 
  2. ‘Rising Teachers, Rising Leaders’ aims to (i) build the capacity of 20 teachers to understand their role in creating a school culture which supports students from diverse backgrounds to aspire to a career in teaching; (ii) equip 20 students in DEIS schools and communities underrepresented in teaching, with the skills needed to access ITE directly. 
  3. ‘Tar linn ag Teagasc’ provides all TTT participants with access to a tailored Irish language competency based module; to assist them to reach the required entry standard for ITE and to encourage participants to become future teachers of Irish.​

Think About Teaching Programme 

A year long Foundation Course for aspiring teachers Called Think About Teaching. The course aims to diversify the Irish classroom by fostering a culture among students from the most educationally disadvantaged groups to consider the teaching profession as a desirable and achievable career option. The yearlong preparation course will support students academically, personally and socially; providing a pathway to degree courses within Maynooth University in both primary and secondary education. 

A 40 credit, level 6, and consist of three streams; primary, secondary science/math, secondary arts/ss. The central feature of the course is the 10-credit module run through adult and community education called Thinking about Teaching; this is designed to support the academic development of the student and nurture criticality and reflexivity. All students will undertake this module alongside other a teaching foundations module and placements. They will then stream into primary or secondary courses.

  1. Primary includes Irish (15 credits) and math competency (5 credits)
  2. Secondary science includes chemistry, physics, biology and math. These will be run by the foundation cert in science.
  3. Secondary for arts/ss will include two modules from the return to learning programme.  

Rising Teachers, Rising Leaders

The Rising Teachers, Rising Leaders provides a two year programme of activities which supports the teaching aspirations and academic development of 40 senior cycle students with a strong desire to become teachers who are currently in third year/transition year DEIS post-primary schools with low progression rates to university.  It also provides 20 teachers from underrepresented groups in teaching (these can include teachers with a disability, teachers who attended a DEIS school, migrants, teachers who are members of the Irish Traveller community, and/or those who have faced any significant obstacles in their own journey to teaching, with the opportunity to mentor the Rising Teachers (second level students) and a suite of funded University accreditation/CPD options to support teachers’ leadership capacity and career progression

Over the course of this two-year innovative leadership programme, the rising leaders will:

  • Mentor and act as role models to aspiring teachers
  • Develop culturally responsive mentoring and teaching skills
  • Access an educational mentor that can support teachers in their career progression
  • In partnership with the Rising Teachers, create a powerful national campaign about the need for diversity in teaching
  • Strengthen leadership skills through participation in an accredited CPD programme that will benefit teachers’ career advancement

The Rising Teachers programme will involve 2 years of activities, these include:

  • Closely monitored one to one mentoring with a teacher who will support and encourage the Rising Teacher’s teaching aspirations and their social and academic development. . These mentoring sessions and associated activities will take place on Saturdays in a purpose designed learning space in Maynooth University. The programme may also involve your child taking part in activities at other venues and parents/guardian’s will be informed in advance of where and what these activities entail
  • Tailored regular academic support – including Irish and Maths supports
  • College visits, application support and other aspiration building activities
  • Funded summer Gaeltacht placement
  • School visits to experience what it means to be a teacher
  • Participation in a national campaign that sends a clear message about the need for greater diversity in teaching
  • Being part of a research study

​Tar Linn Ag Teagasc

While the Irish language is regarded very favourably and enjoys support from many sections of the population (O’Rourke, 2005), for others the learning of Irish is bound up with negative memories of school (Murtagh & Harris, 1999). Furthermore, the high standards needed in Irish for Initial Teacher Education Programmes continues to be a stumbling block for many aspiring primary teachers. The fact that Gaeilscoileanna have experienced unprecedented growth in Ireland in recent years (Ó Grádaigh, 2015), and the increase in pupil population and demand for Irish medium schools demonstrates that Irish continues to be a central tenet of primary school practice.
In partnership with Lárionad na Gaeilge at Maynooth University  and Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, the Tar Linn ag Teagasc programme attempts to re-conceptualise the implementation and direction of Irish language policy at initial teacher education level for the first time. In line with the Froebelian philosophy of inclusivity and child-centred learning, this initiative proposes that students enrolled in the Think about Teaching- ITE Access Course will have access to an alternative pathway to gain equivalence of entry standard in Irish before commencing a BEd programme in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
During the year long foundation course, students will study Level B1 of Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (T.E.G),  and will be provided with a range of innovative classes, activities and language experiences that will develop their confidence and competency in the Irish language. During the two year risin teacher programme students will also study Level B1 of TEG and will participate in innovative classes, activities and language experiences that will develop their confidence and competency in the Irish language. Students participating in the programmes will be supported to develop academic Irish through their courses, professional Irish through their school placements and social Irish through the interactions with peer mentors.  Students will also be provided with an opportunity for immersion in the language in an educational context through a school placement in a Gaelscoil. Additionally, students will be afforded the opportunity to spend a period in the Gaeltacht living with an Irish-speaking family. This Gaeltacht placement will be fully funded by the Turn to Teaching Programme and students who have family responsibilities will be supported in bringing their families where possible. Those students that achieve 50% or more in the level B1 exam  at the end of the year-long Think about Teaching ITE Access Course and pass all other modules on the primary strand will gain entry to the BEd at Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education.