Research Philosophy and Approach
At the heart of Turn to Teaching is an alignment with critically reflexive and participative values associated with transformative adult education. It is no surprise, then, that the project’s approach to research and evaluation enact these principles and methods.
We align ourselves with a mixed-method approach which attends to tracking of quantitative data and the more qualitative, reflexive and participatory methods which are negotiated and grow as the project develops. As a reflexive and participative project much of the evaluative work is integrated into the critically reflexive and dialogic spaces and encounters which constantly respond to, shape and re-shape the work and is consistent with the transformative evaluative processes advocated and practiced for widening participation projects (Cooper, 2014; Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2014; Meaney, 2019).
In terms of quantitative evaluation, we will continue to track progression of project participants who have engaged with the project since its inception. Our foci for qualitative evaluation is in relation to the development of sustainable processes and structures relating to:
- development of a sustainable, critical community of practice
- curricular and pedagogic development
- recruitment, outreach and pathways
- integrated and longitudinal supports for project participants
- ongoing development of partner relationships
- participants’ stories of becoming and being a teacher.
As the project and the work has developed, we are beginning to see the significance, and critical play, of narrative across many of the spaces and processes of the work which is grounded in critically reflexive and dialogic principles (Freire, 1996). The creation of critically reflexive spaces for the telling and retelling of narratives (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) emerging from the project’s community of learners, educators and activists in response to enduring, inclusive and ‘risky’ questions such as ‘what it is to be a teacher?’ and ‘what do we want to change in education?’ is at the heart of this work.
To provide context, the first paper, the story of the project, presents an overview and evaluation of the work of Turn to Teaching, with a particular emphasis on excavating the structural contexts and challenges that participants and the work engages with. The second paper curates an anthology of emerging educators’ stories of ‘what it is to be a teacher’ from the past, present and future, which helps us to start to imagine what a more diverse and representative teaching profession can achieve in a transformative sense. Finally, the third paper recounts the narratives of teacher educators working on the project, and how such experiences can tentatively indicate alternative modes of resistance to educational exclusions through critically reflexive pedagogy and curriculum development.
The following is a list of publications, conference contributions and other scholarly activity that has emerged from the work of Turn to Teaching to date.
Burns, G., Colum, M., & O'Neill, J. (2022). 'No one sees a Traveller at the top of the class' In: Keane, E., Heinz, M., & McDaid, R (eds). Diversifying the Teaching Profession: Dimensions, Dilemmas, and Directions for the Future. London: Routledge [In Press].
Burns, G., & O'Sullivan, K. (2022). ‘''Going the extra mile”: Working class teachers and their engagement with parents' In: Keane, E., Heinz, M., & McDaid, R (eds). Diversifying the Teaching Profession: Dimensions, Dilemmas, and Directions for the Future. London: Routledge [In Press].
O'Neill, J & Burns, G. (2020). Becoming and transforming: Towards enhancing diversity in teacher education and development [Turn to Teaching phase two proposal]. Maynooth: Report.
Burns, G., & O'Sullivan, K (2020) Diversifying Initial Teacher Education: Maynooth University's Turn to Teaching Project. InTouch Jan-Feb, p.49 INTO: Dublin. https://www.into.ie/app/uploads/2020/02/Jan_Feb_InTouch_2020_Archive.pdf
O'Sullivan, K., Burns, G., & Bird, N. (2019). Diversifying Initial Teacher Education: Who utilises alternative entry routes to teaching and how they compare to direct entry students. 5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’19), 649-659. https://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/14376/
O’Sullivan, K., Bird, N., Burns, G. (2019). Students’ experiences of the teaching and learning of Irish in designated disadvantaged schools. International Journal of Education, Culture and Society 4(5): 87-97.
O'Sullivan, K. & Burns, G. (2018). 'Turn to Teaching: Diversifying Initial Teacher Education' In: Brian Mooney (eds). Ireland's Yearbook of Education 2018, 2019. Dublin: Education Matters. https://issuu.com/educationmattersie/docs/irelands_yearbook_of_education_2018_1748ce984c6402/33
Burns, G. (2018). Teachers from diverse backgrounds: ‘Making a different kind of difference’. International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy DCU, St Patrick's Campus, pp.1-19. http://icep.ie/paper-template/?pid=226
Burns, G. & O'Neill, J. (2021). Narrative emergence in the work of a widening participation project., Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference, Dublin City University.
Dolan, R., O'Neill, S., Stokes, T; Ní Chleirigh, L; O'Neill, J. (2021). Establishing a virtual Community of Practice for teacher educators’ professional development: A collaborative self-study. [Oral Presentation], ATEE Annual Conference: (Re)imagining & Rethinking Teacher Education, University of Warsaw (online).
Burns, G. (2021). Critical Praxis: Moving from ‘Being Risk’ to ‘Doing Risk’. Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference, Marino Institute of Education.
Burns, G., Bird, N., & O'Sullivan, K. (2020). The transformative influence of teachers from underrepresented groups. Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference, Institute of Education, DCU.
Burns, G. & O'Sullivan, K. (2019). Early career teachers’ understandings of ‘making a difference’: A habitus specific idea. British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester.
O'Sullivan, K., Burns, G., & Bird, N. (2019). Diversifying initial teacher education: Who utilises alternative entry routes to teaching and how they compare to direct entry students., 5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’19), Universitat Politècnica de València.
O'Sullivan, K. & Burns, G. (2019). Who gets to become a teacher? The characteristics of students entering initial teacher education through an alternative entry route. Educational Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, Sligo.
O’Sullivan, K., Bird, N., Burns, G. (2019). Students’ experiences of the teaching and learning of Irish in designated disadvantaged schools. Diversity in Teaching Research Symposium, NUIG.
Burns, G. (2018). Teachers from diverse backgrounds: ‘Making a different kind of difference’. International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy, Dublin City University, St Patrick’s Campus, Drumcondra.
Burns, G., O’Neill, J. Henry, S. (upcoming, May 26th, 2022). Narratives of widening participation in a project promoting diversity in the teaching profession [Symposium], Spring Conference of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe: Teacher Education and Practice: Foresight and Hindsight, Marino Institute of Education.
O'Brien, M., Gibson, D., Burns, G., King, P., McDaid, R., Murphy, T., O'Shea, A., Farrell, C, (2022). Recovering what matters in education through building a critical community of praxis: thinking, dialoging, caring as teacher educators in challenging times [Symposium], Educational Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, Marino Institute of Education.
O'Brien, M., Burns, G., Gibson, D., O'Shea, A., Farrell, C., King, P., Mc Daid, R. (2021). Possibilities and challenges for communities of practice in disembodied (COVID) space [Symposium], Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference, Institute of Education, DCU.
O'Brien, M., Mc Daid, R., King, P., Gibson, D, O'Shea, A., Farrell, C., Burns, G. (2020). Performativity and teacher educator praxis in the PUCA: Opening up possibilities for pause and reflective praxis [Symposium], Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference, Institute of Education, DCU.
O'Neill, J & Burns, G. (2022). Reflections from an adult education-led project in Ireland: Widening participation in teacher education, Universidade do Algarve.