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Keira Allen

PME in Primary Education

School of Education

Photo of  Keira Allen

Location

Dublin


School

Ballyboughal National School


Education

Bachelor of Science (Hons)

Degree from John Moores University

Professional Master of Education (PME) in Primary Education


Research paper title

Effective Literacy Interventions in a DEIS Primary School – Teachers’ Perspectives

Education Research Papers Volume 4

Abstract

This single case study explored which evidence-informed literacy interventions used in DEIS schools are most effective from teachers’ perspectives. Data was collected by an online survey and semi-structured interviews. Teachers addressed the benefits and challenges of implementing literacy interventions in their school and how adequately resourced and equipped they felt in delivering the literacy interventions. Teachers reported that evidence-informed practices (EIPs) for literacy were working in the school and positively impacting pupil well-being. However, the research indicated that teachers needed more time to collaborate and plan with colleagues so that EIPs could be more tailored to meet the needs of all pupils.

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Researcher biography

Keira graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Degree from John Moores University, Liverpool and worked in health protection agencies in the UK before returning to Ireland, where she worked developing and managing postgraduate distance learning programmes in medical colleges. Graduating with First Class Honours in the Professional Master of Education (PME) from Hibernia College in 2020, Keira recently completed her first year of teaching in a DEIS primary school in Dublin with Junior Infants. She derived tremendous satisfaction from helping her pupils realise the potential of their individual strengths and abilities throughout the year. With a passion for horticulture and landscape design, Keira always seeks to share her appreciation of nature and art with her pupils. She was drawn to teaching because it presents continuous challenges requiring innovation and versatility.

Research motivation

Can you tell us a bit about your research project?  

My research project is a single case study exploring which evidence-informed literacy interventions used in DEIS schools are most effective from teachers’ perspectives. I wanted to find out how teachers felt literacy interventions were benefitting their pupils, not only with regard to their literacy development but whether they experienced any other positive effects, for example, in pupils’ well-being and motivation. I also wondered whether teachers experienced any challenges to successfully delivering literacy interventions in their school, and whether they felt adequately resourced and prepared to successfully deliver the literacy interventions to their pupils.

What motivated you to undertake this research? 

My research topic was selected after a placement in a DEIS school with particularly strong literacy intervention programmes. I was keen to learn more about how these literacy interventions were being used across the school and how teachers planned and prepared to implement the literacy interventions. Furthermore, I wanted to find out what the positive effects were and to gain an insight, through teachers’ perspectives, as to which evidence-informed literacy interventions in particular were having the most impact across the school setting.

What impact has it had on your practice?  

Through my research project, I have gained a better understanding of the value of evidence-informed literacy interventions and how they need to be tailored in order to meet the needs of all pupils. Although real world experience rarely matches theoretical expectations, it is helpful to have a toolkit of tested ideas available in the classroom.

How important do you feel research will be in your future practice?  

Research focuses and heightens awareness of the empirically validated techniques and interventions available to educators that can progress not only their own teaching skills but the opportunities for the greater academic achievement of their pupils. I hope my own research project will perhaps motivate teachers to share their experiences and reflections on the effectiveness of applying evidence-informed literacy interventions in DEIS primary schools as this may help to further develop the teaching of literacy in schools.