Session 1: What is driving the research agenda in policy?
8.44 Mary Kelly (Programme Director, Primary Programme, Hibernia College)
Mary outlined the format of the session and introduced the speakers.
11.40 Professor Linda la Velle (Associate Head of School (Research), Plymouth University Institute of Education)
“Change, change, change”! Linda outlined the UK perspective. She suggested it is time to stop changing and reflect on what works. A recent OECD research report on education reforms since 2006 reports that only one in ten measures have been assessed for their impact. (Education Policy Outlook 2015, available online at: http://www.oecd.org/edu/education-policy-outlook-2015-9789264225442-en.htm). Linda discussed the outcome of the research assessment exercise in the UK (summary of the results of the Education sector can be found on page 103 of Main Panel C document on the REF website: http://www.ref.ac.uk/panels/paneloverviewreports/).
Linda also referred to the recent BERA report, Research and the Teaching Profession: https://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BERA-RSA-Research-Teaching-Profession-FULL-REPORT-for-web.pdf
19.00 Dr Deirbhile Nic Craith, (Director of Education & Research, INTO)
“How do we conceptualise teaching?” Deirbhile spoke about how if we want pupils to be engaged and critical, their teachers need to model such approaches to learning. She also highlighted the importance of funding and release time to facilitate teachers’ participation in research.
Deirbhile also highlighted the Irish Teachers’ Journal, which INTO publishes to provide teachers with a forum to bring their research findings to a broader audience. The journal can be found online at:
23.30 Tomás Ó Ruairc (Director of the Teaching Council)
“Research is essential to learning and progress, research is inherently uncertain and contingent, research is best conducted collaboratively.” Tomás argued that it is teachers’ own learning that is driving the research agenda and that research, teaching and learning ultimately has to be about improving and making a difference in young people’s lives. He called for research to be both “realistic and aspirational”.
A full version of Tomás’ comments can be found online at: http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/_fileupload/Promoting%20Teaching/Education%20Papers/Integrating%20Research%20Teaching%20and%20Learning.pdf
31.12 Dr James O’Higgins Norman (Director, National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, DCU)
“Is there an agenda – or are there actually many agendas.” James pointed out that there are no agreed agendas in Ireland, but different agendas depending on perspectives.
James added that the new model of teacher education is structured to establish new teachers as reflective practitioners. However, new teachers face challenges that inhibit their engagement with research when they enter the profession, particularly in terms of time and resources. The profession needs to become a space in which research is main-stream and the norm. James highlights areas he considers to be important in terms of research – aspects of diversity in the school system; how to promote critical thinking in second level education; the professional identity of teaching; lack of funding inhibits research, or funding is dependent on the funders’ agendas.
37.56 Mary Kelly Summarised the speakers contributions
40.12 How can we make use of international models?
45.42 The value of research is recognised – how can we reward/recognise teachers doing research?
50.40 How do teachers, already under time pressure, make time for research?
53.05 The typical teacher gets in and teaches for the exam and is not focused on research – how do you address this issue?
56.40 Mary Kelly thanked the speakers and audience for their contributions.