Research profile

Mary Collins

PME in Primary Education

Having worked in HR and Health and Safety Management for nearly 20 years, Mary realised that she wanted a more rewarding career and, so, she chose to embark on the Professional Master of Education (PME) in Primary Education with Hibernia College. Mary believes that this was the best decision she ever made.

Research Paper Title

Irish Teachers’ Perspectives and Experiences of Differentiation for the Exceptionally Able Child in Inclusive Mainstream Classroom

Education Research Papers Volume 4


This study analyses Irish teachers’ perspectives and experiences of differentiation for the exceptionally able child in inclusive mainstream classrooms. The study focuses on the identification of exceptionally able children and the strategies considered effective in differentiating for them. The challenges faced by both teachers and exceptionally able children are also explored. The study used a qualitative approach involving semistructured interviews from a small sample of experienced teachers (N=5). Findings indicate a strong commitment at school level to provide effective differentiated education for the exceptionally able in the mainstream classroom; however, a lack of legislation, resources and training in this area is making the task very challenging.


Mary is currently working in a multigrade classroom with Junior Infants, Senior Infants, First and Second class and she absolutely loves it. When her children were growing up, she was amazed at their capacity to learn. While on placement during her PME, she became particularly interested in children who were exceptionally able. She wanted to explore the methodologies for differentiation for exceptionally able children and investigate the challenges faced by teachers and children.

Take the next step