Press Releases

Press Releases

book launch

UL PhD graduates’ publication highlights benefits of reflective process for teachers

Wednesday, 1st February 2012Tags: Enhancing Practice through Classroom Research, Dr. Caitriona McDonagh, Dr. Mary Roche, Dr. Bernie Sullivan, Dr. Máirin Glenn, PhD Graduates, Department of Education and Professional Studies, Professor Marie Parker-Jenkins, University of Limerick,

A publication entitled “Enhancing Practice through Classroom Research”, written by four Irish teachers, was launched at the University of Limerick recently. The authors, Dr. Caitriona McDonagh, Dr. Mary Roche, Dr. Bernie Sullivan and Dr. Máirin Glenn are all PhD Graduates from the University of Limerick.

Co-author Dr. Mary Roche previously taught for many years in primary schools in Cork and is now a Senior Lecturer in the Education Department of St Patrick’s College, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Speaking about the publication Dr. Roche said, “Our book is not ‘about teaching’, or research ‘on teachers’, we are actively living the ideas and values that we write about – three of us are still located in primary schools and one has recently moved to working in Initial Teacher Education. Teachers are faced with dwindling resources and are often overwhelmed with bureaucratic targets and ‘outcome’ focused objectives. We took control of our professional development and we hope that our book will encourage other teachers to take the same initiative. We hope that for teacher educators and providers of professional development our book will be a useful theoretical and practical guide for all engaged in post graduate studies in education.”

Co-author Dr. Bernie Sullivan, who is Principal of St. Brigid’s Girls’ Senior School in Finglas, Dublin, said, “While undertaking research into my own teaching practice, I realised the importance of self-reflection and self-evaluation to the professional lives of teachers. This knowledge was the inspiration that prompted me to collaborate with my three colleagues in writing our book. In the current climate of ever-increasing workloads and ever-decreasing resources, it is imperative that teachers engage in self-reflection as a form of continuing professional development. It is also important that they view this as a positive influence in their lives, rather than as an additional burden. Our book serves as a guide to teachers outlining how they can incorporate the reflective process into their teaching practice without making their daily workload more onerous.”

Speaking at the launch of “Enhancing Practice through Classroom Research” Professor Marie Parker-Jenkins, Department of Education and Professional Studies atULsaid, “Four of our former doctoral students have produced a highly readable book which brings together the process of research, reflection and action. Written by teachers for teachers, it provides a clear guide to classroom research, and raises central issues in teacher education such as: what are our values, why do we teach what we teach, and how can we inform sound educational policy and practice? The authors are advocates of teachers engaging in research of their own practice; trusting their capacity to exercise wisdom and good judgement in generating new knowledge”.

Professor Peter McLaren, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland,who also spoke at the launch, said, “This book highlights the important role of praxis in research in teacher education, how theory and practice mutually inform each other in the process of teaching critically in the service of creating a more just and humane world.”

The authors recently completed a commissioned study for the Teaching Council which examined an innovative model of teacher professional development, through which teachers were introduced to a methodology for reflecting on their own practice using the principles of self-study action research.

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