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IRMS 2018 BOOK OF ABSTRACTS

Friday, 9am – Room T1.18


Presenter: – Des Carswell
Title: “LITERATURE MAPPING EXERCISE”

Friday, 10am – Room T1.18


KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
PROF. EUGENE WALL, PRESIDENT, MARY IMMACULATE COLLEGE, LIMERICK
TITLE: “EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN IRELAND”

Friday, 11.30am – Room T1.18


Presenters: Dr Mary Roche, Dr Máirín Glenn, Dr Caitriona McDonagh, Dr
Bernie Sullivan
Title: “BLURRING BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE: WHAT
DOES THIS MEAN IN REAL LIFE?”
Educational practice is informed by theory, some of which may be irrelevant to certain school
contexts, while more can be beneficial. Educational practice is often informed by policy that
appears to view teachers/educators as technicians, discouraged from thinking for themselves.
We believe that educators must see themselves as professionals who reflect philosophically
on their work. This includes an ability to theorise the values underpinning their work, while
recognising and critiquing the current re-emergence of narrow positivist discourse. Often,
support is needed to appreciate how emancipatory such theorising can be. That was our
experience of engaging in critical reflection on our practice.

We are four educators, with involvement in education at first, second and third level, as well
as engaging in and supervising academic research. We ask:

 How relevant is education theory to practice today?


 How does practice influence education theory today?
As self-study action researchers we actively promote the idea that educators engage deeply
with the literature and enter into dialogue with colleagues about their understandings of the
literature. We perceive that such dialogue can enhance understanding and make it relevant
for each educator’s own situation. We are convinced that when practitioners engage in
research grounded in their practice, and when they provide descriptions and explanations for
that practice (Whitehead 1989), they not only improve and transform their own practice, but
they can also generate rigorous, robust theory that can be awarded the highest academic
accreditation. We invite audience participation and discussion as we explain how, through
setting up the Network for Educational Action Research Ireland (NEARI) we provide a safe,
ethical space for educators to belong to a learning community where all can engage in
professional conversations, and can present, critique and theorise our practice, as we each
develop our understanding of why we do what we do.

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Friday, 2pm – Room T1.18
Presenters: Clara Hoyne and Dr Suzanne Egan
Title: “Exploring traditional parental roles in early childhood”
The aim of this paper is to examine the role of both Irish mothers and fathers in early
childhood and its impact on child development. Much international research has investigated
the maternal role in caregiving and the home learning environment, however less is known
of fathers’ roles in these domains. This study draws on data from a large birth cohort study,
Growing Up in Ireland, to investigate Irish parents’ roles in early childhood care and in home
learning activities. It provides evidence of parental involvement across a wide range of
activities with infants and how this involvement impacts on child development in areas such
as problem solving, communication and socio-emotional development. Results indicated that
mothers were more involved with 9 month old infants in both caregiving and in home learning
activities than were fathers. These findings are discussed in the context of changing roles
within families and shifting societal expectations for both mothers and fathers. Roles within
families are constantly been constructed and negotiated which influences current parenting
practices. Fathers may have less access to formal and informal supports compared to
mothers. This study also looks at Irish government policy and how it currently supports
parents. Other countries with a strong policy of inclusion of fathers in early childhood are
reviewed. This paper considers the changing ideology of parenthood and the significant role
both parents play.

Friday 2pm, Room T1.17


Presenter: Tiffany Creswell
Title: “From ABD to EdD: A new pathway to completion”
Examining practices within doctoral education in American universities provides an
opportunity for an interesting public policy discussion. The doctoral students who become
ABD (all but dissertation) without completing their degree may be viewed by colleagues and
administrators in higher education as lacking the skills necessary for academic distinction.
Research suggests ABD students are intellectually capable of doctoral degree completion, but
policies and system structures create barriers to success. These ABD students are often left
with few options in traditional doctoral programs once the seven-year time-frame concludes.
To overcome these barriers, colleges and universities need to activate resources that are
shown to work. Researchers have called for a new direction in the education doctorate, one
that places practitioner knowledge at the center of programmatic decision-making. Doctoral
programs, too, must adapt to changes in how instruction is managed and delivered, and must
include options that recognize and facilitate discipline mastery without compromising their
integrity or the quality of their degrees.
The authors recommend a new model for successful completion of the education doctorate
through evidence-based practice. This paper proposes a new path to doctoral degree
completion, one that minimizes arbitrary time-frames and emphasizes discipline mastery
through Prior Learning Assessment, rigorous coursework, and graduate-level research. This
model implements structured mentoring and the transformation of dissertation research
from an end-of-program destination to a program-embedded process. In addition, this paper
will provide a discussion of best practices and policies for improved success for doctoral
students following this pathway to completion.

2
Friday 2pm, Room T1.16
Presenter: Khulud Aljohani
Title: “Comprehension of English idioms by Arabic learners of English with
reference to sociolinguistic factors”
Figurative language research has attracted considerable attention in recent years, particularly
in the field of English as a Foreign Language (EFL)/ English as a Second Language (ESL) (Cooper
1999; Vanlancker-Sidtis 2003; Aljabri 2013). One type of figurative language is idiomatic
language. An idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be understood through its
constituent elements and therefore the meanings of idioms can often be related to aspects
of culture. Previous research has shown that figurative language, and idioms specifically, have
played an important role in second language studies due to their complex characteristics
which can be challenging for learners. There are several variable factors which can influence
the acquisition of second language vocabulary such as the learner’s first language (L1), age,
amount of exposure to the target language, motivation, and culture (Schmitt 2000).
This paper describes the methodology and initial findings of a study of two groups of Saudi
learners of English. Saudi learners who study abroad in Ireland (Study abroad group) vs Saudi
learners who study at local universities in Saudi Arabia (At home group) in order to investigate
the influence of cultural context on the comprehension of English idioms. Other variable
factors such as age, gender, L1, level of education, level of proficiency, exposure to target
language and context enhancement are also taken into account to determine whether these
factors have an impact on the comprehension of English idioms.

Friday 2.30pm, Room T1.18


Presenter: Ruth Bourke
Title: “Policy, theoretical and methodological considerations in case study
research on networks of DEIS schools.”
Recent developments in both the Irish and international education landscape have brought
collaboration and learning to prominence in in the form of networks of school, communities
of practice and professional learning communities. School networks as a strategy for
educational reform, innovation and knowledge creation at both local and national level have
also been gaining momentum in OECD countries, including Ireland, since the end of the
twentieth century, particularly in policy discourse on teacher continuing professional
development. This paper will discuss the policy context and development of a conceptual
framework for doctoral case study research that focuses on understanding member’s
perceptions about their participation in two school networks that emerged in an organic,
grass roots fashion in contrast to policy driven networks in other contexts. The PLUS and
OSCAILT networks of DEIS schools are facilitated and supported by the Transforming
Education through Dialogue (TED) Project, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and the
Department of Education and Skills (in the case of OSCAILT). Drawing on social network theory
and social capital theory, the paper will explore the relevance of these theories to the
conceptual framework for the research. It will also outline the research design and
methodology and explore key ethical considerations encountered to date in collecting data
as empirical evidence in ‘back-yard’ research that seeks to understand why and how these
networks have evolved as well as their impact at local level in terms of supporting DEIS
schools.

3
Friday 2.30pm, Room T1.17
Presenter: Santhi Corcoran
Title: “Leadership in Irish schools in the context of multicultural classrooms:
Interviews with school principals on managing diversity”
When one examines the competencies, a school requires of its principal, the list can be
daunting. The proficiencies principals need to manage and lead schools in a rapidly changing
social, cultural and financial landscape can be complex and insurmountable, (Takahashi, 1998;
Davidson and Taylor, 1999; Davies, 2009). This group of leaders are expected to promote
policies and practices that will ensure the progress of their schools but also to ensure equality
and diversity are supported within their schools. In equal measure they are also expected to
create spaces that promote social justice and apply democratic approaches that will empower
their pupils, teachers and school communities. Leadership also entails accountability for the
success or failure of schools with associated pressures and responsibilities that are multiple,
often perplexing and continuously changing, (Copland, 2001; Caldwell, 1998; Elmore, 2000;
Blasé and Blasé, 1999; Whitaker 1999). Successful schools are often well supported in not
only the learning and development of both teachers and pupils, but also where the leadership
has authority and is fair, consistent and democratic towards change, (Apple, 1999; Reese,
1986). This researcher explores the complexity of the roles of principals in the Midwest of
Ireland as classrooms and school landscapes become more diverse by using material analysed
from interviews conducted with secondary school principals. The research explores how this
group are supporting changes both in terms of diversity and multiculturalism in Irish
classrooms and the need for intercultural competence and sensitivity within educational
spaces. The paper also examines the support that principals need both as leaders and as
individuals who work with complex educational, socio-economic and cultural dynamics in
their schools and asks if the systems in place promote not just the success of schools but also
the well-being and sustainability of educational leaders and teachers.

4
Friday 2.30pm, Room T1.16
Presenter: MaryAnne Lowney Slattery
Title: “An Investigation into creating and sustaining a Mental Health
Promoting School”
This paper is based on interdisciplinary research entitled ‘Creating and Sustaining a Mental
Health Promoting School: attitudes and experiences of post-primary school communities’.
The research is a multi-case case study encompassing eight post-primary ETB1 schools located
in Kerry. The research is framed by Ball’s (2003) policy trajectory examining educational policy
as discourse, text and effects. Using this policy trajectory, the operational context for Irish
post-primary schools, seeking to engage in mental health promotion is illustrated.

This paper discusses language, learning and culture as a variable of impact, influence and
engagement in public and policy spheres. The paper explores ‘Economic Reproduction
Theory’ in contemporary Irish post-primary education which operates in a late neoliberal
context. The marketisation of post-primary education, through the introduction of ‘choice
ideology’ in the Education Act (1998), has intensified competition among actors in each
socioeconomic profile for schools with high progression rates to third level. This paper
demonstrates that Ireland operates a classed system of education with three main provision
types receiving funding from the Department of Education and Skills. The State contributes
to a spectrum of provision from private fee-paying schools to DEIS2 schools for disadvantaged
socio-economic profiles. Contemporary practices of ‘class-based’ enrolments appear to have
been tempered with the passing of the EPSEN3 Act (2004) legislating for students with SEN to
have the right to mainstreaming where appropriate. Bourdieu’s concept of social field enables
an examination of emerging trends such as middle class parents of students with SEN or
additional needs enrolling in DEIS schools. This paper provides detailed analysis at a micro or
‘policy as effects’ level regarding contemporary interpretations of policy and resulting trends,
practices and effects on school communities in relation to mental health promotion.

Friday 3pm, Room T1.18


Presenters: Dr Ann Higgins and Ruth Bourke
Title: “Bedford Row Family Project: Holding the Suffering”
Prisoners, former prisoners and families affected by imprisonment can experience great
stigma and isolation in Irish society. Drawing on recent research (Higgins and Bourke 2017)
with the Bedford Row Family Project (BRFP), Limerick City, this paper challenges prevailing
perceptions, held by the dominant ideology and evident within public discourse, of prisoners
and families affected by imprisonment as gang land criminals and “drug tycoons” leading
extravagant lifestyles financed by crime. The loss and pain of families often remains hidden
from view. The design of the study, an ethno case study informed by narrative inquiry
principles, offered the researchers the opportunity to engage with integrity and to learn from
the ‘experts by experience’ who avail of the services offered by the BRFP which include a
variety of needs-led, intergenerational, multi-site supports. This paper recognises and

1
ETB= Education and Training Board
2
DEIS= Delivering Equality in Schools
3
EPSEN= Education for Persons with Special Education Needs

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explores the complex impact of imprisonment at societal, family and personal level for
families affected by imprisonment, former prisoners and prisoners and describes their needs
along with the challenges they face. In contrast to the prevailing orthodoxy, we present an
alternative view of families living with the struggles and challenges associated with
imprisonment. We provide evidence from the research to show that the holistic model of
family support adopted by the BRFP has had a profound impact on the quality of lives of the
children, families and adults who use the service. The supports offered to prisoners, former
prisoners and their families to manage the prison sentence and to prepare them for transition
out of prison and back into family and society was deeply appreciated by the people we
interviewed. Essentially, engagement with the BRFP nurtured hope, built resilience and
helped individuals to believe that a better life was possible. This paper explores the
implications of the research findings for policy makers and practitioners in the area of family
support and imprisonment.

Friday 3pm, Room T1.17


Presenter: Dr Cathal Og O’Sullivan
Title: “Re-imagining professional development for Irish physical education
teachers”
Purpose: Professional Development (PD) aims to provide teachers with opportunities to
enhance their knowledge, develop new instructional practices as well as encouraging them
to view themselves as learners (Patton and Parker 2015). Traditionally PD for Irish teachers
has consisted of sporadic, one shot in-service days where content is delivered on behalf of
government agencies. This delivery method routinely forefronts teachers as passive learners
and recipients of knowledge from experts (Patton and Parker 2015). Current PD efforts are
more active, but still remain unsustained. These PD delivery methods rarely satisfy the needs
of teachers (Tannehill and MacPhail 2016) resulting in cognitive disengagement, frustration,
and animosity. Professional Development should be teacher centred, providing continual,
meaningful and regular support (O’Sullivan and Deglau 2006). This study’s purpose was to
examine the impact of participatory PD on teachers and students. Specifically, we sought to
understand impacts on: teacher knowledge, empowerment, and practice and student
learning.
Methods: Participants included six physical education teachers (three males; three females)
currently teaching physical education in Irish secondary schools. Qualitative data consisted of
semi-structured focus group interviews, artefacts (from PD sessions), and researcher field
notes from classroom observations. Quantitative data included pre-and post-analysis of five
FMS (running, catching, throwing, kicking and vertical jump).
Results: Data analysis is ongoing; yet, there are clear facilitators and barriers to PD. Results
will be further presented regarding, equality of resources, teachers’ perspectives of the
continual PD process, and the student learning results.
Conclusion: We plan to discuss how the findings from this study advocate, in light of the
current curricular changes, calls for a change in culture for PD in Ireland from one that is
passive to one that is participatory and involves teachers in their own learning. Furthermore
the results will allow us to interrogate the extent to which PD actually impacts student
learning.

6
Friday 3pm, Room T1.16
Presenter: Dr Gwen Moore
Title: “Ideology, Curriculum and Higher Music Education: Examining the
Structure/Agency Dialectic for Learning and Teaching in the Neo-Liberal Era”
In recent decades, higher education has seen extensive social, economic, and educational
transformation (Barnett, 1990; 2003; David, 2007) including the promotion of diversity in the
socio-economic profile, age, ethnicity, disability and citizenship status of students (Higher
Education Authority, 2010). Consequently, the student population and profile within the Irish
higher education context has undergone significant change. Such policy changes have brought
into sharp focus the inequalities that prevail when pursuing a music degree (Moore 2015).
Moreover, few studies have examined the ways in which ideological assumptions of musical
value and knowledge impact on the student and lecturer experience of learning and teaching
within higher music education.

 Accordingly, this paper will address the following questions:


 What ideologies and values influence policy, curriculum and practice in higher music
education?
To address the complexity of the question posed above, I will critique the interplay between
ideology, musical value and the curriculum as structures that both students and lecturers co-
construct and negotiate. I will examine theories of higher education curricula to contextualise
the diversity of curricula within the sector and the ways in which the ‘hidden curriculum’
facilitates the reproduction of ideologies and musical values. Finally, drawing from Bourdieu
(1988) and Bernstein (1971), I will present a theoretical model derived from a mixed methods
study by the author that illustrates how curriculum in higher music education operates as a
dialectic of structure/agency depending on how it classifies musical boundaries and frames
the learning context through pedagogy. More critically, I will argue that curriculum and
pedagogy would seem to be pivotal in the agency that music lecturers and students perceive
they have in negotiating the field of higher education policy and practice.

7
Friday 4pm, Room T1.18
KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – PROF. JENNIFER GORE (UNIVERSITY OF
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)

TITLE: “IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF TEACHING: EVIDENCE FROM DIVERSE


METHODOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES”
The field of educational research encompasses a vast array of paradigmatic and
methodological perspectives. Arguably, this range has both expanded, on the one hand, and
limited, on the other, work done in the name of educational research. In Australia, more than
in other parts of the world, and perhaps because we are a smaller community of scholars, the
ascendancy of certain perspectives has profoundly shaped the current state of the field. With
deep lines of demarcation between sociological and psychological perspectives and between
qualitative and quantitative research methods, most of us have been groomed to take sides
– to identify ourselves in relation to particular theorists, theories, or traditions. We have been
expected to reconcile who we are as educational academics with what we do as educational
researchers, often in surprisingly unified ways. In this presentation, I explore how diverse
methodological and theoretical perspectives can be brought together to fortify educational
research. Drawing on my own recent projects on teacher development, I demonstrate how
diverse perspectives, including Foucauldian analysis and randomised controlled trials, can
combine to enrich the analysis and the potential impact of the work. I argue that reconciling
differences within educational research is critical to ensuring the strength of the field and
supporting the next generation of researchers to have a deeper impact on schooling and
society. Our legacy as researchers, however defined, is likely to be strengthened as a result.

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Saturday, 9am, Room T1.18
KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – PROF. HENRY BRAUN, LYNCH SCHOOL OF
EDUCATION, BOSTON COLLEGE, USA

TITLE: STATISTICAL VEXATIONS: CAUSAL INFERENCE FROM OBSERVATIONAL


STUDIES
A persistent challenge in both policy analysis and social scientific research is to draw credible
causal inferences from observational studies. In this presentation Prof. Henry Braun will offer
a critical review of some strategies that have been proposed and argue for the essential roles
played by longitudinal data (or, at a minimum, pseudo-panel data) and sensitivity analysis in
providing an evidence base for such inferences. The relevant issues will be illustrated by
example. Connections with the problem of replicability will also be explored.

Saturday, 10am, Room T1.18


Presenter: Brighid Golden
Title: “Critical Thinking as a Response to Global Challenges”
Globally we are faced with increasingly urgent questions about the future shape of our planet.
In a world wreaked with some of the biggest challenges to ever face humanity in climate
change and mass migration, our education system is faced with the responsibility to prepare
students to respond to such challenges. Schools offer the opportunity to equip future
generations with the skills to respond to the world’s problems and find solutions for a more
sustainable future.
Critical thinking presents itself as one of the key skills needed in response to global problems,
indeed Wagner (2009)of Harvard University has identified critical thinking as the top skill
needed to survive in a futures oriented education. At its heart critical thinking represents ‘the
longing to know – to understand how life works’ (hooks, 2010, p.7). To be a critical thinker is
to be interested in the world around you, in how it works and in how to solve its’ problems.
Although critical thinking offers the possibility to solve global problems, there is scepticism as
to the feasibility of teaching critical thinking skills. Atkinson (1997) believes that critical
thinking is too ambiguous to be a transferable skill which can be explicitly taught and then
used across multiple disciplines and scenarios. If we deem critical thinking to be non-
transferable, then the potential transformative impact from critical thinking on a person’s life
or on a scenario is lost.
This paper examines the beginning stages of an action research project examining the
potential for development education within initial teacher education to support student
teachers to develop critical thinking skills in response to global issues. The action research
project is in the first of two cycles of personal reflection and data collection with student
teachers on a module within a B.Ed. programme in the Republic of Ireland.

9
Saturday, 10am, Room T1.17
Presenters: Dr Richard Bowles and Dr Anne O’Dwyer
Title: “Insights from a coaching community of practice: An un-orthodox
approach to coach education”
Research in coach education has focused on defining and developing the core elements of
‘good coaching’ (Gilbert et al., 2010). Experiential (coaching experience) and informal
education (observation of other coaches) have been identified as the primary sources of
knowledge for coaches and coaching (Cushion et al., 2003), and doubts have been raised
about the efficacy of formal coach education programmes (Nelson, Cushion, and Potrac
2013). Coaching can be described as ‘regulated improvisation’ (Bourdieu, 1977), a process
which is evolving and refining over time. Jones (2006) has characterised coaching as an
educational relationship based on social constructivist principles. Furthermore, Jones and
Wallace (2006, p.63) argued that the “coaching context is one characterised by ambiguity”
and suggest that viewing the coach as ‘orchestrator’ may be a useful analogy. More recently,
Stodter and Cushion (2017) unpacked the complex process of coach learning and
development, and highlighted the importance of coach reflection.

Building on evidence of the value of communities of practice (CoPs) for coach learning
(Bertram, Culver, and Gilbert 2016), this research explored the experiences of two coaches
within an emerging Coaches’ Community of Practice (CCoP) (Culver and Trudel 2006). The
qualitative data collected in this research included coaching plans (36 in total), weekly written
individual and collaborative reflections (40 in total), and four audio-recorded discussions with
a critical friend over the course of a seven month coaching season. The adoption of a self-
study methodology helped to validate the development and learning within the CCoP. The
CCoP enabled the coaches to address the emerging conflicts, challenges and decision-making
processes. This allowed for relationship building and enhanced communication between the
coaches, and for opportunities to share knowledge and to problem solve. The findings of this
research provide insight into how a CCoP can formalise otherwise missed opportunities for
coach education.

Saturday, 10.30am, Room T1.18


Presenter: Breed Murphy
Title: “Exploring academic achievements of students in multigrade
classrooms: longitudinal analysis of Growing Up in Ireland Child Cohort data.”
Multigrade education, where children from two or more class levels are educated in the same
classroom, is a significant feature of international educational systems. In Ireland, more than
a third of primary school children are educated in multigrade classes. It is claimed that
multigrade education presents an opportunity for educators to recognise the heterogeneity
of their class groupings and to adapt their instruction to meet the individual needs of students
within their classes, enabling pupils to meet their potential. Research in the area reports
conflicting findings pertaining to the benefits of multigrade education for children. Some
studies indicate that children who are educated in multigrade classrooms display
independence, creativity, co-operation and flexibility. In contrast, other studies report that
teachers are inadequately prepared to teach children in multigrade settings. The reasons
posited suggest insufficient preparation in initial teacher education to teach in multigrade

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settings and a lack of suitable continuing professional development courses for practising
teachers.
The aim of this study is to explore the academic outcomes for children in multigrade settings
in Ireland. It explores the achievement levels of these children and compares them with their
counterparts in more conventional single-grade classrooms. The study draws on data from
the child cohort of the national study of Irish children participating in the ‘Growing up in
Ireland’ [GUI] study. The first wave of data collection commenced in 2007 involving a
nationally representative sample of 8568 nine-year old children. Of these children over 2,700
were being educated in multigrade classes. Four years later, a second wave of data collection
followed up on the experiences of these same children. The data provide significant insight
into the academic achievements of the children involved in the study. Preliminary findings
indicate that while the academic outcomes for children in multigrade classes are broadly
similar to children in single grade classes, differences exist when the results are disaggregated
by gender.

Saturday, 10.30am, Room T1.17


Presenter: Chloe Beatty
Title: “Exploring the Impact of Interactive Screen Time on Young Irish
Children's Cognitive and Socio-emotional Development”
Passive screen time exposure, for example watching TV, and its correlation with childhood
obesity, aggression, and delays in language development is an area of great interest in
developmental psychology. Yet, research investigating the effects of active screen time
exposure, such as the use of touchscreen devices and smartphones, on young children’s (aged
2 to 6) development is still relatively scarce. The aim of the proposed research is to address
this gap by assessing the extent of young Irish children’s engagement with interactive
technologies, and its impact on their cognitive and socio-emotional development, and by
doing so, contribute future implications to be considered in policy decisions concerning
children’s screen time. This project focuses on the technological shift that has arisen in the
last decade, and the extent of young children's exposure to interactive screen time (e.g., video
calls with relatives, or using touchscreen devices). The objectives of this study, therefore, are
threefold:
1. Explore the extent, and types, of screen time use by young Irish children - This
exploration and classification of types of screen time will provide a basis to examine
the effects of different interactive technologies on children’s cognitive and socio-
emotional development.
2. Investigate the aspects of screen time that may be important in contributing to
healthy cognitive and socio-emotional development - These may include the
interactive and educational nature of the content of these technologies, in addition to
the role of the adult caregiver in interacting with the child during exposure to such
technologies.
3. Synthesise the main outputs of objectives 1 and 2 in light of theories of child
development - Resulting in possible implications for government recommendations
on the levels and types of screen time appropriate for young children, along with
providing scientific guidance for caregivers who are concerned about children's
inevitable engagement with emerging technologies.

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Saturday, 11.30am, Room T1.18
Presenters: Dr Fionnuala Tynan and Dr Margaret Nohilly
Title: “Cutting through the Crap: What wellbeing actually means to teachers
in an Irish context”
Wellbeing remains an enigmatic, multi-faceted concept that sometimes eludes definition in
academic papers. The lack of a universally accepted definition and, consequently, the lack of
theoretical frameworks are challenges in this field which has led to a research base that is
‘diverse and at times unclear and discrepant’ (Miller, Connolly and Maguire 2013, p. 241).
Wellbeing is interpreted in different ways and ‘has become a ubiquitous term for all things
health related within the community’ (Gillett-Swan and Sargeant, 2015, p. 135). In
educational terms, wellbeing has been presented to Irish schools as synonymous with mental
health through the Well-being in Primary Schools: Guidelines for mental health promotion
(Department of Education and Skills and Department of Health 2015). In a study conducted
in conjunction with three education centres on the West coast of Ireland, teachers indicated
their reluctance to deal with mental-health issues in schools. Their interpretation of
wellbeing gives a vernacular, which enables greater understanding of the concept of
wellbeing. They were then able to plan a range of actions to promote pupils’ wellbeing in an
Irish educational context. Of greatest significance was the fact that the actions to enhance
pupils’ wellbeing also enhanced teachers’ wellbeing creating a momentum for developing a
positive school culture and climate. Ultimately, the discourse on wellbeing needs to be
translated into a context-based language that can actually be understood and accepted by
professionals.

Saturday, 11.30am, Room T1.17


Presenter: Caitlin Neachtain
Title: “Generating individualised learning goals from a learner corpus in Initial
Teacher Education (ITE)”
The most recent report from the Inspectorate’s school inspections programme has
highlighted “deterioration in outcomes” at both primary and post-primary level in Ireland,
with “significantly poorer” outcomes than the other core subjects, English and Mathematics
(DES, 2018). Over a third of school leavers report having little or no Irish, despite having had
between 2,250 and 2,500 hours of instruction in the language. Bridging the gap between the
minimum standard for entry and the expected outgoing standard of proficiency upon course
completion, Initial Teacher Education (ITE) faces a growing challenge in designing and
delivering Irish programmes that caters to all students’ needs and expectations under limited
time constraints. Incoming students range from H5 standard in Higher Level Leaving
Certificate Irish upward, and are required to attain a B2 proficiency level on the Common
European Framework for Languages (CEFR) before qualification.
Developing learner autonomy is key to effective learning in higher education. Little (2007)
states that “the essence of learner autonomy is willing, proactive and reflective involvement
in one’s own learning”. This paper investigates students’ perceptions of autonomous learning
in their first year of undergraduate study, along with their motivation to engage with
supplementary individualised learning programmes. With a view to creating effective learner-
oriented instructional materials, data derived from the growing CAES learner corpus (Corpas

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Anótáilte de réir Earráidí Scríofa) provide an insight into students’ general language
proficiency levels and support the use of diagnostic language tools in language education to
improve learner outcomes. We look at methods for deriving students’ language proficiency
from a written language corpus and at applying that data to the creation of a diagnostic tool
that generates individualised learning pathways based on learner input to prioritise individual
learning goals.

Saturday, 12pm, Room T1.18


KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – DR MIRIAM HAMILTON, DEPARTMENT OF STEM
EDUCATION, MIC, LIMERICK

TITLE: “MIND THE GAP-FROM THE LAND OF THE PHD TO THE REAL WORLD
RESEARCH SPACE”

This keynote explores the local realities of ‘life after the PhD’ for one alumni researcher,
caught in the liminal space as a novice researcher, among seasoned researchers. Navigating
the ideological, practical, logistical and personal decisions of a novice researcher, I explore
and present some research stories of success and struggle. This keynote prompts us to reflect
on what it is we research, and whom we engage in our research worlds. It aims to stimulate
engagement and conversation about why and for whom, we do research. This keynote
challenges us to consider how we use research to generate new thinking and to contemplate
how research can reliably reform policy and instigate critical and continued educational
renewal.

Saturday, 2pm, Room T1.18


Presenter: Gyorgy Nagy
Title: “Towards Intercultural Competence: Models and Frameworks for
Developing ESOL Learners’ Intercultural Competence in Ireland”

Without the study of culture, second language acquisition is not complete (Kramsch, 1993).
While teaching about culture raises learners’ awareness of the target culture and their own
home culture, it gives them an intercultural competence (Kramsch, 1997, p. 231). Due to the
growing number of immigrants in Ireland (CSO, 23 August 2016), the migration crisis in Europe
and the demographic changes that Brexit imposes on Ireland (Irish Independent, 30 August
2017), we will see more and more newcomer learners in the English for Speakers of Other
Languages (ESOL) providers in Ireland. The successful integration of these learners into Irish
society depends on the successful development of their intercultural competence and the
successful development of their intercultural competence is subject to what is taught about
Ireland and the Irish society to them. This paper aims to provide an insight into the models
and theoretical frameworks for developing intercultural competence as being a fundamental
element not only in the progress of ESOL learners’ successful cultural integration into a society
new to them but also in the process of their healthy identity construction. This presentation
focuses on the application of the three Ps approach to culture (ACTFL, 1999) in developing
intercultural competence as defined by Byram et al. (2002) and Deardorff (2006) in an Irish
context. The paper wishes to contribute to the vibrant global conversation among

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professionals about the ways to develop intercultural competence but, more importantly, it
intends to help teachers incorporate cultural elements into their teaching materials
effectively and appropriately.
Saturday, 2pm, Room T1.17
Presenter: Derbhile de Paor
Title: “A Triple tale: The pied piper. The Wizard of Oz and the Emperor’s new
Clothes”
The tale, is an exploration of the narratives of the lived professional experience of practicing
teachers undertaking the extended professional activities required by recent policy
developments in the Continuum of Teacher Education in Ireland. In this context, “The pied
piper of neoliberalism calls the tune” (Mooney Simmie 2012) and the counter melody of
teachers experience may not be heard by the Wizard of Oz (Policy makers). The triple tale,
brought to light through the journey of researcher-as-briocoleur-theorist (Denzin and Lincoln
2011 P7) begins with the autobiographical lens of my own story. The narrative of teacher,
school leader, policy maker and teacher educator is the lens through which I seek to
understand the Pied Piper, and the Wizard of Oz. Exploring, “Who is the self that teaches?”
(Palmer 2007) and attempting to escape the “tentacles of the grand narrative of formalistic
research” (Clandinin and Connelly 2000) I explore my personal narrative though the lens of
my personal philosophical framework. Reflexively considering if I am Dorothy on the yellow
brick road of formalistic research or if I am the innocent little boy (or girl) in the Emperors’
New Clothes proclaiming that ‘The king is in the altogether’ in the policy parade. The tale is
explored by ‘speaking personally, academically’ though engagement with creative
approaches to ‘life writing. The research text is built through the co presence of performance
and ethnography, (Spry 2006). In taking an autoethnographic approach, the performative –
I, my exploration of this triple tale argues the personal, professional, political, emancipatory
potential of auto ethnographic performance.

Saturday, 2.30pm, Room T1.18


KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – PROF MARIE PARKER-JENKINS, UNIVERSITY OF
LIMERICK
TITLE: “PERENNIAL QUESTIONS & INNOVATIVE RESPONSE: LEADERSHIP IN
MULTICULTURAL CONTEXTS”

Are leaders 'born' or 'made'?. If 'born', what are the traits?, if 'made', what are the skills they
must require?. These are the perennial questions raised in all organisations and particularly
within educational establishments during times of cultural change and controversial global
events. The presentation follows a structure which includes:
i) Leadership & Multiculturalism -definitions & theory; (ii) Practical responses; (iii) Dimensions
of & contestations in ‘multiculturalism’; (iv) Broader philosophical considerations. This
interactive keynote asks academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners to examine
the challenges of leading in a multicultural context and the implications for their own work.

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