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New Educational Horizons in Contemporary Ireland

Trends and Challenges

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Edited By Thomas Grenham and Patricia Kieran

Ireland is in the grip of a postmodern cultural deconstruction on many levels. The traditional ‘grand narratives’ are increasingly viewed with suspicion and disenchantment as Ireland struggles to understand its evolving identity. There is a growing need for comprehensive interdisciplinary research that will facilitate teaching and learning in this rapidly changing cultural and societal context.
This book brings a fresh approach to Irish educational debates, in which qualified educational specialists engage collaboratively in interdisciplinary reflection on their own teaching and learning. The volume addresses a multiplicity of key issues in Irish education (with a particular focus on the primary sector), including teacher formation, curriculum development, teaching and learning methods, educational policy, philosophy, history, religious education, ethics, special needs education and transformative education. The book aims both to critique new educational policy and practice and to identify the key challenges in providing innovative, imaginative and cutting-edge teaching and learning in contemporary Irish schools.

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Acknowledgements xi

Extract

Acknowledgements Both Thomas and Patricia would like to acknowledge the support, encour- agement and expertise of their colleagues in the faculties of Education and the Liberal Arts at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), University of Limerick. In particular we would like to acknowledge and thank Professor Teresa O’Doherty, Dean of the Faculty of Education, at MIC and Professor Claire W. Lyons, Head of the Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education, who provided support, advice and encouragement throughout the project. Particular gratitude is also due to wonderful col- leagues in the department of Learning, Society and Religious Education, both those who contributed chapters and those who provided academic support for the book project. We are grateful for the stimulating aca- demic environment created by colleagues and students in the Faculties of Education and Arts at MIC. Special thanks are due to all the staf f of the Transforming Education Through Dialogue (TED) project at MIC who provided funding to enable the research to be undertaken. We would also like to thank our departmental secretary Deirdre McInerney and all of our colleagues in Professional Services at MIC. Most importantly we would like to acknowledge and thank the student community of pre-service teachers, past and present, at MIC who motivated us to write this book and whose commitment and insights into teaching and learning, as well as their con- structive critique, has been inspiring. We extend special gratitude to the teachers in the primary schools and other centres of education where we work...

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