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New Educational Horizons in Contemporary Ireland

Trends and Challenges


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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Foreword by Anne Looney xxiii


Anne Looney Foreword The Book of Kells is one of Ireland’s national treasures, and among our most popular visitor attractions. This illuminated manuscript of the gospels at Trinity College in Dublin is widely recognised as one of the finest remain- ing examples of insular art. The term insular comes from the Latin root for island. On our small island on the western edge of Europe, sometime around the eighth century, a group of monks took what was fast becoming an international text, and gave it a very particular Celtic and Irish voice and energy. Small islands can make very particular contributions to inter- national movements, not just in art, but in literature and ideas, and in the case of this volume, in education. Questions of identity and power are the subject of global delibera- tion within the field of education. What this volume of fers is the island perspective on those debates, of fering the particularity of the Irish context as both hermeneutic and heuristic. It has been suggested that Irish educa- tion is at once pre-modern and modern, while also being subject to the pressures of post-modernity! The strong though recently contested ties between institutional religion and the education project in Ireland give it a particularly pre-modern feel. The central control of education policy- making and administration, a function of the associations between school- ing and national identity, as well of system size, are associated with a very modern relationship between the state and schooling. Current debates about inclusion...

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