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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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Part II - Formation 51

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Part II Formation Anne M. Dolan 3 Lifelong Learning: A New Paradigm for Teacher Education Introduction The complex and demanding nature of teaching and teacher education has been well documented in the literature.1 The role of the teacher is far broader than the actual process of teaching itself. In addition to the development of subject and pedagogical knowledge and competences, teachers need to be well prepared for the demands of more diverse student populations, for higher societal expectations, for new and emerging fields of knowledge and for the ongoing re-conceptualisation of the nature of the teaching/learning process itself. These complex and interconnected expectations of primary teachers place considerable demands on the various modes of teacher educa- tion programmes in terms of their conceptualisation, design and delivery. Potentially, the fields of teacher education (which exists predominantly within the fields of formal education) and lifelong learning (which has been largely informed by non-formal education) have much to gain from cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches. There is a growing recogni- tion of the need for teacher education policies to embrace the concept of lifelong learning and to acknowledge teachers’ needs at every stage in the teaching career.2 Several commentators have made the point that a reliance 1 Cochran-Smith, M., Feiman-Nemser, S., McIntyre, J. and Demers, K.E. (eds) (2008). Handbook of Research on Teacher Education. Enduring Questions and Changing Contexts. Third edition. New York and London: Routledge/Taylor Francis Group and The Association of Teacher Educators. 2 OECD. (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining...

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