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    How Can I use Professional Agency to Enhance my Teaching of Gaeilge?

    Champkin, Sandra (2022) How Can I use Professional Agency to Enhance my Teaching of Gaeilge? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis outlines my engagement with a practitioner based form of research, Self Study Action Research (SSAR). I explore how I use professional agency to enhance my teaching of Gaeilge with my Senior Infant pupils. Empowerment, positivity and creativity are the core values which underpin my research. Two research questions are investigated. Research question one focusses on how I reflect on policy developments to enhance my teaching of Gaeilge. Suggested best practice is contextualised with reference to the Primary Language Curriculum (PLC) (NCCA, 2019). Research question two seeks to inform whether my engagement with implementing ‘suggested best practice’ can impact upon my sense of professional agency. Policies such as the Cosán Framework (TC, 2016) and the Looking at our Schools document (DES, 2016) situate the conceptualisation of professional development in the current political environment. In line with the SSAR methodology, three cycles of targeted reflective interventions were trialed within my classroom to enhance my teaching of Gaeilge. This included the use of the Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodology (NCCA, 2019), alongside an emphasis on empowerment of pupils. Data was collected through the use of a reflective journal and focus group pupil interviews. Cultivating empowerment to impact upon learning, as well as the benefits of responsive reflective practice, surfaced as findings. The learning environment was identified as a key factor which influences learning experiences and outcomes in the classroom. This finding transferred to possibilities for teachers’ use of professional agency, with school culture highlighted as an enabling factor for such. Findings, in relation to language learning, highlighted the need for meaningful opportunities to use Gaeilge as a living language. Additionally, the need to cultivate positive dispositions towards Gaeilge was identified. Interestingly, I noted that my study’s findings relating to enhancing my teaching of Gaeilge were very similar to recommendations for the teaching of Gaeilge found within the recent Inspectorate report’s (DES, 2022). More significantly, however, it is noted that the experiential process of identifying this learning highlighted the importance of experiential learning to positively impact upon teachers’ motivation and perceived ability to implement positive change. It is concluded that professional agency is not just a renewed focus within policy to overcome accountability (DES, 2021), but an essential element of promoting teacher professionalism, an integral component for innovation in education to flourish and a reminder of the inherent importance of teacher voice for positivity and hope within the profession.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: M.Ed. Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Keywords: Professional Agency; Enhance; Teaching of Gaeilge;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 17265
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2023 10:31
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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