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  • Publication
    Initial Teacher Education in Ireland: A Philosophical Perspective
    (University College Dublin. School of Education, 2022) ;
    0000-0003-4648-8358
    This thesis embarks on a fully philosophical consideration of the in-school experience during Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in the Irish post-primary context. It holds that initial teacher education, by which I mean the postgraduate preparation of post-primary teachers, requires attention, and in particular requires philosophical consideration. Sociological, economic, and political discussions have dominated ITE development in Ireland, leading to a profound gap in the narrative. My research insists that philosophical perspectives are essential, both to highlight central normative concerns and to make explicit the more latent aspects of our educational work. In Part I, the introduction offers an overview of post-primary initial teacher education in the Republic of Ireland. It sets the scene for an exploration of the in-school experience of student teachers and introduces the key concepts and theorists to be engaged. The second chapter, Methodology, discusses philosophy of education as a distinct and distinctively enriching ‘method’ in the field of educational research and describes my philosophical approach. Part II locates the three central themes of Voice, Risk and Care in school, proceeding from recent policy development and drawing on the work of a central theorist in each chapter discussion. Firstly, in considering mentorship and the emergence of the educator’s voice I turn to the writings of Stanley Cavell on speech, language, and relation. Secondly, risk and the sanitisation of school are problematised in discussion with Gert Biesta’s philosophy of education. And finally, engagement in research during initial teacher education is reconfigured in light of Nel Noddings’ conceptualisation of Care. Each chapter identifies two distinct capabilities of the educator to meaningfully support them as student teachers and throughout their careers. In Part III, the everyday, in its complexity and hope, is recognised as a unifying concern of Cavell, Biesta and Noddings. The Ordinary, in the Cavellian sense, emerges as a fundamental capability of the educator, drawing Voice, Risk and Care together to offer a holistic approach to philosophical analysis of initial teacher education.
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