Research Profile

Stephen O'Brien

Biography

(Sep 2006 – Present): Former Chair of the School of Education Research Forum.  As chair, I was responsible for leading a team of colleagues to a) Develop the new Teaching Research Laboratory and generally manage its research functions; b) Set up, manage and promote the annual schedule of research seminars; and c) Determine and manage the public research face of the school. Former college lecturer on the PDEA and BEd in Sports Studies programmes. Currently, college lecturer on the PME (Professional Master of Education) programme (Curriculum and Assessment and Professional Research Paper modules; also formerly Inclusive Multicultural Education and Foundations modules); M.Ed. programme (coordinator of compulsory research seminar supports and curriculum and assessment module option); and PhD programmes.  Supervisor to PME student teachers each year.  Academic supervisor to MEd and PhD students overseeing theoretical treatise and research methodology elements to theses.  Engaged in a number of collaborative research projects (see below). Former academic policy coordinator for the BEd in Sports Studies programme with respect to curriculum and assessment issues; former director of the Teaching Resource Laboratory in partnership with Dr. Tom Mullins and colleagues; former member (2014-2017) of the faculty’s CADC (Curriculum Academic Development Committee); currently serving on the MEd, Research and Innovation, and Graduate Studies school committees.  School representative on the CACSSS Graduate Studies Committee.
(Sep 2002 – Sep 2006): Senior researcher in, and latterly Acting Director of, the Centre for Adult Continuing Education, UCC – this involved designing and undertaking research in the field of adult education and raising the Centre’s academic profile by disseminating results in peer-reviewed journal/book/report publications and representing the Centre (as chair and chief author of the Centre's QI/QA Self Assessment Report) and throughout the Quality Assurance/Improvement stages.  The adult education research studies served to inform good professional practice in the Centre.  For an extensive period I worked with Professor Mairtin Ó Fathaigh on a HEA (Higher Education Authority) funded project designed to identify key aspects of Learning Partnerships for Social Inclusion.  Specifically, the project sought to produce guidelines on best practice for statutory/voluntary providers working with under-represented adult learning groups.  The work culminated in a book published by Oak Tree Press in 2007.  Other projects included: Lecturers’ and tutors’ professional practices in a lifelong learning context.  I also acted as chairperson and facilitator of the Quality Review process and co-authored and edited the Self-Assessment Report outlining the ethos, animating principles, working practices and evaluative outcomes of the Centre over the previous fifteen years.
(Sep 2001 - Sep 2002): Lecturer in CCC (Cork College of Commerce) - educational psychology module of Montessori diploma, sociology and psychology modules of applied social science course, teaching methods module of the JEB (Joint Examining Board) programme, teacher of mathematics for repeat Leaving-Certificate studentsLecturer in UCC - curriculum and assessment module of the HDE (Higher Diploma in Education), curriculum and assessment module and student supervision within the HDEA (Higher Diploma in Educational Administration) and MEd degree coursesLecturer in CIT - management psychology course.   
(Jan 1998 - Aug 2001):
Full-Time PhD study - participant of and contributor to reading groups, discussion forums and seminars on various educational topics.  I presented papers at major educational conferences and had two peer reviewed journal articles published.  I also taught regularly in a supply teaching capacity at a number of secondary and special needs schools in the Bristol area, and helped co-ordinate Easter/Summer Numeracy Schools for disaffected and low ability pupils  
(Sep 1991 - Jan 1998): 
Secondary school teacher and pastoral Head of First Year in St Bonaventure's RC School, East London - this was a very challenging and rewarding experience.  Many of the pupils came from socially deprived backgrounds and some had serious emotional, behavioural and learning disabilities.  As a staff we worked hard on such problems and, since, St Bonaventure's has become a highly successful and heavily over-subscribed comprehensive school.  During my years there I was instrumental in setting up: a new mathematics resource centre; a student school council; 'after-school' clubs (including homework support) for special educational needs children.  From September 1995 I was promoted to the pastoral position of Head of First Year.  Such duties included: overseeing the work of six teacher colleagues, greater communication with external agencies (such as the local authority, educational welfare and social workers, the special needs support unit, parents, and the School Inspectorate); working closely with senior management; engaging with curriculum and pastoral development; expanding educational programmes for the adult community; and conducting primary liaison work.  I also contributed to in-service training provision in school by presenting various educational topics and programmes, as well as taking a lead in a number of teacher workshops. 

Research Interests


ORCID no. 0000-0003-4615-2889
Updated summary - Dr Stephen O Brien has recently completed a monograph with Routledge entitled ‘Inside Education: exploring the art of good learning' - see www.routledge.com/9780415529204. Stephen supports research methodology generally in the School especially at MEd and PhD levels, running a central workshop for students about to embark on research work. Stephen is currently researching students’ civic engagement with the aid of both a UBUNTU grant (2014) and  an IRC grant on Civic Engagement in Social Justice Issues (2014-18). Stephen has worked on the LETS study and on a study on mathematics in the Polish weekend school and has published either as sole or co-author 5 peer-reviewed articles, 4 book chapters, 1 conference publication, 1 book review and 2 reports over the period of the review. Stephen has given and participated in many workshops and has spoken regularly at conferences on the topics of Mathematics, Teachers’ Social Inclusive Work and Critical Perspectives on neoliberal encroachments in education.Further Information - I have worked with secondary school students in a multicultural setting who were marginalised, politically, socially, culturally and educationally. I have also worked with adult learners in community outreach and workplace settings from similar backgrounds. Increasingly, mature students `returning' to formal traditional education too have shaped my own teaching and research practices. This experience with `non-traditional' learners continues to challenge my methodology - I have long wrestled with the question, do `non-traditional' learners require non-traditional forms of learning? In response (I continue to struggle with this question), I believe non-traditional learning forms to mean a challenge to adapt and transform traditional educational practices to include `others' for whom the standard social and cultural capitals of formal education are both obscure and alienating. In this regard, it is important to critique ethos, systems and structures, programme development, curriculum and assessment practices, democratic governance and notions of `effective' learning climates within and across educational systems and institutions. I believe it is essential to acknowledge the `lifeworld' of learners, to engage in relevant (`real-life') and affirming learning issues, to reveal academic mores and skills that appear `beyond reach', to use appropriate language, to engage (where possible) with dialogical practices and personable exchanges, to provide key resources and enable ownership of knowledge, to structure and offer flexible curriculum and assessment opportunities, and to work with colleagues on areas where we as a staff (and institution) can change in partnership with learners. Enlightened by a critical approach to teaching, I am willing to explore diverse methodological approaches and new theoretical and research perspectives that better place learners at the centre of the learning process. I believe in the power of advocacy (and my own position of responsibility in this regard) and the need to develop key networks of specialist support. In stating this, I do believe that `non-traditional' approaches can (inadvertedly or otherwise) place themselves `outside' the critical `self-reflexive' approach they espouse. As an intellectual and ideological interest, it remains important to constantly critique a certain `promotional' (sometimes `mystical') ethic attaching to movements for liberatory, transformative action. The challenge presented to critical theory forms (e.g. adult education, forms of multicultural and inclusive education) is whether they can expunge negative connotations of dogmatism and idealism and authentically engage in their own reflexive practice. It is well to remind, therefore, that teachers are state workers - they, alongside students, work `within a system'. Teaching methods that aim for the development of critical independent learners must engage with the contradictions, dilemmas, ideological and intellectual contestations that prevail within the education system. Such complexity may not be foremost in the minds of student teachers (or professionals with experience for that matter), but it is incumbent on a teacher educator to engage with (over time, with structure, enthusiasm and encouragement) such deep-rooted ideological, and ultimately, personal/professional issues. It is hoped that self-understanding and self-development may emerge from experience therein. I believe that it is the prime responsibility of a teacher-educator/researcher to foster these learning processes and I hope I do so in the manner in which I undertake my own personal/professional practice, at pedagogical and research levels.My current research interests include:
  • Educational Policy Studies
  • Social Inclusion and the Theory of Social Capital
  • Multicultural Education
  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Adult and Community Education
  • Theories of Learning
These areas have important implications for teacher professional development and the promotion of good classroom practice. They also serve to critically inform a broader, effective pedagogical response at both policy and institutional levels. My most current work focuses on exploring the links between immigration into Ireland, social exclusion and poverty and the development of democratic multicultural citizenship. I am also engaged in investigating changing teachers' culture, specifically the impact of new managerialist demands on their work at post-primary school and university levels.

Research Grants

 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
Ubuntu01-SEP-1801-SEP-19€7,000.00
LETs I and II ('Learning to Teach' DES-funded Study based in the School of Education, UCC).€100,000.00
Ubuntu Phase II - Irish Aid funded01-OCT-1601-OCT-17€5,100.00
Civic Engagement in Social Justice Issues - Examining the Impact of GTransformative and innovative Pedagogical Methods on Student teachers at UCC and on Local and International Communities of interest.Irish Research Council01-OCT-1428-FEB-19€96,000.00
UCC - AURORA (Alliance of Universities to Reform curricula that Outcasts Radicalism in Asian societies)€43,048.00
University Access - HEA Funded Research Project01-SEP-0101-SEP-05€130,000.00
Ubuntu - Student teachers' civic engagement with DE01-OCT-1401-OCT-15€5,000.00
University of Bristol PhD Scholarship01-JAN-9801-AUG-01€50,000.00
Ubuntu - Student teachers' civic engagement with DE: Phase II01-SEP-1531-AUG-16€5,000.00
Ubuntu - Multiculturalism Phases 1 and 201-OCT-1001-OCT-12€10,000.00
Ubuntu 2019-202001-SEP-1901-SEP-20€5,000.00
CACSSS Research funds annually 2011-201801-SEP-1101-SEP-18€500.00
Teaching Research Laboratory01-SEP-1701-JAN-20€80,000.00

Publications

Books

 YearPublication
(2016)Inside Education: exploring the art of good learning [www.routledge.com/9780415529204].
O'Brien, S. (2016) Inside Education: exploring the art of good learning [www.routledge.com/9780415529204]. London and New York: Routledge.   [Details]
(2007)Key Aspects of Learning Partnerships for Social Inclusion: Exploring Lifelong Learning Contexts, Issues and Approaches.
O'Brien, S. and Ó Fathaigh, M. ; (2007) Key Aspects of Learning Partnerships for Social Inclusion: Exploring Lifelong Learning Contexts, Issues and Approaches. Cork: Oak Tree Press. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2020)'Hopes and worries in learning to grow together: Key praxiological lessons for the adult educator'
McCarthy, F. and O'Brien, S. (2020) 'Hopes and worries in learning to grow together: Key praxiological lessons for the adult educator'. The Adult Learner: Journal of Adult & Community Education, [Details]
(2020)'The System Crisis 2020: The End of Neoliberal Higher Education in the UK?'
Rudd, T. and O'Brien, S. (2020) 'The System Crisis 2020: The End of Neoliberal Higher Education in the UK?'. Journal Of Critical Realism, [Details]
(2018)'Critical researchers 'of and for our times': Exploring student teachers' use of critical multicultural and development education frameworks in their Professional Research Papers (PRPs)'
O'Brien, S and Cotter, G (2018) 'Critical researchers 'of and for our times': Exploring student teachers' use of critical multicultural and development education frameworks in their Professional Research Papers (PRPs)'. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 1 (26):74-104 [Details]
(2014)'Knowing how to feel about the Other? Student teachers, and the contingent role of embodiments in educational inequalities'
Kitching, K., O'Brien, S., Long, F., Conway, P.F., Murphy, R. and Hall, K. (2014) 'Knowing how to feel about the Other? Student teachers, and the contingent role of embodiments in educational inequalities'. Pedagogy Culture and Society, [Details]
(2012)'Mathematics as (multi)cultural practice: Irish lessons from the Polish weekend school'
O'Brien, S. and Long, F. (2012) 'Mathematics as (multi)cultural practice: Irish lessons from the Polish weekend school'. American Journal of Mathematics, 5 (2):133-156   [Full Text] [Details]
(2012)'Cultural Regulation and the Reshaping of the University'
O'Brien, S.; (2012) 'Cultural Regulation and the Reshaping of the University'. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 10 (4):539-562   [Details]
(2011)'Evaluating Learning Outcomes: In Search of Lost Knowledge'
O'Brien, S; Brancaleone, D; (2011) 'Evaluating Learning Outcomes: In Search of Lost Knowledge'. Irish Educational Studies, 30 (1):5-21 [Details]
(2011)'The (Economic) Value of Learning Outcomes: In Search of the Signs of Lost Knowledge'
Brancaleone, D. and O'Brien, S.; (2011) 'The (Economic) Value of Learning Outcomes: In Search of the Signs of Lost Knowledge'. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32 (No. 4):501-519 [Details]
(2007)'Ideological Challenges to the Social Inclusion Agenda'
O'Brien, S. and Ó Fathaigh, M.; (2007) 'Ideological Challenges to the Social Inclusion Agenda'. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 11 (5-6):593-606 [Details]
(2005)'Bringing in Bourdieu's Theory of Social Capital: Renewing Learning Partnership Approaches to Social Inclusion'
O'Brien, S and O Fathaigh, M; (2005) 'Bringing in Bourdieu's Theory of Social Capital: Renewing Learning Partnership Approaches to Social Inclusion'. Journal of Irish Educational Studies, 24 (1):63-74 [Details]
(2005)'Critiquing the Partnership Ideal for Social Inclusion: A Voluntary Sector Perspective'
O'Brien, S., Ó Fathaigh, M.; (2005) 'Critiquing the Partnership Ideal for Social Inclusion: A Voluntary Sector Perspective'. Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 7 (2):4-17 [Details]
(1999)'Equity in Education: Implications of the Standardisation of Standards'
O'Brien, S.; (1999) 'Equity in Education: Implications of the Standardisation of Standards'. Equality Journal, 1 (1):10-18 [Details]
(1999)'New Labour, New Approach? Exploring Tensions within Educational Policy and Practice'
O'Brien, S.; (1999) 'New Labour, New Approach? Exploring Tensions within Educational Policy and Practice'. Education and Social Justice, 2 (1):18-27 [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2019)'Making narrative connections to renew our professional identities and ‘life politics’: Ivor Goodson’s role in challenging the neoliberal consensus'
O'Brien, S and Rudd, T. (2019) 'Making narrative connections to renew our professional identities and ‘life politics’: Ivor Goodson’s role in challenging the neoliberal consensus' In: Y. Novakovic and P. Sikes (eds). Storying the public intellectual: Commentaries on the impact and influence of the work of Ivor Goodson. London and New York: Routledge. [Details]
(2017)'‘Resisting neoliberal education: For freedom’s sake''
O'Brien, S. (2017) '‘Resisting neoliberal education: For freedom’s sake'' In: Negotiating Neoliberalism: Developing alternative educational visions. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.   [Details]
(2013)'O’Brien, S. (2013) ‘Re-representing education’s image and status: In the ‘interest’ of pedagogical innovation’'
O'Brien, S. (2013) 'O’Brien, S. (2013) ‘Re-representing education’s image and status: In the ‘interest’ of pedagogical innovation’' In: G. K Zarifis and M. N. Gravani (Eds, 2013) Challenging the ‘European Area of Lifelong Learning’: A critical response. London: Springer Publication. [Details]
(2012)''Developing ‘good’ post-primary teachers and teaching in a reform era: cultural dynamics in a programme level study of the PDE. Re-imagining Initial Teacher Education: Perspectives on Transformation'
Conway, P.F., Murphy, R., Delargey, M., Hall, K., Kitching, K., Long, F., McKeon, J., Murphy, B., O'Brien, S., & O'Sullivan, D. (2012) ''Developing ‘good’ post-primary teachers and teaching in a reform era: cultural dynamics in a programme level study of the PDE. Re-imagining Initial Teacher Education: Perspectives on Transformation' In: Re-imagining Initial Teacher Education: Perspectives on TransformationRe-imagining Initial Teacher Education: Perspectives on Transformation. DublinDublin: Liffey Press.Liffey Press. [Details]
(2012)'Developing ‘good’ post-primary teachers and teaching in a reform era: cultural dynamics in a programme level study of the ‘Dip’'
Conway, PF., Murphy, R., Delargey, M., Hall, K; Kitching, K., Long, F.,McKeon, J., Murphy, B., O'Brien, S., & O'Sullivan, D. (2012) (2012) 'Developing ‘good’ post-primary teachers and teaching in a reform era: cultural dynamics in a programme level study of the ‘Dip’' In: F. Waldron, Dooley, T & Smith, J (eds. 2012) Re-imagining Initial Teacher Education (ITE): Perspectives on Transformation. Dublin: Liffey Press. [Details]
(2009)'The Polish school in Cork: Recognising Polish voices in Irish education'
Long, F. and O'Brien, S.; (2009) 'The Polish school in Cork: Recognising Polish voices in Irish education' In: Ubuntu Network Action Research and Other Projects to Integrate Development Education into Initial Teacher Education 2006-2008. Dublin: Irish Aid. [Details]
(2009)'A forum for exploring intercultural and development education - issues with pre-service second level schoolteachers'
Long, F. and O'Brien, S.; (2009) 'A forum for exploring intercultural and development education - issues with pre-service second level schoolteachers' In: Ubuntu Network Action Research and Other Projects to Integrate Development Education into Initial Teacher Education 2006-2008. Dublin: Irish Aid. [Details]

Conference Publications

 YearPublication
(2014)Science and Mathematics Education Conference. Dublin City University, June 24-25, 2014
Killilea, M., O’Brien, S. and Delargey, M. (2014) Sociocultural lessons for reform-based mathematics: Tracing pedagogical shifts in a transition year classroom Science and Mathematics Education Conference. Dublin City University, June 24-25, 2014 [Details]
(2011)Mathematics Education in Ireland 4
Conway, P. F., Delargey, M. Murphy, R. and O'Brien, S. ; (2011) Learning to teach in the context of reform-oriented mathematics . In: Dooley, T., Corcoran, D eds. Mathematics Education in Ireland 4 Dublin, , pp.94-111   [Details]

Published Reports

 YearPublication
(2011)Learning to Teach (LETS): Developing curricular and cross curricular competences in becoming a 'good' secondary teacher. School of Education/DES, School of Education, UCC. [Executive Summary].
Conway, PF; Murphy, R; Delargey, M; Hall, K; Kitching, K; Long, F; Mc Keon, J; Murphy, B; O'Brien, S; O'Sullivan, D. (2011) Learning to Teach (LETS): Developing curricular and cross curricular competences in becoming a 'good' secondary teacher. School of Education/DES, School of Education, UCC. [Executive Summary]. School of Education, University College Cork, Cork.   [Full Text] [Details]
(2006)'Learning to Learn' Lessons for the Adult Lecturer and Tutor - Advancing Professional Practice Through a Reflective Portfolio Process.
O'Brien, S.; (2006) 'Learning to Learn' Lessons for the Adult Lecturer and Tutor - Advancing Professional Practice Through a Reflective Portfolio Process. Centre for Adult Continuing Education Publication, UCC, Cork. [Details]
(2005)Self-Assessment Report for the Quality Review Process.
O'Brien, S.; (2005) Self-Assessment Report for the Quality Review Process. Centre for Adult Continuing Education Publication, UCC, Cork. [Details]

Book Reviews

 YearPublication
(2009)A Critical Review of Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America.
O'Brien, S. ; (2009) A Critical Review of Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America. Book Reviews [Details]
(2007)A Critical Review of On Bourdieu, Education and Society.
O'Brien, S.; (2007) A Critical Review of On Bourdieu, Education and Society. Book Reviews [Details]

Newspaper Articles

 YearPublication
(2019)Irish Times - Could traditional subjects become a thing of the past in Irish schools?.
McGuire, P. (contribution by S. O'Brien) (2019) Irish Times - Could traditional subjects become a thing of the past in Irish schools?. Newspaper Articles [Details]
(2016)Irish Times - We don't need no free market education.
O'Brien, S (2016) Irish Times - We don't need no free market education. Newspaper Articles [Details]

Radio Presentation

 YearPublication
(2019)Drive Time Radio 1 - AONTAS on 50 Years of Adult Education.
O'Brien, S (2019) Drive Time Radio 1 - AONTAS on 50 Years of Adult Education. Radio Presentation [Details]
(2019)RTE Radio 1 - 'Tormented teachers and anxiety in the classroom'.
O'Brien, S (2019) RTE Radio 1 - 'Tormented teachers and anxiety in the classroom'. Radio Presentation [Details]
(2016)Radio Youghal - On my book 'Inside Education'.
O'Brien, S (2016) Radio Youghal - On my book 'Inside Education'. Radio Presentation [Details]
(2013)Radio Youghal - 'On Education'.
O'Brien, S (2013) Radio Youghal - 'On Education'. Radio Presentation [Details]

Discussion

 YearPublication
(2019)Policy Discussion Paper in Preparation for the Adult Learner summit 2019 - 'Learner Voice'.
O'Brien, S. (with Dowdall, L., Fazelli, T., Field, J., Finnegan, F., Fleming, T., Flynn, P. and Lavender, P. (2019) Policy Discussion Paper in Preparation for the Adult Learner summit 2019 - 'Learner Voice'. Discussion [Details]

Radio Performance

 YearPublication
(2019)The world we want to live in: Stories told between student teachers and their pupils.
O'Brien, S (2019) The world we want to live in: Stories told between student teachers and their pupils. Radio Performance [Details]
(2013)Radio Series (Radio Youghal) - 'The value of education in today's society'.
O'Brien, S (2013) Radio Series (Radio Youghal) - 'The value of education in today's society'. Radio Performance [Details]

Artistic Research Projects (R&D)

 YearPublication
(2018)We make the road by walking: A journey through Development Education.
O'Brien, S. and Cotter, G. (2018) We make the road by walking: A journey through Development Education. Artistic Research Projects (R&D) [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2019Captain, UCC Staff Golf Society UCC Golf Society Membership
2019External Examiner Cohort PhD programme University of Limerick
2017Academic Expert Group - Adult Education AONTAS
2017Quality Review Facilitator Department of Arts Education and Physical Education, University of Limerickversity
2017Grawemeyer Book Award nomination for best education book of 2017 Grawemeyer Book Award International Panel, University of Louisville
2016Key Facilitator for the Adult Literacy Organizers' Forum National Adult Literacy Organisation
2008External Examiner to BEd Primary Teaching Degree Programme Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh
1998PhD Scholarship Bristol University

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
University of Brighton International Research Group Associate Member/
Erasmus Mundi Programme - Masters in Adult Education for Social Change Associate Member/
EU - 'My Big Friendly Guide to Europe' collaboration In support of Dr Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan's European Research Project/
British Educational Research Association Member/
AONTAS - the national adult learning organisation National Further Education and Training Learner Forum (NFLF) Academic Expert Group - its primary aim is to enhance AONTAS’ (the national adult learning organisation’s) ability to effectively inform Irish Further Education and Training (FET) policy and practice.01-DEC-17 / 01-SEP-18
Educational Studies Association of Ireland Member and Peer Reviewer/
Peer reviewer for various national and international journals Peer reviewer/
AONTAS (Ireland's sole Adult Education Journal) Former editorial board member and current peer reviewer for the journal/

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2019)Tormented teachers and anxiety in the classroom,
O'Brien, S (2019) Invited chair of panel discussion at the Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork: Jan 12, 2019 (later disseminated on Radio 1). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Tormented teachers and anxiety in the classroom, UCC . [Details]
(2019)History of the Adult Learner Journal – a panel of current and former members of the editorial board,
O'Brien, S (2019) Invited speaker for panel discussion at the Council Chambers, Cork City Council. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], History of the Adult Learner Journal – a panel of current and former members of the editorial board, Cork City Council Chambers . [Details]
(2018)The importance of integrating ‘learner voice’ into adult education provision – evidence from national and international studies,
O'Brien, S (2018) Invited keynote speaker at The National Adult Learner Forum, Croke Park, Dublin: April 13, 2018. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], The importance of integrating ‘learner voice’ into adult education provision – evidence from national and international studies, Croke Park, Dublin . [Details]
(2017)What’s the point of stories? On making a case for critical ethnography,
O'Brien, S (2017) Paper presented at the EthnoArts Annual Conference, University of Porto: June 21-23, 2017. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], What’s the point of stories? On making a case for critical ethnography, University of Porto . [Details]
(2017)Telling education stories 'with a point': Some key theoretical and methodological challenges,
O'Brien, S (2017) Invited keynote speaker at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York: October 31, 2017. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Telling education stories 'with a point': Some key theoretical and methodological challenges, Columbia University, New York . [Details]
(2016)Ubuntu (Irish Aid funded project for student teachers) network members annual meeting,
O'Brien, S. (2016) Critical Pedagogy and Development Education. [Invited Oral Presentation], Ubuntu (Irish Aid funded project for student teachers) network members annual meeting, Aisling Hotel, Dublin , 18-FEB-16 - 18-FEB-16. [Details]
(2016)The Adult Literacy Organisers’ Forum on ‘Leadership and Innovation’,
O'Brien, S. (2016) Setting the Context for Further Education and Training: The Adult Literacy Organiser’s (ALO’s) Role. Key Introductory Talk, and Key Facilitator, for the Adult Literacy Organisers’ Forum on ‘Leadership and Innovation’, engaging key leaders from the DES, ETBI, SOLAS and including the Minister of State for Skills and Training Mr John Halligan. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], The Adult Literacy Organisers’ Forum on ‘Leadership and Innovation’, Ambassador Hotel, Cork , 13-OCT-16 - 14-OCT-16. [Details]
(2016)2016 AONTAS (The National Adult Learning Organisation) AGM,
O'Brien, S. (2016) What’s happening in adult education? Let’s listen to the educators and learners!. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 2016 AONTAS (The National Adult Learning Organisation) AGM, Aisling Hotel, Dublin , 11-MAY-16 - 11-MAY-16. [Details]
(2016)2016 IRMSS (International Research Methods Summer School),,
O'Brien, S. (2016) What’s the point of stories? Investigating the hidden power of critical ethnography. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 2016 IRMSS (International Research Methods Summer School),, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick , 27-MAY-16 - 29-MAY-16. [Details]
(2016)The Adult Literacy Organisers’ Forum on ‘Leadership and Innovation’,
O'Brien, S. (2016) Learning from experience: On becoming innovative leaders in education. [Keynote Speaker], The Adult Literacy Organisers’ Forum on ‘Leadership and Innovation’, Ambassador Hotel, Cork , 13-OCT-16 - 14-OCT-16. [Details]
(2014)Educational Policy Series,
O'Brien, S. (2014) Re-representing education's image and status: New challenges for critical literacy. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Educational Policy Series, University of Brighton , 14-MAY-14. [Details]
(2014)OMEP World Conference,
O'Brien, S. (2014) Learning Identity. [Invited Oral Presentation], OMEP World Conference, University College Cork , 03-JUL-14. [Details]
(2014)Science and Mathematics Education Conference (SMEC) 2014,
Killilea, M., O'Brien, S. and Delargey, M. (2014) Sociocultural Lessons for Reform-Based Mathematics: Tracing Pedagogical Shifts in a Transition Year Classroom. [Poster Presentation], Science and Mathematics Education Conference (SMEC) 2014, Dublin City University , 24-JUN-14 - 25-JUN-14. [Details]
(2013)Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century,
O'Brien, S. (2013) New Accountabilities in Irish Education. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century, University College Cork , 15-MAY-13. [Details]
(2012)2nd Annual Conference of the Network of Polish Schools in Ireland - Literacy and Bilingualism – University College Dublin: 24-25 November, 2012),
O'Brien, S. and Long, F. (2012) (2012) Mathematics as (multi)cultural practice: Irish and Polish lessons. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 2nd Annual Conference of the Network of Polish Schools in Ireland - Literacy and Bilingualism – University College Dublin: 24-25 November, 2012), University College Dublin , 24-NOV-12 - 25-NOV-12. [Details]
(2012)School of Applied Psychology Research Seminar Series,
Stephen O'Brien (2012) Mathematics as (multi)cultural practice: Irish lessons from the Polish weekend school. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], School of Applied Psychology Research Seminar Series, University College Cork , 14-MAR-12 - 14-MAR-12. [Details]
(2011)University Challenged,
O'Brien, S.; (2011) Presenting a critique of the 'new' university direction. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], University Challenged, University College Cork, Ireland , 11-MAY-11 - 11-MAY-11. [Details]
(2011)Creative Educations: A Workshop,
OBrien, S.; (2011) A Creative Education for a Changing Society. [Invited Oral Presentation], Creative Educations: A Workshop, University College Cork, Ireland , 14-SEP-11 - 14-SEP-11. [Details]
(2010)2nd International Education Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2010) Cultural Regulation and the Reshaping of the University. [Oral Presentation], 2nd International Education Conference, Paris , 06-JUL-10 - 08-JUL-10. [Details]
(2009)ESAI Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2009) The (Economic) Value of Learning Outcomes: In Search of the Signs of Lost Knowledge. [Oral Presentation], ESAI Conference, Kilkenny , 02-APR-09 - 04-APR-09. [Details]
(2008)ESAI Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2008) Bringing in Polish Voices in Irish Education. [Oral Presentation], ESAI Conference, Galway , 06-MAR-08 - 08-MAR-08. [Details]
(2008)CIT Cork School of Music,
O'Brien, S. ; (2008) Research Methodology - Engaging in problematics. [Invited Oral Presentation], CIT Cork School of Music, CIT Cork School of Music , 04-DEC-08 - 05-DEC-08. [Details]
(2006)ESCalate Annual Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2006) Learning Partnerships for Greater Inclusion: Exploring Renewed Lifelong Learning Approaches. [Invited Oral Presentation], ESCalate Annual Conference, Stirling University, Scotland , 23-APR-06 - 24-APR-06. [Details]
(2005)FACE Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2005) What is Learning and How Does it Work?. [Oral Presentation], FACE Conference, University College Cork , 06-JUL-05 - 08-JUL-05. [Details]
(2004)SFEU Annual Conference,
O'Brien, S. ; (2004) Key Aspects of Learning Partnerships for Social Inclusion - lessons for the FE provider. [Invited Oral Presentation], SFEU Annual Conference, Glasgow, Scotland , 01-DEC-04 - 03-DEC-04. [Details]
(2004)DCI-UCC Globalisation Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2004) Ideological Challenges to the Social Inclusion Agenda. [Invited Oral Presentation], DCI-UCC Globalisation Conference, Cork , 01-JUN-04 - 01-JUN-04. [Details]
(2004)ESAI Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (2004) How can Learning Partnerships Promote Social Inclusion?. [Oral Presentation], ESAI Conference, Maynooth , 01-APR-04 - 03-APR-04. [Details]
(1999)ISATT Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (1999) The Impact of the 'Raising Standards' Agenda on Teachers' Perceptions: A Theoretical Analysis. [Oral Presentation], ISATT Conference, St. Patrick's College, Dublin , 27-JUL-99 - 31-JUL-99. [Details]
(1998)Perceptions of Equality: Philosophy, Policy and Practice Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (1998) Equity in Education: Implications of the Standardisation of Standards. [Oral Presentation], Perceptions of Equality: Philosophy, Policy and Practice Conference, University of Hertfordshire , 31-OCT-98 - 31-OCT-98. [Details]
(1998)BERA Conference,
O'Brien, S.; (1998) New Labour, New Approach? A Critical View of Educational Theory. [Oral Presentation], BERA Conference, Belfast , 27-AUG-98 - 30-AUG-99. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Quality Review Committee 2019-2020 Member/
CACSSS Graduate Studies Committee (April 2019-Present) Member/
Research and Innovation Committee 2018-Present Member/
Cohort PhD Committee, School of Education, UCC Member for first two cohorts of this doctoral programme/
School of Education Research Forum Chair2017 / 2018
PME Team member Teaching team member/
Curriculum Academic Development Committee (CADC) School of Education Representative2014 / 2016
Quality Review Committee, School of Education, UCC. Committee Member2012 / 2013
MEd Committee, School of Education, UCC Member/
Adult Continuing Education Senior Management Team Acting Director Adult and Continuing Education, UCC.2005 /

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Department of Education, University College Cork Part Time Lecturer01-SEP-02 / 01-SEP-06
Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol Full-Time PhD study01-JAN-98 / 01-AUG-01
Centre for Adult Continuing Education, University College Cork Senior researcher01-SEP-02 / 01-SEP-06
University College Cork College lecturer, School of Education01-SEP-06 /
St Bonaventure's RC School, East London Secondary school teacher and pastoral Head of First Year01-SEP-91 / 01-JAN-98

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
1990University College Cork BA (Hons)Economics and Mathematics
1991University College Cork Diploma of EducationHDE (Higher Diploma in Education)
1996Goldsmiths College, University of London MEdMasters in Educational Policy and Management
2001Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol PhDEducational Policy and Management

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
French BasicBasicFunctional
English FluentFluentFluent

Consultancy

 ClientDescription
University of Limerick
External Examiner to the Structured PhD Programme, Mary Immaculate College, University of limerick
CIT Cork School of Music
Former Professional Development Research advisor to CIT Cork School of Music
CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development)
Former research advisor to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) through the Higher Diploma in Personnel Management programme operating in the Centre for Adult Continuing Education, UCC.
UCC and CIT
Formerly engaged in the design and teaching processes of a new Learning Partnership between UCC and CIT (Cork Institute of Technology) relating to the Btech. degree

Outreach Activities

 Description

Writer Activist (2015) for adults with intellectual disability (focused on the Certificate in Contemporary Living course in UCC).

Coaching children 7-10 years of age (Mayfield United Academy)

O’Brien, S. (2016). Radio Interview on my book Inside Education, Community Radio Youghal (CRY 104 FM) with Gertrude Cotter, July 4, 2016.


O’Brien, S. (2013). Radio Interview on Education, Community Radio Youghal (CRY 104 FM) with Rosarii Griffin, May 24, 2013. O’Brien, S. (2013). The Value of Education in Today’s Society. Lead talk at the launch of the Education for a Brighter Future Radio Series. Pobail Scoil Na Trionoide, Youghal. Nov 5, 2013.

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Adult Learner (Aontas) Journal Referee-
Journal Of Education Policy Referee-
An Leanbh Og, The Omep Journal Of Early Childhood Studies Referee-

Other Activities

 Description

  • Invited speaker at the 2016 Seminar and Master Class, ‘Neoliberal Cultures – the space for critique and resistance’. Jointly organised by the School of Applied Social Studies and CACSSS Graduate School, University College Cork, April 15, 2016 (Title of talk: ‘Resisting neoliberal education: For freedom’s sake’)

  • Lead speaker and convenor at the ‘Research Ethical Dilemmas and Ethical Decision-making’ CPD day for lecturers/senior lecturers and course coordinators at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, March 24, 2016


2019 Christian Brothers College Cork School Awards - Lead talk on 'What is Character'? 

Dr Mary L Thornton Scholarship Panel member 2017-2018

  • I organised with Gertrude Cotter (IRC Scholarship Doctoral Student) a major Research Forum event (Saturday July 16, 2016) which spoke to the theme: ‘How do we re-present education? Development Education meets Critical Pedagogy’.  The purpose of the day Forum was to, for the first time in Ireland, formally bring together scholars, practitioners and activists from both educational traditions and beyond to draw upon their synergies and collate a critical response to ‘education in our times’.  We were delighted to welcome to UCC leading scholars in both fields (Professor Ivor Goodson, Dr Tim Rudd, Professor Fionnuala Waldron, and Professor Vanessa Andreotti by skype).  Full details of the research theme, Forum programme , speakers, etc. are still available on our dedicated website: http://representing-education.gertrudecotter.info/

AONTAS Star Award Committee Panel 2016-2017

  • External examiner for the University of Limerick, Ireland, May, 2016 – Jason Comerford
  • Internal examiner for the School of Education, University College Cork, Ireland, December, 2015 – Joseph McCarthy awarded a PhD in Education (thesis entitled: ‘A Jaworskian analysis of four senior class primary teachers endeavouring to teach mathematics from a constructivist-compatible perspective’).
  • External examiner for All-Hallows, Dublin City University, October, 2015 – Chinyere Adanna Chukwu awarded a Masters in Education (thesis entitled: ‘Socio-cultural adaptation of second-level African migrant students in Ireland – a case study with African migrant second-level students in Dublin, Ireland’).
  • Engaging with and publicising the work of colleagues on the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) – a much needed (and under-represented) learning programme that takes place every 2 years on university campus, catering for adults with intellectual disability.

Researcher with a small group of funded British academics who are focused on redirecting education away from neoliberal directions.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests include:
  • Learning theory and practice
  • Curriculum and Assessment - policy, theory and practice
  • Inclusive multicultural education - particularly engaging methodological strategies in the classroom
  • Global Citizenship, Educational Sustainability, Development Education 
  • Educational policy and practice - particularly, ideological change forces on teachers' work culture
  • Mathematics education - with particular focus on the impact of different forms of cultural literacy
  • Social inclusion - with specific focus on more equitable forms of educational provision
  • The 'big' educationalists - their ideas, change propositions and challenges to formal schooling
  • Research methodology seminar/individual support e.g. connections between research purpose, theory and methodological considerations
  • Contemporary issues in education e.g. critical analysis and impact of the learning outcomes movement; critiquing Neoliberal effects/affects in educational policy and practice 

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2014T J O'Ceallaigh PHDForm-focused Instruction in Irish-medium immersion education: A critical examination of teachers' perspectives and practices.
2016Carol Yelverton National University Of IrelandDOCTORATE OF PHILOSOPHYA critical search for the ‘self’ in adult education: Bourdieuian insights into transformative possibilities.
2015James Boyle University College CorkPHDA comparative policy analysis of key employability interventions for the 16-24 year old cohort in Further Education
2012Marie Killilea MEdA critical study of the pedagogical impact of sociocultural understandings of mathematics on Transition Year pupils within one classroom setting

Current Postgraduate Students

 StudentDegree Type
Mc Carthy Finola Helena Doctoral Degree
Conran Emer Bernadette Doctoral Degree (Structured)
Cotter Nora Gertrude Doctoral Degree

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2020Curriculum and Assessment ED6303Curriculum and Assessment
2020Conceptual Foundations in Curriculum and Assessment ED4106Conceptual Foundations in Curriculum and Assessment

Research Information

Internal Collaborators

 NameInstituteCountry
Certficate in Contemporary Living University College CorkIRELAND
Centre for Global Development UCCIRELAND
Civic Engagement UCCIRELAND
EU - 'My Big Friendly Guide to Europe' collaboration EU (supporting my UCC Colleague Emmauelle Schon-Quinnlivan who is PI for this research project)IRELAND

External Collaborators

 NameOrganisation / InstituteCountry
Resisting Neoliberal Directions in Education University of BrightonENGLAND
AURORA EU
Erasmus Mundi Programme - Masters in Adult Education for Social Change University of Glasgow as PISCOTLAND
AONTAS IRELAND

Contact details

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School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

Leeholme, O' Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland

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