College Lecturer
Education
Crossleigh, Donovan'S Road
University College Cork
Cork
Ireland

T: +353-21-490-3162
E: s.obrien@ucc.ie

(Sep 2006 - Present):

Former college lecturer on the PDEA and BEd in Sports Studies programmes. Currently, college lecturer on the PME programme (Curriculum and Assessment and Inclusive Multicultural modules and Foundations module); MEd programme (coordinator of compulsory research seminar supports and curriculum and assessment module); and the cohort PhD programme.

 

Supervisor to PGDE student teachers each year.

 

Academic mentor to a number of MEd and PhD students overseeing theoretical treatise and research methodology elements to theses.

  Participated in a recent School of Education LETs study project (a large multidisciplinary research project, financed by the Teaching Council, engaging student teachers' initial teaching and training experiences).  Currently e

ngaged in a collaborative research project with Dr. Fiachra Long on Multicultural schooling experiences in Ireland.

 

Research interests also include: Educational Disadvantage and the Theory of Social Capital; Adult and Community Education; Curriculum and Assessment issues; and Theories of Learning.

 

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; currently serving on MEd and PhD departmental committees.

 

(Sep 2002 - Sep 2006):

Senior researcher in 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.

 

These 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 past fifteen years

During this time, I was a lecturer in UCC (University College Cork) - curriculum and assessment module of the HDE (Higher Diploma in Education - now Postgraduate Diploma in Education) course, MEd research module, curriculum change module on the PDEA (Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Administration) course, 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

  
(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 students

Lecturer 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 courses

Lecturer 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

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
Ubuntu - Student teachers' civic engagement with DE01-OCT-1401-OCT-15€5,000.00
Ubuntu Phase II - Irish Aid funded01-OCT-1601-OCT-17€5,100.00
Ubuntu - Multiculturalism Phases 1 and 201-OCT-1001-OCT-12€10,000.00
CACSSS Research Fund 2014-201501-OCT-1430-SEP-15€500.00
Ubuntu - Student teachers' civic engagement with DE: Phase II01-SEP-1531-AUG-16€5,000.00
CACSSS Research Fund 2011-201201-OCT-1130-SEP-12€500.00
CACSSS Research Fund 2012-201301-OCT-1230-SEP-13€500.00
CACSSS Research Fund 2013-201401-OCT-1330-SEP-14€500.00
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-1430-SEP-18€95,800.00

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. Globe icon [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
(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 Globe icon [CORA Link] [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 Globe icon [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]
(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]
(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)'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]
(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]

Book Chapters

YearPublication
(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. Globe icon [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 ‘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)CASTeL (Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning) (2014) Science and Mathematics Education Conference
Killilea, M., O'Brien, S and Delargey, M. (2014) Sociocultural lessons for reform-based mathematics: Tracing pedagogical shifts in a transition year classroom CASTeL (Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning) (2014) Science and Mathematics Education Conference , pp.102-116 [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 Globe icon [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. Globe icon [CORA Link] [Details]
(2010)Learning to Teach (LETS): Developing curricular and cross curricular competences in becoming a 'good' secondary teacher.
Conway, PF; Murphy, R; Delargey, M; Hall, K; Kitching, K; Long, F; Mc Keon, J; Murphy, B; O'Brien, S; O'Sullivan, D; (2010) Learning to Teach (LETS): Developing curricular and cross curricular competences in becoming a 'good' secondary teacher. School of Education/DES, School of Education, UCC. Globe icon [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]

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2008External Examiner to BEd Primary Teaching Degree Programme Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh
1998PhD Scholarship Bristol University

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Educational Studies Association of Ireland Member and Peer Reviewer/
British Educational Research Association Member/
AONTAS (Ireland's sole Adult Education Journal) Former editorial board member and current peer reviewer for the journal/

Conference Contributions

YearPublication
(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)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]
(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 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)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]
(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]
(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]
(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)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]
(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]
(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)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]
(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]
(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)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]
(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]
(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
Curriculum and Assessment Development Committee (CADC) School of Education Representative2014 / 2016
Quality Review Committee, School of Education, UCC. Committee Member2012 / 2013
Adult Continuing Education Senior Management Team Acting Director Adult and Continuing Education, UCC.2005 /
MEd Committee, School of Education, UCC Member/
Cohort PhD Committee, School of Education, UCC Member/
PME Team member Teaching team member/

Employment

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

Education

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

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
English FluentFluentFluent
French BasicBasicFunctional

Consultancy

 ClientDescription
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

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.

CIT Cork School of Music

Former Professional Development Research advisor to CIT Cork School of Music

Outreach Activities

 Description

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

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-

Other Activities

 Description

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

  • 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


  • I organised with Gertrude Cotter (my 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/


  • 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 (through writing) 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.

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
  • 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

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2015James Boyle University College CorkPHDA comparative policy analysis of key employability interventions for the 16-24 year old cohort in Further Education
2014T J O'Ceallaigh PHDForm-focused Instruction in Irish-medium immersion education: A critical examination of teachers' perspectives and practices.
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
Conran Emer Bernadette Doctoral Degree (Structured)
Mulcahy Ian Doctoral Degree (Structured)
Halpin Mary Caroline Doctoral Degree (Structured)
Cotter Nora Gertrude Doctoral Degree

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2017Foundational Themes in Education ED6342Foundational Themes in Education

Internal Collaborators

 NameInstituteCountry
Certficate in Contemporary Living University College CorkIRELAND

External Collaborators

 NameOrganisation / InstituteCountry
Resisting Neoliberal Directions in Education University of BrightonENGLAND