Teaching, Education and Lifelong Learning (TELL) Research Group

educationTeaching, Education and Lifelong Learning (TELL) Research Group

Teaching, Education and Lifelong Learning (TELL) Research Group

The School formed the Teaching, Education and Lifelong Learning (TELL) group in 2015 to foster the further growth of research in the domains of teaching, education and lifelong learning.  This group has been established to foster further the sharing of practice, experience and continue to foster a culture of research in the School.  Small research clusters continue to emerged within the School, these include small clusters in areas such as identities in adult and further education, e-learning, and management in education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the School is to champion the case for learners from all backgrounds to access opportunities to up-skill and enhance life opportunities through appropriate learning pathways that afford them to engage in as flexible a manner as possible in terms of pace and place.  The TELL Research Group has been established to support the School’s mission and foster a growing culture of research in the areas to teaching, education and lifelong learning in its multiple contexts

Themes/ Areas of Interest

Academic staff have added to the body of knowledge in such fields as adult and community education, adult educational guidance, adult literacy, recognition of prior learning, the continuing professional development of teachers, the professional identity of teachers, intercultural education, virtue epistemology, reflective practice, executive education, creativity in education and entrepreneurship education.  

There are a number of research projects that colleagues are currently undertaking including;

  • How professionalisation is informing the development of adult education and adult educators in Ireland,

  • Approaches to learning design for contemporary higher education and the integration of TEL within this design process,

  • The care experiences of a group of multiply marginalised mothers from an affective equality perspective,

  • The influence of leader member exchange on employee engagement and the moderating role of optimism in the further education and training sector.

  • Funding and implementation of Lifelong Learning Policy in higher education in Ireland.

As well as colleagues undertaking their own research, there are a number of students who are currently undertaking both masters and doctoral research within the School.  Table 1 outlines the research domains that are currently being pursued by students in the School.

Research Domain  Overview of research Principal Supervisor
Insider Action Research Doctorates: Creating post-graduate pathways to doctoral level of a different kind This research strives to create a professional development framework underpinned by a signature pedagogy that will provide post - graduate pathways to doctoral level that meet the specific needs of teachers working in further and adult education

Dr. Anne Graham

Teachers in transition - the impact of change on teacher identities in the Irish Further Education Sector

The research will investigate the nature of FE teacher identities, the impact of recent and on-going changes on those identities, and the implications of teachers’ responses to change for the teachers themselves, their learners, their institutions and the sector.

Dr. Carol O’Byrne

Evolving a Model for Flexible Lifelong Learning Delivery through the use of Technology in Irish Higher Education This research will investigate the developments in technology enhanced learning with a view to formulate a strategic framework that will serve educational institutions and external stakeholders, bring industry and higher-level education closer in the delivery of lifelong learning.  

Dr. John Wall

Devise a Family Literacy Framework underpinned by best practices that will provide structure and guidelines to community and school partnerships engaged in implementing parental engagement and family literacy programmes in areas identified with specific literacy needs. This research explores the elements and components of a family literacy programme that need to be created within the teaching-learning environment of family literacy programmes that are focused on the unique characteristics and challenges faced by practitioners.  Dr. Maeve O’Grady

Selected publications produced by colleagues working in the School include:

Breen, J. (2014) ‘Management Educators in Practice- To be Critical or not to be Critical that is the Question’, International Action Learning Conference, Ashridge Business School.

Lanigan M. and McKenzie Brown F., (2011) ‘Reflective Learning in Mathematics? – A Resource for Adult Learners of Mathematics’, Joint Presentation at inaugural Waterford Institute of Technology Research Colloquium, WIT, Waterford, Ireland

Lowry-O’Neill, C. (2012). ‘Everything’s coming up roses: How reflective Practices can nourish flourishing in higher education’, 3rd Annual International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology (ICEEPSY), Istanbul, October 8-13.

Hayes, R., Lowry-O’Neill, C. (2012) ‘Welcome to My House! Enter Freely of Your Own Free Will! : Literary Experience and Threshold Concepts’, International Threshold Concepts Conference, with NAIRTL, University College, Dublin, June 23-25.

Lowry-O’Neill, C. (2011). ‘Be afraid, be very afraid: anxiety as an essential element of engaging the minds of learners’,  Engaging Minds: Active learning, participation and collaboration in Higher education, 5th Annual Conference of the National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, June 9-10.

Murphy, H. (2015) ‘Navigating New Frontiers in Teacher Education for Adult Educators;

How a changing regulatory environment influenced the development of new teacher education qualifications for adult educators’. European University Continuing Education Network, Ireland, national conference, NUI Galway, December 10-11.

Murphy, H. (2015) ‘How social and cultural factors in an Irish Higher Education Institution influenced the development of new teacher education qualifications for adult educators’. European Society for Research into Adult Education, Biennial conference on the Professionalization of Adult Education, Larnaca, November 11-13.

De Paor, C., Murphy, H. (2015) ‘Les Opportunities de la Validation des Acquis des enseignants de l’enseignement et formation professionnelle en Irlande’. Paper and conference publication at Europe Admee, Colloque de l’Admee Europe. Liege, Belgium.

Murphy, H (2013) ‘How is professionalisation viewed amongst the stakeholders in adult education in Ireland and who is driving this discourse?’ European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA), Annual Conference, Bonn, November 10-12.

O’ Brien, B. & Iannone, P. (2014) An exploration of quality teaching initiatives at multi-level education environments, Western Business Management conference Paris,   October 2014.

O’ Brien, B. & Iannone, P. (2013) A study of Accounting Students’ Engagement through quality teaching initiatives: Exploring the post-primary/ higher education divide, Irish Academy of Management Proceedings, WIT, Waterford, September 2-4.

O’Byrne, C (2011) ‘From technical competence to ‘thinking’ competence: developing a capacity for reflective practice in postgraduate engineers’ All Ireland Society for Higher Education Conference, DCU, August 25th – 26th 

O’Byrne, C (2010) ‘Life as a lecturer: the nature and evolution of academic professional identities in the Institute of Technology sector of the Irish higher education system’.  Society for Research in Higher Education Annual Conference, Newport, Wales, December 14th – 15th

O’Byrne, C (2010) ‘A student-led approach to personal and professional development: a case study of a level 9 module in professional development and effectiveness for graduate engineers’ NAIRTL / LIN Annual Conference, Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, October 6th

O’ Grady, M (2014) ESREA Athens conference on Transformative Learning, June 2014: Paper presentation ’Transformative Learning in a Feminist Learning Culture'.

Shanahan, B. (2011) “Multiple Intelligences and Meta Cognition through the study of Blended Learning” Teaching Matters – Research Colloquium for Education Practitioners, WIT


Breen, J. (2014) ‘Exploring Criticality in Management Education through Action Learning’, Action Learning Research and Practice Journal, 11(1), p.4-24.

Lowry-O’Neill, C. (2011). ‘Creativity in the classroom: from an intuitive approach to a reflective approach’, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives.  12(4), pp. 481-493.

Mernagh, G. and Tracey, S. (2013),  ‘Extending critical reflective practice in teacher education through metaphor and multimedia technology’, Scotens.

Mackey, H and Mernagh, G., (2011), ‘Paper, pen and pigeon hole- Exploring the potential of workplace literacy’, Research Matters, Waterford Institute of Technology

Murphy, H. (2015) The Professionalisation of Adult Education in Ireland – an exploration of the current discourse, debate and policy developments. In Lattke et al eds. Professionalisation of Adult Educators. International and Comparative Perspectives. Bonn. Peter Lang.

O'Byrne, C (2015) 'Policy, profession and person: the formation of reflexive academic identities in an Irish Institute of Technology' in Evans, L and Nixon, J (eds) Academic Identities in Higher Education, London: Bloomsbury​.

O’Byrne, C (2014) ‘Structure and Agency in an Irish Institute of Technology’ in Gornall, L, Cook, C, Daunton, L, Salisbury, J, and Thomas, B Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change, London: Bloomsbury

O’Byrne, C (2011) ‘Against the odds: researcher development in teaching focused HEIs’ International Journal of Researcher Development, 2 (1) pp 8-25

Wall J. (2015). Leadership in Implementing Technology-Enhanced Learning in Educational Institutions, E-Learning - Instructional Design, Organizational Strategy and Management, Dr. Boyka Gradinarova (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-2188-6, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/61108. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/e-learning-instructional-design-organizationalstrategy- and-management/leadership-in-implementing-technology-enhanced-learning-ineducational-institutions

Wall J. (2012) Strategically Integrating Blended Learning to Deliver Lifelong Learning, International Perspectives of Distance Learning in Higher Education, Dr. Joi L. Moore (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0330-1, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/34686. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/international-perspectives-of-distance-learning-inhighereducation/strategically-integrating-blended-learning-to-deliver-lifelong-learning.

Wall J. (2011). Academic professional development within Waterford Institute of Technology, in Designing Together: Effective Strategies for Creating a Collaborative Curriculum to Support Academic Professional Development Ed. Fitzpatrick N. and Harvey J., pp. 217 – 227, ISBN 1 900454 41 6

Thomas K., Wall J., Graham B., Troy P., Crowe D. and O’Connell A. (2011). Work Integrated Learning and Construction Project Management: A Case Study of an Industry-Academia partnership in Ireland, in Work-Integrated Learning in Engineering, Built Environment and Technology: Diversity of Practice in Practice, Ed. Keleher P., Patil A. and Harreveld E., pp. 221 – 244, ISBN13: 9781609605476