18 February 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Liam Clohessy, a native of Midleton, Cork and a class teacher in
Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhalaigh in Rushbrook Cobh, Cork was announced as
a winner of a bursary from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation
(INTO) to help fund education research in Ireland.
Mr. Clohessy’s research (to Doctorate level in the Department of Arts
Education and Physical Education at Marry Immaculate College,
Limerick) will look at whether or not there are benefits to primary
school teachers with additional expertise in physical education (PE)
teaching classes other than their own for PE.
The study will observe two teachers who have received additional
training in PE while they teach at least two hours of PE to classes
other than their own each week. It will take place over a five month
period and interviews and focus groups will be conducted with all the
teachers involved in order to assess progress.
Class swapping for PE is a feature in many primary schools where
teachers have particular interests and skills in PE. However, no
specific documentation illustrating how this works on a day-to-day
basis exists, and there is a need to examine the positive and negative
effects it could have on teaching and learning.
In 2007, the INTO suggested that a review of the issue of
specialisation with regard to enhancing and improving how PE is taught
in Irish primary schools. Mr Clohessy’s research may contribute to the
discussion on whether generalist or specialist teachers are best
placed to deliver primary school education.
Every year since 1993 primary teachers undertaking research have been
supported by the INTO through the Bursary Scheme. This year, five
awards of €1,500 were made. More than 63 applications were submitted
in December and judged by an independent assessor from one of the
colleges of education.
An awards ceremony was held in the Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square,
Dublin. Liam is pictured with INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan.