CPD and RE: What Do RE Teachers in Irish Catholic Schools Say They Need?
A research study, ‘CPD and RE: An empirical enquiry into the provision of CPD for RE teachers at primary and post-primary level in the Republic of Ireland’, was conducted by researchers from the School of Human Development, Institute of Education, Dublin City University in 2017. The project investigated the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers of Religious Education at primary level (90% Catholic schools) and post-primary level (50% Catholic schools) in the Republic of Ireland, and looked to possible future provision. This paper will explore, specifically, the possibilities and challenges to CPD for teachers of Religious Education in Irish Catholic primary and post-primary schools. An original instrument (online survey containing 138 variables) was constructed and hosted on a purpose-built website. Using a self-selecting snowball sampling strategy, 253 responses were collected during May/June 2017. 214 of these were from teachers working in schools under Catholic patronage. 49 responses were received from teachers in primary schools and a further 165 from the post-primary sector. The findings indicate the key RE content areas and RE educator skills in which these Irish RE teachers express confidence at both primary and post-primary levels, and those areas in which they desire CPD. Given the dearth of evidence-based Irish research in this area, this baseline study can contribute to understandings of the professional development of RE teachers and the impact these teachers can have on student learning, as well as the ongoing curriculum reform underway in religious education in Ireland today.
KeywordsCatholic schools Continuing professional development Religious Education Religious educators Republic of Ireland
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