Dr Mia Treacy, Lecturer in the Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), has been awarded a prestigious teaching and learning award under the T-REX Module Innovation Framework for 2019.
Dr Treacy, who hails from Fethard in Co Tipperary, is one of five lecturers from across Ireland to receive the inaugural award, which recognises and encourages module leaders in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Early Childhood Education to re-envision their modules to incorporate the T-REX platform into their teaching.
The T-REX (Teachers’ Research Exchange) Project, which is led by MIC and run in collaboration with University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Marino Institute of Education, is an online platform where teachers, students and other educational professionals in Ireland can come together to talk, collaborate and learn from one another. The project opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for student teachers and teachers as it provides an online space through which they are supported in engaging with and in research.
Following a nationwide call, applications were received from around the country. An independent review panel consisting of lecturers in teacher education, teachers and students conducted a rigorous review of applications from which five awardees were selected who impressed the panel in terms of their creativity, value for student learning and exploitation of what the T-REX platform has to offer.
Dr Treacy’s winning module focuses on educational research methods and understanding the role of the teacher as researcher. The module, which will be rolled out this semester, will involve students working collaboratively using the T-REX platform to research an aspect of teaching. Students will post their weekly learning reflections on T-REX and share the findings from their review of literature and research of their own practice through the T-REX Bytes feature on the platform.
Commenting on her award Dr Mia Treacy said, “I am delighted to accept this award. Integrating T-REX to the educational research methods module has been a very rewarding experience. Student teachers have willingly embraced the T-REX learning communities and I believe that their collaborative research will provide meaningful opportunities for them to relate research to classroom practice. The ultimate aim is to support these student teachers in their development as reflective practitioners who embrace research-informed practice.”
She added, “Using the T-REX platform has also impacted on my teaching, in particular, it has acted as an authentic tool for both assessment of and for learning – as such, allowing my teaching to be more responsive to students' needs in a timely manner.”
The four other awardees include: Dr Joanne O’ Flaherty from University of Limerick; Dr Julie Uí Choistealbha from Marino Institute of Education; Dr Clíona Murray, Dr Niamh Flynn, Emer Davitt and Breandán MacGearailt from NUI Galway; and Audrey Halpin from Dublin City University (DCU). Each of the awardees will receive financial support, pedagogical support and technological support to develop their modules.
Marie Ryan, T-REX Project Manager and a lecturer in the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies at MIC, said, “It is wonderful to see ITE lecturers all over Ireland embracing T-REX in their teaching and to see the range of modules receiving awards. From research methods to inclusive education and professional practice, the modules selected for these awards demonstrate that research skills can be built incrementally in a permeated manner embedded within all module types.”
She continued by saying, “The awardees have recognised the potential of the platform to transform the learning experience for the students and to foster a professional identity that encompasses teacher-as-researcher in a meaningful embedded manner.”
This T-REX Module Innovation Framework Awards are supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. The T-REX Project is a national project funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and the Alive! Group, which consists of the Teaching Council, National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) and the Centre for Effective Services (CES).
Pictured above: Dr Mia Treacy (centre) with Marie Ryan and Dr Marek McGann from the T-REX Project.