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Research from MIC Students Celebrated in New Publication

Tablet displaying the words 'Cumhacht Brite'. Fingers pointing at the tablet.

Launch of Issue 1 of ‘Cumhacht - Building Research in Initial Teacher Education (BRITE) Research Digest’

Today (23 July), Mary Immaculate College (MIC) launched a new publication, ‘Cumhacht – Building Research in Initial Teacher Education (BRITE) Research Digest’, which showcases the outstanding research engaged in by students who are studying on its early childhood, primary and post-primary education programmes. With ‘Cumhacht’ being the Irish word for ‘Power’, this publication is designed to capture the inherent power of research for education, illustrating as it does the exceptional commitment of MIC students toward an education profession that is research-led.

This timely publication, supported by the Department of Education and Skills, the Teaching Council and Early Childhood Ireland, highlights the importance of cultivating a research-led profession from early childhood through primary and post-primary, and provides an opportunity for students to share their research with each other, with the MIC community and with the broader education landscape. It includes contributions from Dr Maresa Duignan, Assistant Chief Inspector, Early Years Inspection and Policy at the Department of Education and Skills, Bríd Murphy, Higher Executive Officer in Initial Teacher Education at the Teaching Council and Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland.

Commenting at the launch of this new publication, Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC, said, “‘Cumhacht – BRITE Research Digest’ is designed to bridge the research experience in initial teacher education with the developing role of the teacher as researcher on the continuum of a teacher’s life-long learning journey. The research reported in this publication illustrates the exceptional commitment of our staff and students to excellence. We are very proud of this first publication and are inspired by the commitment of our students to engage in critically grounded research, and thus contribute to the creation of a robust foundation on which to build high-quality practice and pedagogy.”

Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director of The Teaching Council commended the student teachers, their peers and families, as well as all the staff of MIC who have been involved in bringing this research to the wider world. He said, “Education is about people helping people to learn. Professional learning communities are the beating hearts of the connections we wish to forge between research, teaching and learning across all the sites of practice. ‘Cumhacht – BRITE’ is a wonderful concrete example of this, and I look forward to future editions with great interest!”

‘Cumhacht – BRITE’ includes articles by students that span early childhood education, curricular areas, special education, self-study, teaching strategies used to assist deaf/hard of hearing children in mainstream primary settings, and how Irish can be taught in an encouraging and enjoyable manner to engage students’ interest. Wellbeing issues in Irish primary schools and the impact of social media on primary students are also explored.

Dr Maresa Duignan, Assistant Chief Inspector in Early Years Inspection and Policy at the Department of Education and Skills, believes that the ability to be an active practitioner/researcher is a most valuable skill in the professional educator’s toolkit. She said, “A vibrant research community is a strong indicator of a thriving profession. The contributors to this journal are testimony to the commitment of Mary Immaculate College to ensure that those who graduate as teachers, from early childhood to post primary and beyond, are equipped and committed to engage in research in all its dimensions.”

Dr Maurice Harmon, editor of ‘Cumhacht – BRITE Research Digest’ and lecturer in the Department of Learning, Society, and Religious Education at MIC, emphasised the importance of the students sharing their research with their peers and the wider educational community. In congratulating all of the students who have published their work in ‘Cumhacht – Brite’, Dr Harmon noted that such research not only enriches the education landscape with new insights and information, but also consolidates and underlines the power of the ‘teacher-as-researcher’ for students.

He said, “It is hoped that through this engagement in research, MIC students will be committed to developing a research environment in their future educational settings. As Zora Neala Hurston said, “Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose” and it is through this formalised curiosity that teachers can enrich their own lives as educators, and also the lives of the students they teach.”

You can read the inaugural issue of ‘Cumhacht – Building Research in Initial Teacher Education (BRITE) Research Digest’ in full here.