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Exploring primary school infant class teachers’ lived experiences of Aistear in a primary school environment

Zolei, Timea (2022) Exploring primary school infant class teachers’ lived experiences of Aistear in a primary school environment. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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This study is an attempt to explore junior and senior infant class primary school teachers’ lived experiences with ‘Aistear’: The Irish Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. Explored are the challenges they are encounter, the positive benefits they are experience in their practice since introducing this play-based curriculum and areas of practice that require further development within the Irish primary school environment to improve the implementation of a play-based curriculum. The rationale for the research streams from personal interest in the subject and as an Early Childhood Educator, resent policy developments and proposed curriculum developments in regards to early childhood education and primary school curriculum, and from the lack of relevant research in the Irish context. Using qualitative research design with a phenomenological lens, this research accentuates the importance of gathering data from a personal experiences perspective to echo participants’ individual opinions of reality. Semi-structured in-depth interviews of five junior and senior infant class primary school teachers were performed to collect rich and meaningful data. Participants were purposefully selected teachers from rural Ireland primary schools, who had previously experienced the phenomenon in interest, creating an information-rich and knowledgeable group. The collected data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis due to the research small sample size and its interpretation nature to offer answers to the research aim and questions. The study found that teachers’ experiences with Aistear vary, influenced by their experience, training, and background. Inadequate training and gaps in knowledge about Aistear contribute to teachers’ lack of confidence in making Aistear a predominant part of their practice. According to participants, the biggest challenge is the absence of hands-on training opportunities and the lack of support and clear guidance from the Department of Education. The overload of curriculum and growing requirements for teachers generate anxiety and stress for educators. The findings highlight the need for substantial government support with appropriate and clear guidelines on how to embrace a play-based curriculum as part of the primary school curriculum. Furthermore, it accentuates the need for extensive and suitable training opportunities for primary school teachers and the provision for appropriate resources.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Oke, Meera
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Teaching Personnel > Primary School Teachers
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Master of Arts in Educational Practice
Depositing User: Tamara Malone
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2024 15:52
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2024 15:52

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