Deirdre O'Neill is a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Education in UL. Her research interests focus on transition in teacher education, physics teacher education and education outside the classroom. She is currently leading the monitoring and evaluation of the EU-funded OTTER project and implementation of the pilot studies in Ireland. She has also facilitated professional learning workshops for Department of Education and Skills (Professional Diploma in Teaching Physics), Reginal Education Centers (e.g., AEC), schools (principals and teachers). Recently she has joined as a member of the University of Limerick Sustainable Working Group.

Research Interests

Deirdre's research interests currently investigate ways of embedding innovative pedagogical approaches to integrate sustainable development and make connections with the environment. Adopting Education Outside the Classroom practices to learn about the current global issues and engage students (of all ages) to become responsible consumers and citizens is the focus of her research today.

Deirdre's research is also centered on the teacher (pre-service and in-service) and their role in empowering students to be the change agents of today. Her research gives voice to novice and experienced teachers by tailoring supports to their educational needs in the ever-changing landscape of education for sustainable development.

Deirdre's past involvement in research also considers unconscious bias, gender stereotyping, fostering professional learning communities and research practice partnerships.

Teaching Interests

Deirdre has a keen interest in observing and gaining a deep understanding the issues of learners (both as a second-level teacher and as a university lecturer).
Reflective practice is a key component of Deirdre's teaching approach as she draws on several models for reflection to facilitate student growth and self-awareness. Her teaching exhibits a scaffolded approach to reflection that is embedded in every lecture enhancing students descriptive writing skills, critical writing skills and focusing on key learnings to improve their teaching. 



  • O'Neill, D., 2022. Insights into the professional learning of physics teachers: an examination of Novice teachers’ experiences of transition (Doctoral dissertation, Dublin City University).

Book Chapters:

  • O’Neill, D., McLoughlin, E. (2022). What Do Novice Physics Teachers Identify as Their Problems of Practice?. In: Borg Marks, J., Galea, P., Gatt, S., Sands, D. (eds) Physics Teacher Education. Challenges in Physics Education. Springer, Cham.
  • O’Neill, D. and McLoughlin, E. (2020) ‘Enhancing the Teaching and Learning of Physics at Lower Second Level in Ireland’, in Research and Innovation in Physics Education: Two Sides of the Same Coin. Springer, pp. 239–247.

International Conference Papers:

  • O’Neill, D. and Mcloughlin, E. (2021) ‘Examining Students’ Interest in Physics at Second Level in Ireland’, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1929, p. 012033. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1929/1/012033.
  • O’Neill, D. and McLoughlin, E. (2019) ‘Supporting Professional Learning Communities to Develop Content Knowledge for Teaching and Learning Physics at Lower Secondary Level’, in “the beauty and pleasure of understanding: engaging with contemporary challenges through science education.” ESERA, p. 1588. Available at:
  • O’Neill, D., McLoughlin, E. and Gilheany, S. (2018) ‘Creating research-practice collaborations to address gender imbalance in physics at second level’, in Proceedings of the eighth science and mathematics education conference connecting research, policy and practice in STEM education, pp. 67–72.


  • McLoughlin, E., O’Neill, D. and Fagan, G. (2020) Improving Gender Balance in Ireland: Final Report (2017-2019). Dublin: Dublin City University, p. 73.