Teacher with students in classroom
Thursday, 11 April 2024

University of Limerick, in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Mary Immaculate College (MIC), will lead a landmark research study examining teachers’ professional journeys in the first ten years of their career.

Teachers’ Professional Journeys: The First Decade (TPJ) is a longitudinal research study that has been jointly commissioned by the Department of Education and the Teaching Council. It will explore teachers’ early career experiences, as they complete initial teacher education and become established in the profession.

This research will be conducted by a consortium comprising Professor Paul Conway of University of Limerick’s School of Education (Principal Investigator), Professor Emer Smyth from the ESRI (Co-Principal Investigator) and Professor Aisling Leavy from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick (Co-Principal Investigator).

The research consortium is supported by two teams of co-investigators/researchers, Associate Professors Antonio Calderon, Aoife Neary and Niamh O’Meara at University of Limerick, and Professor Déirdre Ní Chroinín, Dr Johanna Fitzgerald and Dr Mairead Hourigan at Mary Immaculate College. A research project manager has recently been appointed and two UL PhD candidates will join the TPJ study from Autumn 2024.

Running to 2030 at an overall cost of €2.8 million, this study will inform and shape policy in a range of areas including initial teacher education, induction into the profession and early professional development. It will encompass primary, post-primary and further education teacher graduates, as well as other key stakeholders.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD said: "The research study demonstrates the strong commitment of both the Department and the Teaching Council to listen to the voices and experiences of teachers in a way that can shape and reshape future policy on teaching and teacher education. I hope that all teachers in the relevant cohorts and other education stakeholders will see the value in contributing to this study, which is the first of its kind for this country".

The Chairperson of the Teaching Council, Michelle Keane, added: “Collaborative engagement with the Department, key stakeholders and the teaching profession is fundamental to everything that we do. As this project is jointly commissioned with the Department, and will involve a collaborative, participatory approach to research design and implementation, it very much reflects our commitment to a partnership approach, and I am delighted to see it getting off the ground as I conclude my term of office as Chair. I will follow its progress with great interest".

The research leads for the study Professors Paul Conway, Emer Smyth and Aisling Leavy said that: “The Teachers’ Professional Journeys longitudinal study will provide a valuable opportunity to understand the learning and development of teachers during their first decade in the profession. Central to realising this potential will be the contributions of teachers and other stakeholders in enhancing our understanding of their experiences of teaching and teacher education”.