Skip to main content

Dr. John O'Reilly

BSc, H Dip Ed, PhD


Dr. John O'Reilly is a lecturer in Initial Teacher Education in the University of Limerick addressing areas such as professionalism, planning, curriculum development, active learning, classroom management and assessment for the Postgraduate Masters in Education programme. His research interests are all schools-based with strong partnerships in the areas of science education (IBSE and PCK in particular) and curriculum development with schools(Negotiated Integrated Curriculum), professional development agencies and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. He served as a member of the junior cycle science specification development group and has just completed leading the FP7 project 'Chain Reaction' focused on professional development for IBSE in Ireland.

Research Interests

Physical Sciences Education at second and third levels; Evidence Based Practice in Education; Active and Enquiry-based Learning; Pedagogical Content Knowledge; Curriculum development (Negotiated Integrated Curriculum); Professional Development

Teaching Interests

My learning philosophy is essentially inquiry-oriented and continuingly evolving in nature, reflective of my personal epistemology which is grounded in the sciences and developed through a view of education as a fundamental human right. I am influenced heavily by Paulo Friere and John Dewy and have incorporated principles of their philosophy in terms of learner decision-making and responsibility, making power structures visible, the teacher as a public intellectual and democratic education.

I adopt an 'evidence-informed' approach to my teaching that I have developed through a critically reflective analysis of 'evidence-based' teaching methodologies with secondary and higher education students (in both science and education modules) over many years. I view myself as a professional educator in an on-going action research cycle to improve my practice to the benefit of my students. I am then able to model this for my Initial Teacher Education students both in practical methodologies and disposition. Drawing on Hattie (2009) and the National Research Council (2000) I have identified 9 core principles of learning that act as anchors for emerging practice and are constant reference points (Appendix 2, Principles of Learning).

My aim in this is to facilitate the development of student capacity for independent professional action where they take responsibility for their own learning as researchers of their own practice and scholars of teaching and learning, developing and making explicit their own understandings. In this I emphasise that teachers are made rather than born with approaches that require action on reflection for professional development. Students are active participants in my modules and I make clear that I learn from them by building on their emerging understandings and concerns as described below. I share this both anecdotally with them and explicitly to illustrate how I learn and my efforts to improve my practice.

Professional Activities


  • 2005 Member, Irish Science Teacher's Association


  • 2005 National University of Ireland, Galway - Lecturer
  • 2003 National University of Ireland Galway - Marie-Curie Post-doctoral fellowship
  • 2001 Uniersite Paris-Sud, France - Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • 2000 Southeast Missouri State University, USA - Visiting Professor
  • 1998 Kober University, Japan - Post-doctoral researcher
  • 1997 Tallaght Institute of Technology - Associate Lecturer
  • 1993 National College of Ireland - Associate Lecturer


  • 2005 National University of Ireland, Galway - Ed.
  • 1998 University College Dublin - Ph.D.
  • 1992 University College Dublin - B.Sc.


  • French