RISE was established in 2012 to research the complex nature of learning and education in the twenty-first century. The aim of the group is to investigate, influence and impact on educational policy and practice. As such, its work is central to local as well as global education development. The group maintains an emphasis on linking theory and practice, and exploring how this translates into various educational settings, systems and processes. It could be argued that much research in education is divorced from practice. This group aims to address that gap. Our theoretical frameworks are wide and developing; in the words of Karl Popper: "Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve". The work of the group encompasses a range of perspectives and methodologies with emphasis on collaboration, participation and voice.

Research Group Director: Prof Damian Murchan

Research Focus

The research in this group focuses on the following areas:

  • The 21st century learner
  • Schooling in 21st century learning environments
  • Incorporating assessment in teaching and learning
  • Developing models of teaching and teacher professional development
  • Educational policy, practice and evaluation (including junior cycle reform in Ireland)
  • Theoretical frameworks and their use in practice (e.g. sociocultural theory, Vygotsky's zone of proximal development [ZPD] and constructivism)

The first major project of the RISE group in 2012/13 and 2013/14 was to address a key aspect of contemporary educational change in Ireland: Junior Cycle Reform from different stakeholder perspectives. To this end, we ran two daylong seminars (May 2013 and May 2014) involving keynotes, panel discussion and interactive audience participation, using start-up funding provided by the School.

The first was aimed at teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, industry leaders and policy makers. The second was developed with and for students. Both of these events attracted considerable media interest and the data collected provided the basis of a report and research paper on Junior Cycle Reform to be completed by the group in 2014/15.