It is widely recognised that the quality of any education system cannot exceed the quality of the teaching within it. It is therefore important to understand and recognise the factors which can enhance the ability of practitioners within the FE/FAE sector to deliver quality teaching and learning within our colleges.

There are also significant challenges in meeting twin funding and performance pressures within the FE/FAE sector. Within this context there is also a clear drive to recognise and enhance the professionalism of practitioners, particularly through the acquisition of formal Teacher Education Qualifications (TEQs) and continuous professional development.

Yet, teacher education and professional development with the FE/FAE sector in the island of Ireland is not well researched from either the perspective of practitioners or what most effective in meeting their learning needs.

The SAFETTI study is designed to help build a clear picture of what is happening within the FE/FAE sector across the island of Ireland in terms of practitioners who are completing their initial TEQs.

The study builds upon initial work carried out by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) with FAE institutions in the Republic of Ireland (Phase 1)[link to online resource].

Research Objectives

The objective of the research project is to provide recommendations to enhance the Teaching and Learning Environment (TLE) within which practitioners in the sector, north and south, undertake and acquire their teaching qualifications.

This research will enhance understanding across the island of Ireland and the wider international and European community of Further Education, Adult Education and Vocational Education practitioners.

It will also provide an insight for individuals reflecting on their own sense of professional identity and professional development needs, employing organisations in designing, developing and facilitating professional development and on institutions designing and delivering teacher education programmes.

Key Research Questions

The three key research questions guiding the Study in Adult and Further Education Teacher Training in Ireland study are:

  1. How can the teaching-learning environment (TLE) in AFE professional development programmes be enhanced?
  1. How can transformative learning spaces be created in professional development programmes to support participants’ evolving professional identity?
  1. What facilitates and inhibits AFE practitioners’ engagement with lifelong professional learning and development?