Series of talks sponsored by C&T in October: 10/31 with Stephen O’ Brien

  • Inside Education: Exploring the Art of Good Learning, with Stephen O’Brien, Tuesday, 10/31, 4-5pm, 306 Russell.

“To learn more about learning – what it is and how it works – it is necessary to go inside education. Too often school and classroom practices are overlooked by capricious outside ‘interests’. While these dominate the production and circulation of education symbols and practices, ‘lived’ learning becomes increasingly misplaced. This is particularly true in the case of education projects that ‘stand for something different’; that seek to secure ‘other’ representations. This talk centres on these ‘other’ educational stories. It offers a personal/professional account – centring on my recent book publication, Inside Education: Exploring the Art of Good Learning – of some key theoretical and methodological challenges encountered in using a critical ethnography approach to research. Specifically, I focus upon the challenges of: Connecting ‘big’ theory with ‘lived’ experiences; engaging a hermeneutic approach to data analysis; and involving one’s ‘self’ in authorial work. The talk also focuses on the hidden power of critical ethnography, specifically how critical ethnography can – through sense and sensibility – speak to postmodern audiences and be purposefully written up for and with others. And ultimately, this talk makes the case for critical ethnography – in the ‘interest’ of telling a more complete learning story.”


Dr. Stephen O’Brien is a lecturer in the School of Education, University College Cork, Ireland. A former schoolteacher of some 10 years, he has published and continues to research in such diverse knowledge areas as: Curriculum and assessment; adult education; critical policy analysis; inclusion; research methodology and multicultural education. His recent book Inside Education: Exploring the Art of Good Learning was published by Routledge (2016).