The PME in UCC is a two-year, full-time teacher education course designed to qualify graduates as post-primary secondary school teachers. It is fully recognised and accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland for the purpose of registration as a post-primary teacher in Ireland and the EU. The PME combines two year-long school placements with university lectures and tutorials, which develop student teachers requisite professional knowledge, skills, understanding and competences. Students are introduced to best practice in teaching, learning and educational research with special emphasis on meeting the diverse needs of learners, on the curriculum and on current issues in education. Students are encouraged to integrate educational theory and practice through extensive reflection on their own professional classroom practice. They are supported in their development by experienced teachers in schools and tutored by specialist School of Education staff in nurturing their professional identity as teachers. It will be necessary to limit the number of students admitted to the programme; UCC's current quota is circa 120 students per year. Within this quota, a subject quota of 10 applies to Business Studies and Business related degrees.
The PME is a 120 credit Level 9 course leading to a professional teaching qualification. It is organised in partnership with co-operating second-level schools, normally located within a 50 km (30 mile) radius of Cork city. During PME school placements, students only teach the subject(s) for which they hold recognition by the Teaching Council of Ireland.
At the end of the course, you will have acquired the professional knowledge, understanding and skills that you need to teach your subject or subjects in a second-level school. You will have gained practical experience in two contrasting school settings, and developed your ability to respond flexibly to the diverse and changing educational needs of students aged 12 to 18 years. You will have been challenged, encouraged and invited to question and deepen your beliefs and assumptions about the purpose of education, the nature of teaching and learning and the role of the teacher in the 21st century.
Students should note that the following post-primary teaching subjects are currently supported on the programme: Business Studies (including Accounting and Economics), CSPE*, English, French, Gaeilge, Geography, German, History, Italian, Maths, Music, Religious Education, Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Spanish.
*CSPE: Students presenting with CSPE must have a second teaching subject.
Important Note: A minimum number of students is required for the subject-specific modules to run each year (cross-subject support may be provided if student numbers are low).
For Year 1 ; The responsibility for securing a placement school from the list of UCC School of Education PME co-operating schools rests entirely with the student. A school placement should not be secured until students have been offered a place on the PME programme. After selection by the school, students must sign a placement form and are contracted until the end of the school year to carry out their teaching placement in the school in question. Students must ensure that there is a minimum of twelve students in their placement class group for supervision purposes.
Each student in expected to have a contrasting placement experience in a different school context for Year 2. The placement school for Year 2 will, again be selected by the student but, the choice will be mediated by the School of Education Placement Co-ordinator and must be approved by the School of Education.
As part of their University programme, some students are required to undertake placement and training that involves dealing directly with patients, clients or service users. This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found herein : Policy
Students are required to spend a minimum of 100 hours of personal experience of directly teaching a class or classes in one or more approved subjects (6-8 classes per week) in Year 1 and 150 hours (9-11 classes per week) in Year 2. In both years, placement must be undertaken on specific days and during specific times for the entire school year from late August until the following June. In both Years 1 and 2, students are required to prepare and maintain a School Placement Teaching File with evidence of long and short term planning, daily and weekly reflections, resources and other relevant data for all their class groups for the duration of their placements. During both placements students are also required to engage in non-teaching school activities for an equivalent number of hours. This experience will normally include lesson planning, preparation and reflection, opportunities for some classroom observation of experienced teachers, team teaching, participation in school meetings and other collaborative work with school staff and the extended school community. During these non-teaching activities, students in Year 1 will also be required to complete a variety of directed research tasks pertaining to their placement (e.g. pertaining to classroom management, teacher questioning, ICT, learning theories, school supports and school communication, which form part of a School Placement Research and Professional Experiences Portfolio. Year 2 students will engage in more school activities commensurate with their evolving school experience and increased time in school and will also conduct research related to their classroom or school context, which will form part of their required Professional Research Paper in Education.
*Note: To be eligible for appointment to an incremental salaried teaching position in a secondary school, a teacher must be registered. It is the Teaching Council alone which has the authority to determine what constitutes adequate qualifications for registration purposes. See www.teachingcouncil.ie for registration details.
Irish Language Requirement ; While the Irish requirement has been removed for the generality of second-level teachers who do not use Irish in their everyday work, teachers of Irish and teachers employed in Gaeltacht schools and in other schools where Irish is the medium of instruction will be required to be fully proficient in Irish. A special course in spoken Irish, run by An Gaeilge Labhartha, UCC, will be available to students during their Professional Master of Education studies.
Once offered a conditional place, students must arrange a first year school placement from the list of co-operating schools provided. Commencing and registering for the programme is dependent on securing a school placement. Second year students also organise their second placement in a contrasting school setting mediated by the School of Education Placement Co-ordinator. You must teach a specified number of lessons per week in both Years 1 and 2, as laid down by the School of Education to meet the requirements of the Teaching Council. School placements last for the full school year, during which student teachers are expected to participate fully in school life. College lectures and tutorials commence in late August/early September, and are held on specific days in both academic years.
Unique Aspects of the Course
Teaching as a profession is both challenging and rewarding. The best teachers are those who combine a passion for their subject with the skills necessary to teach it to a variety of learners, and who enjoy interacting daily with a variety of young people. Good teachers can make a real difference in young peoples lives. The PME in UCC is a ground-breaking and innovative teacher education programme, which is an excellent preparation for teaching at second level. It incorporates the latest research in the field of education studies with key emphasis on fostering innovative and inclusive classroom pedagogies.