Newsletter 3 November 2015



PEPAYS Ireland Forum 2015 Report

News from our research clusters and members


Calls for papers

Reports and items of interest

Upcoming Events

Research Features

Researcher Profiles


PEPAYS Ireland Forum 2015 Report


10th Anniversary Physical Education, Physical Activity and Youth Sport (PEPAYS) Ireland Forum 2015 at University of Limerick, 9th June 2015.

The Physical Education, Physical Activity and Youth Sport (PEPAYS) Ireland Research Centre was established in 2005 and over the last ten years PEPAYS Ireland has helped to build research expertise in physical activity and youth sport across the island of Ireland.  The 2015 PEPAYS Ireland Research Forum was jointly hosted by the University of Limerick (UL) and Mary Immaculate College (MIC) with a different format of a packed day-long schedule which took place in the Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) building on the UL campus. There were three keynote speakers, twenty oral presentations, eight posters and three roundtable discussions. All presenters had been asked to consider the policy and practice applications of their work, an emphasis that PEPAYS Ireland is looking to promote over the next number of years.

The PEPAYS Ireland Co-Directors Dr Elaine Murtagh (MIC) and Dr Ann MacPhail

(UL) opened the Forum by welcoming almost 100 delegates from Ireland, the UK and Norway. The new PEPAYS Ireland logo was officially unveiled along with the new website ( Professor Stewart Trost (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) was the first Keynote speaker, titling his presentation‘Applying Research to Practice and Policy for Promotion of Lifelong Physical Activity’. Formal responses to Professor Trost’s presentation were delivered from Marie Clonan (Margaret Aylward Community College, Dublin) and Dr Jaimie McMullen (UL).

Two parallel sessions took place following the coffee break on ‘Curriculum Changes’ and “Promoting Physical Activity in Schools and the Community” and it was great to have researchers from eight different Institutes of Technology and universities presenting. The sun came out and the delegates enjoyed the opportunity to network over lunch followed by a ‘Walk…Talk…Engage’ session which took the delegates on a 30-minute stroll around the campus during which they were asked to discuss topics and issues they had been exposed to through the morning’s programme and post their thoughts on the ‘web of activity’ afterwards.

The busy afternoon session commenced with the second keynote on ‘What Youth Sport and PE can learn from High Performance and vice versa’ delivered by David Passmore (Dublin City University) with Ian Sherwin (UL) acting as the respondent. Two more parallel sessions on ‘Leading by Example: New Approaches’ and ‘Examining our Understanding of Physical Activity Engagement’ preceded the poster presentations and the final keynote address, ‘Reflections on applying research to policy and practice’ delivered by Ronan Toomey from the Department of Health. The Forum was officially closed by the Co-Directors who congratulated the members of the Programme and Organising Committees who worked tirelessly over the last six months to prepare for the Forum, and in particular to Deborah Tannehill who chaired both Committees. The host for the next PEPAYS Ireland Forum was also announced with the Institute of Technology Tralee taking over the organisation for June 2016.

The day concluded with a lively social session, barbecue, drinks and music in the Stables Club.

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First Keynote Speaker Prof Stewart Trost (QUT) centre, with Dr Jaimie McMullen (respondent), Dr Niamh Murphy (Session chair), Co-Director Dr Ann MacPhail and Marie Clonan (Respondent)

Keynote 3 Chaired by Dr Tara Coppinger (left) and Speaker Ronan Toomey (Dept of Health)


Lunch outside

Feedback and delegate thoughts from ‘Walk…Talk…Engage’ session – the web of activity


News from our research clusters and members


Award to Dr Ann MacPhail and Dr Missy Parker


At the 2016 AIESEP Conference in Madrid PEPAYS Ireland Co-Director Dr Ann MacPhail and Facilitating Learning Through Teaching and Coaching Cluster Co-Director Dr Missy Parker were awarded the AIESEP Fellowship for outstanding academic recognition. The AIESEP Fellowship recognises scholarly excellence in research and professional practice in physical education, physical activity and sport pedagogy across the lifespan. The Fellowship acknowledges Ann's and Missy's international recognition of academic and professional practice.


New Co-Chair for FLTTC Research Cluster


The Facilitating Learning Through Teaching and Coaching Cluster is delighted to welcome Dr. Maura Coulter as Cluster Co-Director with Dr Missy Parker.  At the same time, we wish to thank Dr. Daniel Tindall for his years of service as co-director of the current cluster as well as director of the former cluster of Inclusion in Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Sport. Maura brings to the cluster both primary physical education and primary teacher education perspectives.  We welcome you.


Self-Study with Dr Tim Fletcher


The Facilitating Learning Through Teaching and Coaching Cluster hosted a Forum lecture on Self-Study in Physical Education Teacher Education by Dr. Tim Fletcher of Brock University (Canada). In his lecture Dr. Fletcher highlighted the basic premises of self-study and common questions raised regarding this research methodology.  You can watch the full presentation by clicking the link below:


Funding Awarded


Funding has been secured from the National Seminar Series for a one-day workshop / seminar titled ‘‘Rich tasks’ as a framework for innovative assessment in teacher education.’ The workshop is planned for delivery in May 2016 and please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.


SCoTENS funding: £5000 awarded for ‘Teacher educator professional learning: Shaping the conversation of teacher education?’ Partners: Dr Déirdre Ní Chróinín, Mary Immaculate College, Ciaran Walsh, St Mary’s University College, Belfast,  Dr Melissa Parker, University of Limerick, Paul McFlynn, University of Ulster, Dr Maura Coulter, St Pat’s Drumcondra.


A self-study of teacher education practices workshop organised  by Dr Déirdre Ní Chróinín entitled ‘S-STEP in Ireland, opportunities and challenges’ led by Dr Tim Fletcher, Brock University, Canada was held on September 11th at MIC. This event was organised by the Teacher Educator Self-Study Initiative (TESSI) at Mary Immaculate College in association with the National Institute for Education Studies (NISE). The workshop examined the opportunities and challenges of S-STEP in Ireland.

An IRC funded launch of the Ireland-UK Self-Study Network of Physical Education and Coach Educators was held on September 14th as part of the BERA PESP SIG Invisible College. This launch event was organised by Dr Déirdre Ní Chróinín. Dr Missy Parker and Prof Mary O’Sullivan.


Publications by members



MacPhail, A. The story of representation (or not) in contributing to the development of a school subject curriculum. Irish Educational Studies DOI: 10.1080/03323315.2015.1064320

McEvoy, E., MacPhail, A. & Heikinaro-Johansson, P. (2015) Physical Education Teacher Educators: A 25-Year Scoping Review of Literature, Teaching and Teacher Education, 162-181. DOI:10.1016/j.tate.2015.07.005

McEvoy, E., Heikinaro-Johansson, P. & MacPhail, A. (2015) Physical Education Teacher Educators Views Regarding the Purpose(s) of Physical Education. Sport, Education and Society. DOI:10.1080/13573322.2015.1075971

Leirhaug, P. & MacPhail, A. (2015) ‘It's the other assessment that is the key’: three Norwegian physical education teachers' engagement (or not) with assessment for learning, Sport, Education and Society, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.975113

McEvoy, E., MacPhail, A. & Enright, E. (2015) Physical activity experiences of young people in an area of disadvantage: ‘there's nothing there for big kids, like us’, Sport Education and Society, DOI:10.1080/13573322.2014.994176

Patay, M.E., Patton, Parker, M., Fahey, K. and Sinclair, C. 2015. Understanding Motivators and Barriers to Physical Activity. The Physical Educator. 72(3), 518-537.

Hardie Murphy, M., Rowe, D. A., Belton, S. and Woods, C. B. (2015) Validity of a two-item physical activity questionnaire for assessing attainment of physical activity guidelines in Irish youth. BMC Public Health 15(1080). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-2418-6

Ní Chróinín, D., Fletcher, T., O’Sullivan, M. (in press) Using self-study to explore the processes of pedagogical innovation in physical education teacher education, The Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport, and Physical Activity, Special Issue.

Martin R and Murtagh EMPreliminary findings of Active Classrooms: An intervention to increase physical activity levels of primary school children during class time. Teaching and Teacher Education. 2015;52:113-127 

McMullen, J., Ní Chróinín, D., Tammelin, T., Pogorzelskaq, M., van der Mars, H. (in press) International Approaches to Whole-of-School Physical Activity Promotion, Quest

O’ Brien, W., Belton, S. and Issartel, J. (2015a) ‘Fundamental movement skill proficiency amongst adolescent youth’, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, In Press. doi: 10.1080/17408989.2015.1017451.

O’ Brien, W., Belton, S. and Issartel, J. (2015b) ‘The relationship between adolescents’ physical activity, fundamental movement skills and weight status’, Journal of Sports Sciences, Accepted for publication.

O’ Brien, W., & Lawlor, M. (2015). Let's get physical: A sustainable pathway for positive health and wellbeing. Keynote address at 8th Annual CRSI Conference 10th June, Cork  (Ireland). 


Conference Presentations 

Czerniawski, G., MacPhail, A. & Guberman, A. (2015) Teacher educators’ professional learning and development needs. British Education Research Association Conference, Belfast, September 15-17.

MacPhail, A. & Hartley, T. (2015) Encountering Working Conditions in Schools: Insights from Beginning and Experienced Teachers. European Conference on Educational Research, Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September.

Hordvik, M., Ronglan, LT. & MacPhail, A. (2015) A physical education teacher educator’s self-study of teaching sport education to pre-service teachers. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

Iannucci, C. & MacPhail, A. (2015) The lives and careers of physical education teachers: Twelve years on from graduation. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

Kennedy, S. & MacPhail, A. (2015) Shifting the value paradigm in physical activity and sport. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

Lyons, D. & MacPhail, A. (2015) Using life history approach to explore the within-career transitions experienced by high performance adolescent athletes. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

McEvoy, E., MacPhail, A.  & Heikinaro-Johansson, P. (2015) Physical education teacher educators: A scoping review of literature since 1990. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

Tannehill, D., MacPhail, A. & Murphy, G. (2015) Teacher empowerment through community of practice: The urban schools group. AIESEP 2015 International Conference, 8-11 June, Madrid, Spain.

Kennedy, S., MacPhail, A. & Varley, P. (2015) Lifetime Adventurers: Motives, values and existential authenticity. PE-PAYS Forum, University of Limerick, 9 June.

McCaffrey, P., MacPhail, A. & McEvilly, N. (2015) ‘What do you think, Furry?’ Puppetry as a playful approach to eliciting children’s perspectives on their experiences of physical education and physically active play. PE-PAYS Ireland Forum, University of Limerick, 9 June.

Parker, M., MacPhail, A., McEvoy, E.,  Ní Chróinín, D., O’Sullivan, M. (2016). Drawing connections between school physical education and outside school physical activity. Presented at the AIESEP Conference, Madrid, Spain

Ní Chroínín, D., Fletcher, T. & O’Sullivan, M. (2015) Transatlantic Self-study: Lessons across the ocean, International symposium entitled ‘Scaling up Self-study: From individual study to cross-PEC programme research’ International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education, Madrid, July 8th – 11th.

Clohessy, L, Bowles, R. & Ní Chróinín, D. (2015) Physical Education in Irish Primary Schools: Generalist Classroom Teachers Experiences of Subject Leadership. Oral presentation, International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education, Madrid, July 8th - 11th.

O’ Brien, W.R., Breslin, G., Brennan, D., Lee, B., Shannon, S., McCullagh, D., Chambers, F., Woods, C., Belton, S., Donnelly, P., Smyth, P., McCaffrey, P., Hannon, S., & Hanna, D. (2015). An “All Island” approach to physical activity and wellbeing amongst Irish children: The Sport for Life All Island Intervention. ISBNPA conference, Edinburgh (Scotland).

Bolger, L., Bolger, L., O’ Brien, W., Burns, C., Coughlan, E., & O’Neill, C. (2015). I can walk, I can talk but… I just can’t JUMP?” – Movement skill proficiency amongst primary school children in Ireland. ISBNPA conference, Edinburgh (Scotland).

O’ Brien, W., & Hart, E. (2015). Empowering Players - Building the Relationship between the Coach and the Player. Liberty Insurance GAA Games Development Conference 10th January, Dublin (Ireland). 


Calls for papers

Supplement to JPAH on Youth Energy Expenditure

International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy (ICEP), Dublin December 2015 – deadline October 18th 2015.  See

SEDA Spring Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference, Edinburgh May 2016 – deadline November 6th.  See


Reports and items of interest                       

The UFIT Toolkit for Inclusion in the Fitness Sector was also successfully launched at the 15th Annual IHRSA European Conference in Marseille, France, in October 2015. The Toolkit and resources for Vocational and Educational Training (VET) trainers was developed by a European partnership led by the UNESCO Chair. The partners included the European Observatory of Sports Employment (EOSE), Universidad Poltecnica De Madrid, Skillsactive UK, Palacky University in Olomouc and the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the CARA centre at IT Tralee. The project aims to equip fitness professionals and managers with sufficient knowledge, competence and skill to work with people with disabilities in fitness environments. UFIT draws together a Sector Skills Alliance and Knowledge Alliance to maximise the impact of the programme and to ensure responsiveness to labour market needs. In Ireland the CARA centre will be the primary training provider of this programme. Further details of the Universal Fitness Inclusion Training are available at Photos of the launch are available at


afPE Health Position Paper

With the health of the nation weighing heavily on the public conscience, afPE has updated its UK wide Health Position Paper.

This paper outlines physical education's crucial role in public health and the promotion of physical activity.

Click the link below to download a PDF version of the afPE Health Position Paper.


Latest news from the Global Observatory for Physical Activity

Commentaries on Physical Activity and Health October 2015 Vol 1 Issue 2

In August, Dr. Ken Powell wrote a compelling article on why physical activity should be regarded as a great bargain - a "best buy" - for public health.  Yet we Americans largely aren't buying.  One of the reasons he gives is that there is a mistaken notion that this best buy requires a large commitment on our part: a significant investment with regard to time spent and physical effort (intensity) required.  

How did this belief come about?  And, indeed, how much physical activity is good enough to qualify as a best buy?



What works in Schools and colleges to increase physical activity.
Produced by Public Health England, this briefing provides an overview from the evidence about what works in schools and colleges to increase levels of physical activity among children and young people. The evidence has been distilled into eight promising principles for practice, which have been tested with children and young people and practitioners.



WHO: The European health report 2015

The European health report is a flagship publication, published every three years. The 2012 report set the baseline for monitoring progress towards the six targets of the European policy framework, Health 2020.

The 2015 report presents the progress made since the baseline. An assessment of the available data on all the targets reveals that the European Region is on track, but much potential remains for further health gains and reductions in inequalities.

The 2015 report gives an update on the challenges in measuring and reporting on progress towards Health 2020, particularly in measuring well-being, and proposes new sources of qualitative evidence to describe and monitor well-being.

Facts and figures are not enough to report meaningfully on what it means to be healthy and well in Europe. The 2015 European health report argues that new forms of evidence are necessary to fully capture this. Stronger international collaboration is required to advance the agenda for health-information research and development in the Region.


Upcoming Events 

November 2015

Design and Methods of Natural Experiments in Parks and Play Spaces November 13th, at 1000. More details at the link below. 

AISHE AGM - this year's AGM will be held at 1 pm on November the 18th at TCD.

AISHE Masterclass: 'Writing for AISHE-J', UCD School of Nursing, 18th November 10 am- 4 pm. 


Workshop title and Link for more information:

Designing Effective Interventions for Health Behaviour Change: An Introduction

23 November 2015, 9am - 5pm, School of Psychology, NUI Galway. 

The workshop will be facilitated by: Dr Molly Byrne, Health Research Board (HRB) Research Leader and Director of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway, and Dr Jenny McSharry, Postdoctoral Researcher, Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway, and Registered Health Psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council.

This workshop is supported by the Health Research Board, and in association with the Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network.


December 2015

Interesting series of seminars in early December on exercise in cancer survivors. Click on the link below for more information:


February 2016

''The Irish Primary PE Association 2016 conference will be held in the Mardyke Arena UCC, Cork on Saturday 27th February 2016.  Workshop line-up and further details to be announced shortly.'


June 2016


The 2016 Conference of the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP) will be held June 8-11, 2016 in Laramie, WY (USA) at the University of Wyoming.  The site is nestled between two mountain ranges in south-eastern Wyoming, delegates will be treated to beautiful scenery and chances to get a taste of the Old West.  Abstract submission opens November 1st 2015.  Visit here for more details:


Launch of The National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2015

We are delighted to be hosting Ireland’s first Teaching and Learning Summit which will take place in The Printworks, Dublin Castle on December 10th 2015.

Read more at the link below:


Research Features

McEvoy, E., Heikinaro-Johansson, P. & MacPhail. A.  2015.  Physical education teacher educators’ views regarding the purpose(s) of school physical education, Sport, Education and Society, doi: 10.1080/13573322.2015.1075971


The aim of this paper was to gain an understanding of the views of a group of physical education teacher educators on the purpose(s) of school physical education and whether, how and why these views have changed over time. Semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with thirteen physical education teacher educators; a fourteenth participant responded to interview questions in writing. Participants were based in seven countries: Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA. A relative consensus on the overarching purpose of physical education was evident, centred on physical education preparing young people for a lifetime of physical activity. The framing of this shared purpose differed somewhat between participants, reflecting a range of perspectives on the value of physical activity. Delineating the boundaries of their subject, participants characterised obesity prevention and maximising in-class physical activity as potential by-products rather than as goals of the subject. The views of many had changed over time, influenced by such factors as findings from research, societal expectations and a perceived need to legitimise physical education within school and university contexts. We note that many of the influences acting on the views of the physical education teacher educators are also known to affect practicing teachers. This suggests a possibility, in the open reflection of physical education teacher educators on the interaction between their views and the institutional and societal contexts within which they work, to provide future teachers with alternative value pathways paved with relatable explanations and shared experiences.


Patay, M.E., Patton, Parker, M., Fahey, K. and Sinclair, C. 2015. Understanding Motivators and Barriers to Physical Activity. The Physical Educator. 72(3), 518-537.


The purpose of this study was to understand the factors that influence physical activity among year-round residents in an isolated summer resort community. Specifically, we explored the personal, environmental, social, and culture-specific perceived motivators and barriers to physical activity. Participants were formally interviewed about their knowledge of physical activity participation as well as observed throughout the research period. Results indicate participants’ knowledge of physical activity is not as accurate as originally assumed. Most associated physical activity with sport, and therefore physical activity participation was underreported because residents did not acknowledge their work and transportation as physical activity. With regard to men and women, motivators for physical activity were different. Men indicated a need for competition as well as a sense of commitment to others. Women, on the other hand, were motivated by the social factor that goes along with being physically active with others.


Researcher Profile

This edition will feature Dr Maura Coulter. We are grateful to Maura for taking the time to complete the profile questionnaire!


Dr. Maura Coulter (new Co-Chair of FLTTC Cluster)


  1. Name – Maura Coulter
  2. Professional Title – Dr
  3. Location of work – St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University
  4. Sector you work in – Education
  5. In 25 words or less briefly describe your job in terms of your primary role

I am responsible, along with my colleagues, for Primary Physical Education teaching and learning at undergraduate (B.Ed. in Primary Teaching), post-graduate (PME, M.Ed and MTEach) and In-Service Certificate/Diploma level. All these programmes have core and specialist modules in primary PE.

  1. Main area of physical activity you work in (e.g. walking, sedentariness, exercise science)

My area is primarily in education, but this would include ensuring that within physical education recognised standards of physical activity are met.  Students taking a specialism in PE take a module in physical activity and school sport, which covers all aspects of physical activity pertaining to the primary school context.

  1. If you could successfully advocate for your Government to do two things to advance physical activity in your country/region, what would they be?
    Physical Education should be mandatory rather than recommended in the Primary School Curriculum. Children in primary schools should receive 30 minutes structured physical activity/physically active play every day in addition to their physical education lessons
  2. What do you think will be the next most important development in the physical activity field?
    I think all developments in the PA field are important as they continue to innovate at great speed. It’s difficult to know what will be next! Technology has a huge influence on all aspects of life and I think the next development whatever it will be will have a technological component.
  3. What physical activity do you enjoy doing?
    I enjoy walking, cycling and more recently Stand Up Paddling (SUP!)

Our Mission

To use high-quality, multi-disciplinary and multi-entity research to shape, influence and inform policy and practice relating to advancing the health and well-being of populations in the areas of physical education, sport, physical activity and health.

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