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School of Arts Education & Movement


Primary Department
School of Arts Education & Movement
Academic Staff
Work Area/Key Responsibilities
Physical Education
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Dr Cillian Brennan is an Assistant Professor in Physical Education in the School of Arts Education and Movement at DCU Institute of Education. His research interests include teacher socialisation, physical education teacher education, continuous professional development, physical education leadership, and meaningful physical education. Cillian is a graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, where he completed his undergraduate degree (B Ed with a specialism in PE) and his PhD. This doctoral work investigated the socialisation of PE specialism graduates (PESGs) as generalist teachers with expertise in PE. Teacher development was examined from a variety of perspectives, including PESGs’ self-efficacy to teach PE; the influence of PESGs’ prior experiences on their understanding of quality PE; the organisational socialisation of PESGs through a micropolitical lens; and the influence of an online community of practice on PESGs’ development as teachers and leaders of PE.

Prior to joining DCU, Cillian worked as a primary school teacher in Clare and contributed to teacher education and early childhood programmes at Mary Immaculate College and the University of Limerick. Having worked closely with primary school teachers, Cillian's teaching interests are centred upon preparing student teachers to apply their skills within their complex teaching landscapes.

Research interests

Teacher socialisation in physical education.
Physical education teacher education.
School culture and physical education leadership in Irish primary schools.
Continuous professional development in physical education, particularly through online communities of practice.
Facilitating meaningful experiences in primary physical education and youth sport.