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DCU Changemaker Schools Network


John White

Dr. John White

Dr. John White works in the School of Policy and Practice in the Institute of Education,  DCU.  He works on both undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes. He also works in the Institute as Director of Professional placement and Director of the DCU Changemaker Schools Network.   John has worked as a primary teacher, primary school principal and primary school inspector. His research interests include human communication (with a specific focus on nonverbal communication), classroom communication, arts-based research, Mathematics education, Science education,  language acquisition, human relationships, narrative inquiry, embodied cognition and primary school leadership.  He is the co-author of ‘The Classroom X –Factor: The Power of Body Language and Nonverbal Communication in Teaching’ (Rutledge, 2011) and co-author of  ‘The Rutledge Dictionary of Nonverbal Communication’ (Rutledge, 2021). 

Fiona Collins

Fiona Collins

Fiona Collins works in the School of Policy and Practice, at the Institute of Education, DCU. Fiona is the Network Co-ordinator of the DCU CSN. Fiona is seconded from her principalship of the DCU Changemaker School Francis Street School; a position she held for fifteen years. Fiona has worked on both undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes and is currently undertaking PhD research at University College Dublin as part of the Children’s Schools Lives study.

See more here: https://orcid.org/0009-0002-6967-8998

The research focusses on school cultures for equality and social justice, as perceived by school leaders. Fiona is particularly passionate about addressing inequalities in education and believes in the transformative power of education not only in expanding the realms of possibility for students; but also, to transform society. For Fiona, fostering transformational agency to empower students and teachers creates the space to respond to our increasingly diverse and dynamic world.

 Fiona’s research interests are in the areas of:

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

Educational Disadvantage

Children’s Rights and Voice in Education

Educational leadership and Culturally Responsive Leadership

Children’s Voice (s) in Research

Joan Whelan

Joan Whelan

Joan Whelan currently holds a post-doctoral research position on the  DCU Changemakers School Network team in the School of Policy and Practice, and on the Erasmus+ APOLE (Adventurous Play and Outdoor Learning) project in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies, at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. She competed her PhD in Dublin City University in 2022. Her thesis explored the possibilities offered by Forest School as caring pedagogy in the primary school. Previously she worked as a primary school principal in Dublin city until her retirement in 2016. She is a qualified educational psychologist. She was a founder member of the Irish Forest School Association in 2016 and is currently chairperson.  

Her research interests are focussed on the possibilities offered by nature-based pedagogies and outdoor education more generally towards making schools more responsive to the communities they serve.