Dr Stephen O'Brien


Name: Dr Stephen O'Brien

Contact: s.obrien@ucc.ie

Role: Lecturer

Academic Unit: School of Education

Dr Stephen O’Brien is a lecturer in the School of Education, University College Cork, Ireland.  He is a graduate of Cork, London and Bristol Universities.  He was a teacher for 10 years in multicultural school settings in England, teaching mathematics and serving as Head of First Year.  He has published widely on adult education; educational inclusion (including multicultural education); educational policy; curriculum and assessment; critical pedagogy (including links to development education), and learning theory.  He has recently completed a four-year critical ethnography on learning in different school and adult education settings, the study, published by Routledge (2016), is entitled ‘Inside Education exploring the art of good learning’.  He is presently working with Irish Research Scholar PhD candidates in the areas of adult education for global citizenship and increasing older male participation in further education and training via community education approaches.  His current research interests include: Storytelling in education; making cases for critical ethnography; engaging learner voice in educational policy provision; and re-presenting education (via art-science connections) to the wider public.

Thematic Expertise

Development Education and Critical Pedagogy

Geographical Expertise

Ireland, UK, US, Brazil

Relevant Projects

IdEst Project - an Irish Aid funded project via the Ubuntu Network which raises the visibility of, and nurtures the capacity of student teachers to engage with, development education.


O’Brien, S. and Cotter, G. (2018). Critical researchers of and for our times: Exploring student teachers use of critical multicultural and development education frameworks in their Professional Research Papers (PRPs).  Forthcoming in Policy & Practice, Issue 26, 2018

O’Brien, S. (2017) Resisting neoliberal education: For freedom’s sake In T. Rudd and I. Goodson (Eds, 2017, 149-166). Negotiating Neoliberalism: Developing alternative educational visions. Rotterdam. Sense Publishers.

O'Brien, S. (2016). Inside education exploring the art of good learning. London and New York. Routledge.

Kitching, K., O’Brien, S., Long, F., Conway, P. F., Murphy, R. and Hall, K. (2014). Knowing how to feel about the other? Student teachers and the contingent role of embodiments in educational inequalities. Pedagogy, Culture and Society.

O’Brien, S. and Long, F. (2012) Mathematics as (multi)cultural practice: Irish lessons from the Polish weekend school, Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 133-156

Centre for Global Development