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Orla Colgate, Ph.D.

Associate Faculty

Orla currently teaches Introduction to Research Skills (ECC 501) and Research Methods for School Counsellors (ECC 512) at City University in Canada. Elementary school trained, Orla has taught, and studied in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. An active educational researcher, her teaching of research skills and methods draws upon her extensive experience in researching in education in each of these four countries. She has had the opportunity to learn and practice skills in both qualitative and quantitative methods and welcomes the opportunity to share her experience with educators. Throughout her education career, Orla has seen the value of teachers understanding, interpreting and using research in order to improve learning and practice. Concurrent with her research and teaching she has designed and delivered programs to families who wish to understand how to support their children in learning to read.


Orla’s research areas focus on family involvement in education, with a particular emphasis on children learning to read and how families can contribute to children’s interest in reading, motivation to read, and reading ability. She is predominantly interested in the actions of both families and schools in improving literacy rates through school-family partnerships. Orla focuses on presenting her research findings at education conferences, publishing in education journals, and ensuring that the implications of her findings are fed back to the families and schools in which she researches by regularly presenting to parent bodies and school educators.

  • Colgate, O., Ginns, P., & Bagnall, N. (2017). The role of invitations to parents in the completion of a child’s home reading challenge. Educational Psychology, 31(1), 298-311.
  • Colgate, O., Ginns, P. (2017). Nudging parents as literacy partners. Teacher Magazine.
  • Colgate, O., & Ginns, P. (2016). The effects of social norms on parents’ reading behaviour at home with their child. Educational Psychology, 36(5), 1009-1023.
  • Colgate, O., & Ginns, P. (2016). The effect of peer influence on parents’ reading behaviour at home with their child. Harvard Family Research Project, Research Digest.

Orla’s teaching philosophy centres around the opportunity for students to purposefully practice what has been taught in the class. Orla provides coaching and on-going, specific feedback, to students to help them understand where they can grow in their knowledge and skill. Orla’s teaching also requires students leaving their comfort zone and pushing themselves beyond what is comfortable and familiar, in order to advance in their learning. In her classes she teaches concepts and frameworks that ask students to think differently and change their view of research. She uses a variety of teaching techniques to facilitate learning in her classes, including small group work, the use of i-clickers, and provides lots of opportunities for feedback for verification of learning.

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