The quality and equality of personal and professional development in teacher-artist partnerships

Published: Dec 28, 2023
TAP equal partnership case study personal development professional development
Vera McGrarth

Partnership implies equality. However, while earlier iterations of Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) failed to acknowledge teacher professionalism in their structure and implementation, more recent TAP evaluations tend to focus exclusively on teacher professional development. There is little in the way of documented evidence of artists’ development in TAP, let alone efforts to describe it. Case studies of two Irish I-TAP-PD residencies are presented below to illuminate the nature of the learning both professionals experienced through the I-TAP-PD process. The premise is to generate dialogue about the quality and equality of learning in TAP for both artists and teachers and prompt further research into this important area of enquiry. The case studies indicate that ongoing dialogue and practice between partners of equal status are key in generating real insight into children’s learning through the arts. And such insights have much to contribute to evolving TAP practices for the betterment of our arts-in-education provision for children in our schools.

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Author Biography
Vera McGrarth, visual artist, freelance researcher, former primary teacher

Vera McGrath is qualified as a primary teacher who attended the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin part-time. In 2001, she left teaching to work full-time as an artist. In 2006, she undertook a half-time teaching post in Special Education while continuing in art. Returning to NCAD, she was awarded an MA in Visual Art Education (2011). Vera has been active in teacher Professional Development (PD) for 15 years and she was one of the original cohort who piloted TAP in Ireland (2014). She remains a core member of the TAP development team, presenting at conferences and facilitating training. In 2018, she wrote a research report for Dublin City Arts Office on the impact of artists-in-residencies on Early Childhood education and trained as a Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator. Retired from teaching, she has returned to her art practice and works as a TAP artist in schools.

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