Photo of Arlene McVeigh

Alumni profile

Arlene McVeigh

PME in Primary Education



St Mary’s Parish Primary School


BA in History and Sociology


Vere Foster Outstanding Performance in School Experience

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

From an early age I had a passion to become a primary school teacher. I have always dreamed of having my own print rich classroom, filled with happy faces were all the children are immersed in learning. Job satisfaction is important to me; I want to make a difference. I want to be working and helping young children to improve their chance at life.

I chose Hibernia College as the idea that I could study in my own time and anywhere within Ireland was very appealing. As I was returning to education after a few years, I felt this was the course that I could fit into my lifestyle without having to change my life at all. I do not regret my decision and would advise people to study with Hibernia College.

What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?

Before I started my PME, in 2011 I graduated from The National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology. After graduating in 2011, I joined the cast of Rhythm of the Dance where I became the principal female lead. Shortly after this, I joined the cast of Riverdance. I have toured extensively throughout North America, Canada, Australia, China, Israel, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom. I have danced at The Kremlin Palace and Crocus Hall in Moscow to audiences of 7000 people and at the Great Hall of the People in China to 10,000 people. I have also performed alongside Dolly Parton in Dollywood Tennessee and at the New Orleans Casino in Las Vegas. I performed for the closing ceremony of the European Games in Azerbaijan. I took part in various programmes on National and International television, most notably, BBC’s ‘The Tudors’.

Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?

Stemming from my background and huge interest in dance my research project explored primary school teachers’ perceptions of dance education in the Irish primary school. Dance education is given an integral role across the curriculums of the world. Dance differs from other aspects of the physical education programme as its primary concerns are with the expressive quality of movement, the enjoyment and appreciation of the aesthetic and artistic qualities of movement. The study of dance within the Irish primary school is seen as part of Arts education were dance is given its place within the countries’ Physical Education (P.E.) curriculum.

Teachers reported a positive attitude towards the benefits and values of dance education. However, implementation of dance within the P.E. curriculum by teachers have been hampered by various barriers including lack of ability, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, lack of training and curriculum overload. A pathway for development was proposed where teachers can be supported to effectively teach dance. The lack of knowledge and confidence towards dance education was the inspiration for my research project.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

As a newly qualified teacher, I am eager to continue on my journey of learning and discovery in the classroom and I will bring with me my passion and enthusiasm to potential teaching posts. During my time completing each teaching practice placement, I was enabled to develop my skills and creativity as a teacher and build a good working relationship with the staff and children in various school Since graduating I have secured a position in 6th class which I am thoroughly enjoying. I am still eager to learn and I am always willing to keep developing my practice and learn from the other members of staff. The importance of recognizing the uniqueness of each individual child and the varying abilities of each child is of great importance to me and I am very passionate about the holistic development of children. In my future teaching, I will bring forward all the different strategies and techniques for a healthy inclusive print rich environment for all the children to be immersed in; ultimately making me the best educator I can be for each individual child.

What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?

If you have a passion and are eager to become a teacher, I would recommend starting a PME course. Teaching is an enjoyable career where no two days are the same.  It is a rewarding profession in that you feel satisfaction, ensuring that a child centred active learning environment is established, where the children develop both academic and life-long social skills. As an educator, your role expands beyond the limitations of any curriculum working alongside each student to enable and help them to reach their full potential.

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