"And the beat goes on................................"
Introduction to the Arts Education Blog Forum
Paul Ammon, Professor, UC-Berkeley, CA
Arnie Aprill, Founder and Creative Director, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Chicago, IL
Eric Engdahl, California State University-East Bay
Nick Jaffe, Teaching Artist / Musician, Chicago, IL
Sabrina Klein, Executive Director, Teaching Artists Organized, Oakland, CA
Bob Lenz, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Envision Schools, Oakland, CA
Jessica Mele, Executive Director, Performing Arts Workshop, San Francisco, CA
Louise Music, Arts Learning Manager, Alameda County Office of Education, Hayward, CA
Ruth Nott, Director of Education, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco CA
Chike C. Nwoffiah – Director, Oriki Theater, Mountain View, CA
Nick Rabkin, Teaching Artist Research Project, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, Chicago IL
Eugene Rodriquez, Executive Director, Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center, San Pablo, CA
Ben Sanders, California Education Partners/CORE, San Francisco, CA
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education; new Dean of Mannes School of Music, The New School, New York, NY
Joe Landon, Policy Director/Executive Director-designate, California Alliance for Arts Education, Davis, CA
Pedro Noguera, Professor of Teaching and Learning, NYU, New York, NY
Paul Richman, Executive Director, California State PTA, Sacramento CA
Laura Zucker, Executive Director, LA County Arts Commission, Los Angeles, CA
Janet Brown, Executive Director, Grantmakers in the Arts, Seattle, WA.
Cyrus Driver, Program Learning and Innovation, Ford Foundation, New York, NY
Bob Lynch, Presidednt and CEO, Americans for the Arts, Washington DC
Narric Rome, Senior Director for Federal Affairs and Arts Education, Americans for the Arts
Laurie Schell, outgoing Executive Director, California Alliance for Arts Education
Laurie Lock, Senior Director of Programs and Policy, VH1 Save the Music
Sandra Ruppert, Executive Director, Arts Education Partnership, Washington, DC
Chris Shearer, Education Program Officer, Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA
Larry Scripp, Director, Center for Music-in-Education
Question #2: (Tuesday, July 26th): Where do we stand with higher academia in their participation in moving forward arts education?
Question #3: (Wednesday, July 27th): What is the role of artists and arts organizations in the wider arts education paradigm?
Question #2: (Tuesday, August 2nd): How is the field addressing barriers to arts education beyond budget decreases – the need for relevant assessment and accountability methods, lack of equity and access, high turnover of education and arts leadership, the unspoken territorial divide between arts education people and the general nonprofit arts sector, and the history of the arts education segment’s ability to organize itself? How do we get to innovation in the field?
Question #2: (Tuesday, August 9th): Many contend that arts education advocacy has largely been a failure. Others disagree. Where are the successes? Where will funding come from in the future to implement policy?
Question #2: (Tuesday, August 16th ): We have argued for a long time that the arts teach the necessary 21st Century skills our students will need to be globally competitive, - that deeper learning in the arts delivers the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace, but what research or data to we have to back up those claims? In what ways can we demonstrate and verify that it does prepare our kids for the future? Along the same lines, what areas of research do we need to shore up?
We hope that both these initial questions and the initial responses to them each week will spur dialogue and discussion that will drill deeper into these and other issues. We’ve invited and encouraged all our responders to follow along over the course of each week and comment and post their own reactions and conclusions to what is being said after the initial responders have weighed in. Julie and I may have, from time to time, some follow up questions as well. All readers are encouraged to enter their own comments and observations at any time to whatever is said by clicking the “comment” line at the end of each blog.
I would like to thank all of those who agreed to participate in this forum. While no group of participants could ever be definitive, nonetheless this assembled group includes some very accomplished and critical thinkers, and we hope that others will join in the discussion from across the country and throughout the field over the next few weeks. I am especially (and deeply) indebted to Julie Fry for all her extraordinary help in putting this Forum together. Her insights, knowledge, extensive networks and passion for the arena were critical in bringing this idea to reality. I simply could not have done it without her help .
I should clarify that my comments here represent only my own views as a musician, teaching artist and curriculum designer, and certainly not those of the Teaching Artist Journal of which I am Chief Editor. Along with a great team of editors, I work hard, to make the journal a genuinely inclusive forum for the work and thought of TA’s of all kinds, regardless of the philosophy or methodology they espouse or the organizations with which they are affiliated. We feel strongly that TAJ belongs to the whole field and to all teaching artists everywhere.
-Both the TA and teacher are personally interested in exploring the connections between their disciplines, and both have time and space to find real, and interesting points of intersection.
Using their knowledge of scale, proportions, and the grid process, students first enlarged a photograph of themselves on a 14 x 17 inch sheet of Bristol paper. The second part of this large-scale portrait included a personal symbol, created in the first quarter of visual art, and a color scheme that reflects a metaphor about who they are. The final part of this exhibition piece was an artist statement. In this statement, students connected their personal symbol, literature read in language arts, short stories written in their language arts class, and their color scheme to who they are socially, potentially, metaphorically, and creatively. Students presented their work and read their statements to a live audience of parents and other adults in an evening exhibition. This is the first project that all students in Envision Schools complete.
The Alameda County Office of Education’s Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership has developed expertise in demonstrating the effectiveness of arts integration through more than a decade’s worth of experience working with strong partners in higher education, the arts community, school districts and multiple growing networks of schools. In this time, 38 Arts Learning Anchor Schools in Oakland, Berkeley and Emery School districts have successfully integrated the arts to improve student success across all content areas. These K-12 schools vary widely –small / large, elementary / secondary—and all are committed to arts learning for their students, arts integration and professional development for their teachers, and community-building through effective partnerships with community arts providers.
The arts, by themselves, are not a silver bullet. They are an essential, and currently largely missing, component of a quality public education that fully engages students, and provides multiple entry points and means for expression according to student interests, strengths and learning styles. Teachers in all content areas need to build confidence and skills in teaching and integrating the arts.
Effective arts integration is designed to connect with and build upon student interest and prior knowledge, and is intentionally integrated with, and aimed at, important learning goals across the curriculum. What’s important to understand is that effective arts-integration promotes learning across all areas of curriculum which includes teaching the discrete arts discipline where students learn methods and techniques through active practice. Integrating the arts with other subject areas also provides clarity about disciplinary learning goals in both content areas and creates opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in new and original work through artistic application.
Instructional Thinking Frames for the Real Benefits of the Arts in Schools
Using the Studio Habits of Mind allows teachers to design intentional arts integrated instruction that creates multiple opportunities for students to develop subject matter understanding by applying their knowledge in original work: drawings, dramatizations, videos, sculptures and dioramas, etc.
Across the country, students and teachers in arts classrooms in Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Berwyn Illinois, Los Angeles and the northern California region are working with networks of schools and school districts are using this vocabulary to provide a fuller picture of students as learners. There is a transition underway from Studio Habits of Mind to Student Habits - as these habits map onto the 21st century workforce skills students will need for success in their futures. In Arts Learning
Anchor Schools in Alameda County, arts teachers, teaching artists and their students use the Studio Habits of Mind and Teaching for Understanding thinking frames to focus and deepen their arts integrated instruction, and to combine the use of those thinking frames with techniques from Project Zero’s’ Making Learning Visible project to document student work and classroom practice, reflect, revise and improve.
Across a four-year period, overall graduation rates for students in Arts Learning Anchor Schools were significantly higher than for students in the general population in Emery, Berkeley and Oakland school districts (92% for Arts Learning Anchor Schools, compared to 69%). The difference is most profound for African American students; in 2006, 94% of African American students in Arts Learning Anchor schools graduated, compared to 64% of their peers in non- Arts Learning Anchor Schools.
Arts instruction that is intentionally integrated with, and aimed at, other important learning goals can, and is, eliminating the racial predictability of success in school. In year two of a three year US department of Education funded project in San Leandro Unified School District, 82% of teachers reported increased ability to differentiate instruction; and 92% percent of teachers reported that the project presented opportunities to create and implement culturally responsive teaching strategies. District Superintendent, Cindy Cathey, reflects that while administrators and teachers had engaged national experts, and embraced the notion of squarely addressing issues of racism, it was only when the arts were intentionally integrated to build on the strengths and assets of every child, that the district began to see the improved student outcomes they were looking for. Click here: http://www.vimeo.com/acoe/tarislihttp://www.vimeo.com/acoe/tarisli
Arts Integration provides tools for teacher effectiveness and builds reflective, professional learning communities:
The Alameda County Office of Education has formalized a decades’ worth of experience, with growing networks of schools and districts in arts learning and arts integration, into a regional Teacher Action Research Institute, and an Arts Integration Specialist Program where arts teachers, teaching artists, multiple subject, and single subject non-arts teachers are building the capacity to lead school-site based professional learning communities through the use of research based, analytical thinking frames for curriculum design and assessment, collaboration, and teacher action research. As a regional lead in the CCSESA (California County Superintendents of Education Services Association) Arts Learning Initiative, this is a model for regionally developing communiteis of educatorsm, artists and universities that can respond to the ongoing, ever-changing learning needs of California's students. http://www.artiseducation.org/teaching-learning_palette-of-possibilities
We are at a critical time in public education, where educators are acknowledging the failure of the No Child Left Behind policies and accountability systems. We need new ways to assess how well our schools are educating our children, not by counting and sorting who has succeeded and who has failed, but by providing both ongoing and summative assessments so that teachers can revise their instruction according to student misunderstandings, and so that educators can provide students with useful information and next steps about how to improve and achieve. The arts and arts integration are essential to finding new and responsive ways to address the instructional and assessment needs of students and communities in our large and diverse state.
When the most daunting and urgent of educational challenges is the count of students who either drop out or graduate unprepared for college and the 21st century workforce, we must ask ourselves which strategies will actually support educators in addressing the problem at hand. Educators make a mistake when they privilege teaching standards, over teaching students. In thinking about the value of arts in public education and the role they play in the new Common Core standards, an important, fundamental question should also be raised, “what are the Common Core Standards good for?”
As leaders in education, we are challenged to move out of our silos and to respond as a collective field to make good on the promise of a high quality education for every child, in every school, every day. We must ask ourselves how we can work together to apply what we know about the essential role the arts must play in a high quality education that engages students purposefully in school today, and prepares them with the knowledge, skills, enthusiasm and abilities to be successful in career, college, community and citizenship.
Our Unified Voice and a Collective Call to Action
Ben Sanders / (Center for Education Policy/CORE)
The arguments against arts integration, such as they are, seem to me mostly practical. The main culprits are a) a perceived lack of time in the school day (available to adequately address the “core” subjects of ELA, Math, Science and History), b) dire budgetary pressures which take their toll first on so called non-core areas like the arts—resulting, for example, in slashing arts programs and school-based arts specialist positions, c) a lack of what we might call arts-related “pedagogical content knowledge and expertise” on the part of regular classroom teachers as to how to fully integrate the arts, and d) a general lack of awareness and/or understanding of the central role that the arts can play in increasing overall achievement.
Check back as additional participant comments are added. Tomorrow will post question # 2.