1 Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q The Qualities of Quality Understanding Excellence in Arts Education Shari Tishman | Ellen Winner | Lois Hetland | Patricia Palmer Steve Seidel |
3 The Qualities of Quality Understanding Excellence in Arts Education Q Q Q Q Lois Hetland Steve Seidel Patricia Palmer | | Ellen Winner | Shari Tishman | Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and with additional support from the Arts Education Partnership Project Zero Harvard Graduate School of Education 124 Mount Auburn Street, 5th Floor Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
5 I A CLARION CALL SHOULD GO OUT TO ALL who commitment to shape comparable quality experiences for care about teaching the arts to read this remarkable students. And from their personal experiences they know report. It is a stunning and groundbreaking exploration that quality is a constant and persistent quest and not an into the complex factors, actors, and settings that must be end game, a quest for ever richer personal experiences, aligned to achieve quality in arts education. for higher perfection in the art works they make, and for I read with awe and gratitude the researchers’ a deeper understanding of the qualities in their own art extraordinarily comprehensive, generous, and balanced and that of others. embrace of the array of theories, debates, and opinions How do those “outside the room” – administrators, about quality that abound in the fi eld of arts education, policy makers, theorists, researchers – contribute to giving each the honor of respect and asking that their creating the opportunities for such learning to occur? This proponents join a common quest that makes quality report urges them to derive their views, decisions, and experiences of learners the central goal and ultimate, actions from frequent and active discussions with those though surely not the lone, criterion of success. working “in the room” so that all parties determine how Steve Seidel, who led this Harvard Project Zero the quality of the conditions for learning time, materials, research effort, used routine examples with audiences in personnel and resources, are consonant with the aim of the early phases of the study to indicate the distinction quality experiences of learning. between encounters with a work of art that is itself of the Reading the report is being in the presence of a highest quality and a quality experience of that work. For community of learners who have labored with openness instance, a master chef has prepared an exquisite meal nd in their research data – and generosity of spirit to fi and invited a group of friends to share it at her restaurant gathered by literature reviews, expert interviews, and site on a lovely summer evening. Unfortunately the air visits – the fundamental questions, concepts, themes, and conditioning isn’t working at the restaurant, the waiters conditions that defi ne and make quality possible. They are surly, and two of the friends have had a nasty argument distill their conversations into beautiful and clear prose on the way to the restaurant that dominates the dinner in the central chapters of Parts I and II and into the set of conversation. The meal itself is of the highest quality but “tools” in Part III to help others gather similar data and the experiences of the diners are not. have the same conversations. Seidel and his team focused their energies on Indeed they frequently and modestly invite readers exploring this second dimension of quality: that of the to consider this report a conversation starter that they learners experiencing the arts in an educational setting. hope will engage and assist others in the quest for the They give priority to the understandings of quality thoughts and actions that will create more and deeper arts expressed by those educators “in the room” where the learning experiences for those “in and out of the room.” learning experience occurs. What do the teachers and This report itself is of the highest quality and it is a artists believe constitute the qualities of arts learning? quality experience to read it. Why do they believe it important that students experience Richard J. Deasy those qualities? What outcomes of the experiences do Arts Education Partnership Former Director, they deem most important? No single answer emerges from these questions, The Richard J. Deasy Award for Arts and Education was but the researchers found central features of the visions, recently established to honor Mr. Deasy’s career for its values, and purposes expressed by those directly engaged in contributions to the arts in education. The award will be given teaching and learning that they consider the touchstones annually to an outstanding arts educator by the National of quality. Those visions, values, and purposes were shaped Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, by the personal experiences of the artists and teachers in the Council of Chief State School Offi cers, and the National learning and practicing an art. They have a passion and Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
7 III Executive Summary Executive Summary MANY CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES have variety of contexts and art forms, nominated candidates little or no opportunity for formal arts instruction, and ndings and offers in each area. This report presents our fi access to arts learning experiences remains a critical a set of tools to help arts educators and their associates quality of arts national challenge. In addition, the ect on and discuss the character of high quality arts refl learning opportunities that are available to young learning and teaching in their own settings. people is a serious concern. Understanding this second Some of the major themes and fi ndings of the study challenge – the challenge of creating and sustaining high include the following: quality formal arts learning experiences for K-12 youth, The drive for quality is personal, passionate, and inside and outside of school – is the focus of our recent persistent. For most of the people surveyed in this study, The Qualities of Quality: Understanding research initiative, ideas about what constitutes quality in arts education Excellence in Arts Education , commissioned by The are inextricably tied to their values and to fundamental Wallace Foundation and conducted by Project Zero at issues of identity and meaning. Though people differ the Harvard Graduate School of Education. in their specifi c visions and concerns, a commonality The study focuses on the character of excellence among almost all with whom we spoke is that the drive itself and asks three core questions: for quality is persistent and far-reaching. This drive is ever-present in all aspects of their educational work (1) How do arts educators in the United States – includ- and shapes their goals for young people. For example, ing leading practitioners, theorists, and administrators most educators we interviewed wanted young people to – conceive of and defi ne high quality arts learning and with have experience quality – with excellent materials, teaching? outstanding works of art, passionate and accomplished (2) What markers of excellence do educators and admin- artist-teachers modeling their artistic processes – and istrators look for in the actual activities of arts learning experiences of quality – powerful group interactions and and teaching as they unfold in the classroom? ensemble work, performances that make them feel proud, rewarding practice sessions, technical excellence, and (3) How do a program’s foundational decisions, as well successful expressivity. as its ongoing day-to-day decisions, affect the pursuit and Quality arts education serves multiple purposes achievement of quality? The question of what constitutes high simultaneously. These questions were investigated through quality arts education is deeply linked to the question of three strands of research: Interviews with leading arts why we should be teaching the arts. It is not surprising practitioners, theorists and administrators; site visits to that when arts educators talk about excellence they also exemplary arts programs across a range of settings; and express ideas about the fundamental purposes of arts a review of published literature. Sources in each of these education – ideas about what students ought to learn areas were selected through an extensive nomination through the arts and why these outcomes are important. process in which several hundred arts educators and Our informants mentioned many purposes, and most of administrators across the country, working in a wide them cluster into a handful of broad areas. For example,
8 IV Executive Summary many arts educators believe that one of the important elements such as the physical space of the classroom, the purposes of arts education is to foster broad dispositions and materials and physical resources available, and the kind of habits of mind, especially the capacity to think creatively , time students are given – hours as well as years – to engage and the capacity to make connections. Many also believe in arts learning. that arts education should help students develop aesthetic Foundational decisions matter. Foundational, awareness and visual observation skills and provide venues ning decisions that give a program its program-defi for self-expression and self-exploration. It is notable that identity and provide the parameters within which quality most of the people with whom we spoke believe that good is pursued. These decisions include (1) Who teaches the arts programs tend to serve several purposes simultaneously. What is taught and (3) arts? (2) Where are the arts taught? Though arts programs differ widely in their contexts, goals, how? and (4) How is arts learning assessed? Scholars have art forms, and constituencies, a hallmark sign of high written extensively about these decisions, and they often quality arts learning in any program is that the learning take sharply opposing positions. In practice, however, experiences are rich and complex for all learners, engaging the ways in which high quality programs answer these them on many levels and helping them learn and grow in questions tend to be nuanced and contextualized, often a variety of ways. embodying high principles and pragmatic concerns at the Quality reveals itself “in the room” through four same time. When you ask arts educators what they different lenses. Decisions and decision makers at all levels affect take to be the signs of high quality arts education, they quality. Many decision makers play a critical role in the are as likely to point to features of the experience in the quality of arts learning experiences. These include people setting itself as they are to broad purposes and outcomes. quite distant from the classroom (e.g., administrators, These experiential elements are what you would expect to funders, policy makers), those just outside the room observe or infer if you opened the door onto a classroom, – notably program staff and parents, and those who are studio, or rehearsal hall and looked for markers of quality. “in the room” (students, teachers, artists). Decisions There are multiple kinds of markers, and one way made by those “in the room” have tremendous power to to look for them is to examine the experience through support as well as undermine the quality of the learning learning, pedagogy, four different but overlapping lenses: experience. This is especially true of students, and it is environment and . These lenses all community dynamics, important for students to be as aware as possible of the focus on the same experience, but each one brings a potential impact of their choices on their own and others’ different dimension into view. The lens focuses learning learning experiences. This may seem obvious, but the role on what students are actually doing in the classroom – the of student choice is often overlooked in discussions of kinds of projects and tasks in which they are involved quality, and it invites greater attention. pedagogy lens and the character of their engagement. The Refl ection and dialogue is important at all levels. focuses on how teachers conceive of and practice their craft ndings of An overarching theme across many of the fi – how they conceptualize the teacher-student relationship, ection and discussion this study is that continuous refl and how they design and implement instruction. The about what constitutes quality and how to achieve it is lens reveals the nature of the social community dynamics of quality. quality but also a sign not only a catalyst for relationships in the classroom, including relationships In other words, thinking deeply about quality – talking among the students themselves, between students and about it, worrying about it, continually revisiting ideas teachers, and among the teachers and other adults who about its characteristics and its indicators – is essential environment lens focuses on concrete are present. The both to the pursuit of excellence in arts education and
9 V Executive Summary to its achievement. Another overarching theme is that a misalignment of ideas among decision-makers about what constitutes quality often complicates a program’s pursuit of quality. Alignment is easy to ignore, and achieving alignment among decision-makers at all levels often requires far more basic investigation, dialogue, and negotiation than is given. In what follows, we offer several tools to help de- cision makers address the twin challenges of refl ection and alignment. The tools are designed to be used by in- dividuals or by groups in workshops or other collegial set- tings. Their purpose is to help arts educators and their associates build and clarify their visions of high quality arts education, identify elements of quality in their own programs, refl ect on the relationship between quality and a program’s foundational decisions, seek alignment be- tween a program’s beliefs about quality and its practices, and seek alignment across decision makers at all levels who help to shape a program’s pursuit of quality. Q
11 VII Acknowledgements We thank The Wallace Foundation for Mark Borchelt, were generous advisors. We thank Luna commissioning this study and for their recognition of the Kids Dance in Oakland, CA for opening their resource importance of the issue of quality in arts education. library to us. This has been a complex study and many people All of our colleagues at Project Zero inspire us. have provided insight, support, critique, expertise, and For their help on this project, we thank Veronica Boix- perspective. Hundreds of people were interviewed and Mansilla, Howard Gardner, Stephanie Kacoyanis, David observed in the course of this study. We are tremendously Perkins, Cindy Quense, Damari Rosado, Denise Simon, grateful to all of them. Their honesty, integrity, wisdom, Tom Trapnell, Terri Turner, and Daniel Wilson. and generosity were inspiring. A list of all of the sites we We thank Bob Fogel, Jack Jennings, and Helen Page visited and the people we interviewed in our interview at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for their strand appears in the appendix of the report. We are wise counsel at key moments in this process. unable to list the names of everyone we interviewed at Along with many of the people listed above, Barbara the sites – students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Andrews and Elisa Callow provided extensive feedback many more – but we are indebted to all who took the time on drafts of this report and we are grateful for their to sit and talk with us about quality in arts education. insights. Fernando Hernández and Myran Parker-Brass In addition, many people responded to our call for provided generous counsel early in the development of nominations of programs, experts, and literature, and the project. Sarah Cunningham and Jane Polin provided over 120 sites applied to be part of the study. We thank all important support along the way. Cyrus Driver of The those who took our call for nominations and applications Ford Foundation was also especially helpful at key points so seriously. in this work. Amy Baione and Jen Ryan were invaluable research We have had the opportunity to present reports on assistants on the project and dedicated members of the this work at a number of conferences and symposia. We core research team. Our team also included wonderful thank the organizers of all of those events and the many students in or associated with the Arts in Education people who spoke with us during and after those sessions, program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: sharing their perspectives on the design and progress of Megan Brown, Edward Clapp, Marit Dewhurst, Regan our study and directly on the question of quality in arts Doody, Martina Hinojosa, Shira Katz, Dorothea Lasky, education. Marguerite Nicoll, Barbara Palley, Ashley Rybowiak, We thank Andrea Tishman for her design of this Rachel Schiller, and Anna Tirovalas. report. Kimberly Sheridan, assistant Professor in We are deeply grateful to Dick Deasy and Sandra Educational Psychology and Art Education at George Ruppert of the Arts Education Partnership for their faith, Mason University, was an invaluable member of the counsel, and support for this work. literature review research team. We thank Dr. Dan Serig and Rachel Nelson, from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, who also contributed to the literature review. In addition, Paddy Bowman, Tina Curran, and
13 Contents Executive Summary III Acknowledgements VII Introduction 5 11 Part I: Envisioning and Experiencing Quality Chapter 1: Visions of Quality 13 13 A Compass for Decision Making 13 A Healthy Obsession with Quality “Healthy” Obsessions? 14 Internal Monologues and Collective Dialogue 14 Continuous Examination of What Constitutes Quality 15 Subjectivity and Consensus 15 Quality-Driven and Mission-Driven 16 Chapter 2: The Multiple Purposes of Arts Education 17 17 A Focus on Learning Purposes 18 Who and What these Seven Categories Represent 18 Seven Broad Purposes of Arts Education 1. Arts education should foster broad dispositions and skills, especially 18 the capacity to think creatively and the capacity to make connections. 2. Arts education should teach artistic skills and techniques without making these primary. 20 3. Arts education should develop aesthetic awareness. 21 4. Arts practices should provide ways of pursuing understanding of the world. 23 5. Arts education should provide a way for students to engage with 24 community, civic, and social issues. 6. Arts education should provide a venue for students to express themselves. 25 26 7. Arts education should help students develop as individuals. Multiple Purposes of Arts Education: Revisiting the 27 Relationship Between Purposes and Quality Chapter 3: The Elements of Quality Arts Learning as Seen 29 Through Four Lenses The Lens of Student Learning 30 The Lens of Pedagogy 34 38 The Lens of Community Dynamics The Lens of Environment 42 45 The Elements as Evidence of Quality
14 47 PART II: Achieving and Sustaining Quality 49 Chapter 4: Foundational Questions No Guarantees of Quality 49 Foundational Issues in the Literature 50 Who Should Teach the Arts? 50 Where Should the Arts be Taught? 53 55 What Should be Taught and How? 56 How Should Arts Learning be Assessed? The Foundational Questions: Implications for Quality 59 Chapter 5: Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Making 61 Decision Makers 61 Decisions 64 Organizational/Programmatic Sets of Decisions 65 66 Teaching and Learning – In the “Room/Space” and in the Moment Decision Making 67 PART III: Quality in Practice 71 Chapter 6: Tools for Achieving and Sustaining in Arts Education 73 Quality The Learning Purposes of Arts Education: 73 A Tool for Refl ecting on Visions and Actions Four Lenses on Quality: A tool for identifying 77 c elements of quality in an arts learning setting specifi Examining the Base: A tool for identifying and ecting on program-defi refl ning decisions 80 Three Circles: A tool for analyzing alignment and misalignment among decision makers 83 85 Chapter 7: Implications of This Study Toward and Experience Perspective 85 Implications for Particular Audiences 85 87 Promising Areas for Further Research Concluding Thoughts 88
15 89 Appendices 89 Appendix A: Methodology 90 The Broad Scope of the Study Research Questions 90 The Three Research Strands 91 92 Activities of the Three Research Strands Cross-Strand Integration 95 97 Appendix B: Interview Strand Interviewees 99 Appendix C: Case Study Selected Sites Appendix D: Research Protocols 105 Appendix E: References 109
17 5 Introduction Introduction Quality: 1. An inherent feature; a characteristic. of profound challenges. Yet the very nature of the arts 2. A judgment of excellence; a feature of value. – in particular, the way that striving for quality is at the core of artistry – may actually suggest that arts education deeply about excellence in FOR THOSE WHO CARE is a fertile place to explore the meaning of quality in education, the pursuit of quality is as enigmatic as it is education more generally. essential. At their best, educational programs are complex: The title of this study is “The Qualities of Quality: They involve dynamic relationships among people, among Understanding Excellence in Arts Education.” As the communities, and among bodies of knowledge. Quality is title suggests, the word “quality” has a double meaning. often a moving target – what counts as high quality in one On the one hand, a quality is a characteristic or feature context or at a particular moment in time may seem quite of something. On the other, quality suggests excellence. inadequate at another time or place – and identifying This double meaning provides the contours of the the signs of quality can be challenging, especially in an research described in this report: Through interviews, case enterprise as complex and context-specifi c as teaching studies, and literature reviews, the Project Zero research and learning. At what – and where – should we look? team tried to discern how many U.S. arts educators in ect the quality of an education? An arts Do test scores refl 2006-2007 were thinking about and trying to achieve the education? Is the measure of quality in arts education in characteristics of excellence – the “qualities of quality” the works of art produced by students? In the processes – in arts teaching and learning. The following chart by which those works were produced? In an amalgam of identifi es our major research questions and summarizes process and product? Conceptualizing excellence in arts what we did to pursue them. A detailed description of our education, let alone achieving and sustaining it, is full research activities is provided in Appendix A. The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education 1. How do arts educators in the United States – including leading practitioners, theorists, and ne high quality arts learning and teaching? administrators – conceive of and defi 3 Broad Research 2. What markers of excellence do educators and administrators look for in the actual activities Questions of art learning and teaching as they unfold in the classroom? 3. How does a program’s foundational decisions, as well as its ongoing day-to-day decisions, affect the pursuit and achievement of quality? Ages: Grades K-12. Locations: In school and out of school; urban, suburban, and rural sites. Scope of Research Art Forms: Dance, music, theater, visual arts, and some emerging forms, such as spoken word. Literature review. Three Research Strands Interviews with 16 recognized theorists and practitioners in the fi eld. Site visits to 12 notable programs yielding interviews with over 250 people. Nomination Process for Nominations solicited by email from several hundred arts education professionals in a Each Research Strand wide range of roles across the United States.
18 6 Introduction Why study quality in arts education now? of providing arts learning opportunities. Increasingly, this activity occurs outside of school walls and beyond the Access and excellence limits of the school day. The infrastructure for in-school arts learning op- Of course, both in and out of schools, most arts portunities in the U.S. has been seriously weakened over educators and their collaborators struggle for funding to the past century. This trend toward devaluing the arts survive, let alone thrive. Nevertheless, a close look at the as a core element in the curriculum appeared to reverse eld reveals that important ideas about what constitutes fi with the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (One Hundred excellence in arts education are embedded in efforts to Third Congress of the United States, 1994). Goals 2000 secure existence and provide access. In this study, we forged a beachhead for the arts by establishing arts as re- sought to uncover these tacit views. quired subjects. As a result, the National Standards for 25 Years of Work on the Challenge of Quality Arts Education (Consortium of National Arts Education The challenges of access and excellence in Associations, 1994) were developed, laying out what ev- arts education are hardly new; neither is the fi eld’s ery student should know in the visual arts, music, theater, awareness of them. Signifi cant efforts have been made and dance. Largely because of this achievement, the arts for decades through research, theoretical debates, and, were included as a core subject in the ensuing No Child most importantly, through innovations in practice Left Behind Act (US Department of Education, 2001). (see, for example, Performing Arts Workshop, 2006). However, despite inclusion of arts in this law as part of Since the crippling legacy of Sputnik on arts education the core curriculum, the No Child Left Behind Act has became clear in the 1960s, there have been waves of not strengthened arts education. With its focus on the innovation, including the artist-in-residence movement, “basics” of literacy and numeracy and the pressure for stu- arts integrated curricula, and the creation of countless dents to demonstrate competency through standardized organizations outside the schools devoted to providing tests in mathematics and English, many districts have arts learning experiences to young people. continued the trend toward reduction or even elimina- Throughout the many other developments of the tion of arts offerings. past fi fty years, efforts to address the challenges of achiev- uent communities, For children in economically affl ing both access and quality in arts education have been opportunities to study the arts throughout their K-12 on-going. The past 25 years, coinciding with the era of years generally remain available both in- and out-of- broad school reform efforts intiated by the publication of school and are often of high quality. These students see in 1983, have been especially rich in A Nation at Risk art in museums, theaters, and concert halls and often wide-reaching efforts to address the question of how to have the chance to study with serious and accomplished achieve and sustain quality arts education, even as creat- art teachers and artists. But for students living in or near ing access has become seriously challenging. poverty, access to formal arts learning experiences is The school reform movement heralded unprec- nearly absent. edented efforts to address the issue of quality across all Our research has revealed that the fi eld of arts academic areas. National, state, and local initiatives to education has great vitality. Many arts educators and establish high standards in the core academic areas, as their collaborators care deeply about the lives of our well as curriculum frameworks that clarify what should young citizens, with special concern for those most often cant efforts to be taught at each grade level, were signifi denied access to excellent arts education. They work with insure that all children receive serious instruction across intense commitment to provide access to quality arts the curriculum and at every level. While the arts were learning for all. A close look at the fi eld reveals exciting only sometimes included in these initiatives, arts educa- activity, some of it familiar and some quite innovative. tors have lobbied for the arts as core curriculum and have As resources for in-school arts education diminish, established standards and frameworks for arts education. enterprising arts educators have sought alternative ways
19 7 Introduction At the same time, during these past 25 years, arts literature on arts education. We discuss some of this educators have been active in initiating reforms and in- literature throughout the forthcoming chapters, and focus novations in the assessment of student learning, program cally on these foundational questions in Chapter 4. specifi evaluation, and professional development. Each of these As we reveal, the conceptual, even philosophical, nature areas was seen as a locus for leverage on the issue of qual- of these questions points to both the variety of answers ity. Assessment of student learning has remained quite offered and the passion with which they have been authentic in relation to long-standing practices in the debated. And they will almost certainly continue to be arts, with the use of portfolios, critiques, and performance debated. These questions confront not only scholars and assessments (Council of Arts Accrediting Organizations, researchers, but are actively engaged by policy makers 2007). Similarly, there have been extensive efforts to re- and practitioners at every level, and across a wide variety consider the terms and mechanisms through which to of settings and contexts. judge the quality and effectiveness of a particular arts Yet the Challenge of Quality Persists education program. As with the assessment of student What actually takes place in arts programs – in or learning, program evaluation poses profound questions out of school – despite the presence of countless excellent about how and when the results or outcomes of a par- teachers and programs, is all too often uninspired. Woefully ticular learning experience can be perceived, let alone inadequate materials, inauthentic tasks (coloring book- eld have not grappled with this measured. Few in the fi style worksheets; cut-out pumpkins, and other “seasonal” challenge in the last 25 years; virtually every program has activities for the windows of the classroom or the halls of nd appropriate, authentic, and responsive struggled to fi the school), and inadequate time (now not only squeezed, ways of capturing what is actually happening with their but often entirely replaced, by test preparation sessions) students and the effects of these learning experiences in still characterize arts education in many of our schools their lives. and, 1976, 1983). (Efl The past quarter-century has also been a rich period And yet, as we have hinted, there are many ways in the literature on arts education. Considerable writing in which arts education is vital and thriving. New ideas has been published reporting on research studies, but and practices, new art forms and practitioners, innovative there have also been lively debates over critical, even programs, and creative partnerships are emerging in foundational, questions related to what constitutes quality response to the threats to arts education in our public in arts education – what we aspire to offer our students. schools. Serious thinking is ongoing – though we feel it As is so often the nature of the literature in many fi elds, is too little noted or documented – on the issue of what writing on arts education has been framed in terms of constitutes quality in arts learning and teaching and how arguments and debates. Many of these debates have been it can be achieved and sustained. Our effort in this study carried out, as well, in the efforts to create standards, has been to examine these efforts and report on what we frameworks, and assessments. Four critical questions learned. thread through the arts education literature of the past 25 years: How this report is organized – should teach the arts? Who The report is divided into three sections. Here we provide – Where should the arts be taught? a brief preview of each of the chapters that follows this ? should be taught and What – how introduction. should the arts be assessed? – How Part 1: Envisioning and Experiencing Quality Foundational questions such as these always Chapter 1: Visions of Quality. For most arts educators, provoke strong opinions in education, broadly construed, ideas about what constitutes quality in arts education are and these questions continue to generate debate in the deeply tied to fundamental issues of identity and meaning,
20 8 Introduction and embodied in their values as artists, educators, and form of debate, with arguments made for one side or an- citizens in the world. Chapter 1 examines the role of other. Chapter 4 examines the major debates concern- uences on educators’ visions of quality and how these infl ing each of these questions and reveals how foundational they provide a compass for navigating the many decisions programmatic decisions that infl uence quality tend to be they make. nuanced and contextualized, often embodying high prin- ciples and pragmatic concerns at the same time. The Chapter 2: The Multiple Purposes of Arts Education. question of what constitutes high quality arts education Chapter 5: Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision the arts why is inextricably linked to the question of Making. Beyond programs’ foundational decisions there are taught. So it is no surprise that when arts educators are myriad decisions made in the life of a program, and talk about excellence they also express ideas about the people at all levels make decisions that have critical fundamental purposes of arts education – ideas about infl uence on the quality of arts learning experiences. what students ought to learn through the arts and why These include people quite far away from the classroom these outcomes are important. Though many purposes (e.g., administrators, funders, policy makers), those just were mentioned by our informants, the great majority outside the room – notably program staff and parents, and of them cluster into seven broad categories. Chapter 2 those who are “in the room” (students, teachers, artists). characterizes the central ideas we heard in each of the Chapter 5 examines the kinds of decisions made at each seven categories and offers them as a backdrop for readers’ of these levels, and discusses the twin issues of alignment ections about the purposes of arts education. own refl among decisions, and communication among decision makers. Chapter 3: The Elements of Quality Arts Learning As Seen Visions and purposes come to life in Through Four Lenses. Part III: Quality in Practice the actual moments of teaching and learning. When you Chapter 6: Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality in ask arts educators what they take to be the signs of high Chapter 6 provides tools to analyze ideas Arts Education. quality arts education, they are as likely to point to features about what constitutes quality in arts education. These of the experience in the setting itself as they are to broad thought and dialogue tools encourage decision makers to purposes and outcomes. These experiential elements consider the main themes of each of the chapters of this are what you’d expect to observe if you opened the door report within their own settings. The tools are designed onto a classroom, studio, or rehearsal hall, and looked for for individuals or groups in schools and arts education markers of quality. One way to bring these markers into organizations and programs. focus is to examine the arts-learning experience through nal chapter, In our fi Chapter 7: Implications of This Study. Student learning, four different but overlapping lenses: we consider what the fi eld of arts education may gain pedagogy, community dynamics, and environment . Chapter from this study, and what its implications are for various 3 discusses the various elements of quality that come into audiences. We consider how thinking about quality view through each of these lenses. can have implications for practice that affect students, Part II: Achieving and Sustaining Quality teachers, teaching artists, and classroom teachers. This Chapter 4: Foundational Questions. Arts education pro- chapter also considers implications for people “outside grams make foundational, program-defi ning decisions the room,” including administrators, funders, and board that give a program its identity and provide the param- members. We conclude by considering next steps for eters within which quality is pursued. Four critical ques- investigating the issue of quality in arts education. tions programs must confront are: Who teaches the arts? and How Where are the arts taught? What is taught and how? Scholars have written extensively is arts learning assessed? about these questions, and the literature often takes the
21 9 Introduction Who We Are and What We Hope for the team, including both seasoned and new researchers, and the range of sources captured by the three strands of The research A word about the Project Zero perspective. the study have provided adequate checks on the bias we reported here was conducted by a team of researchers at brought to our process. Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Our hopes for this report. Not unexpectedly, over Project Zero has a 40-year history of conducting research the course of this research we raised more questions into the nature of learning in the arts (Gardner, 1982; than we answered, and we offer this report with the Gardner & Perkins, 1989; Goodman, 1976; Grotzer, acknowledgment that it marks the beginning of an inquiry Howick, Tishman, & Wise, 2002; Hetland, Winner, rather than its conclusion. If there is one overarching Veenema, & Sheridan, 2007; Perkins, 1994; Project ndings, it is that continuous refl theme to our fi ection MUSE, 1995; Project Zero and Reggio Children, 2001; and discussion about what constitutes quality and how Seidel, Eppel, & Mariniello, 2001; Tishman & Palmer, and a sign quality. of for to achieve it is both a catalyst 2007; Winner, 1993; Winner & Hetland, 2000). At In other words, thinking deeply about quality – talking Project Zero, we believe that an education without the about it, worrying about it, continually revisiting ideas arts is an incomplete education that fails to develop the about its characteristics and its indicators – is essential full potential of individuals, communities, and societies. both to the pursuit and achievement of excellence in We also believe that the arts have a powerful cognitive arts education. Our fondest hope for this report is that it dimension and are an important way of understanding not nitely do sparks discussion. We most defi offer here a the world, different from, but just as valuable as, the recipe for arts education. Rather, we hope that this report sciences. While the research team conducting this study will energize and inform a national conversation and agrees on these major points, our own perspectives also encourage policy makers and practitioners to engage in sometimes differ. Our goal in this report is to represent open and critical dialogue about what counts as quality eld rather than our the views we discovered in the fi in arts education and about how they can make decisions own views. At the same time, we recognize that our at all levels of policy, administration, and teaching to deep beliefs and assumptions infl uence how we have support such quality. understood and interpreted what we saw and heard. We hope the differences in perspective represented on
23 PART I: Q Q Q Q Envisioning and Experiencing Quality
25 13 Visions of Quality CHAPTER 1: VISIONS OF QUALITY healthy place, how we communicate with people, how... at powerful visions about OUR INTERVIEWEES HAD the core, believing that you should live these things that what constitutes quality arts education – about what its you believe. The work is not just from the hours of work- large purposes are, and about what it looks like “in the shops here, but how you’re living your life, how you’re im- pacting these young people’s lives on a daily basis, with the room” in the moments of learning and teaching as they principles that you walk with daily. For me, it’s like you are unfold. While there was much alignment in their visions, always working. The work is 24 hours and, you know, it’s like there were also signifi cant differences in emphases, pri- your personal growth. You have to keep growing in order to keep that work progressing. That’s where I feel like quality is orities, and details. And, as our interviews and site visits always remembering that it’s necessary to keep growing, it’s repeatedly made clear, these powerful visions provide arts completely necessary – whether it’s paid or unpaid. educators with a compass for decision making across all Over the course of our interviews, especially as we aspects of their work. probed the sources of an individual’s ideas about what In Part II of this report we will take a close look at constitutes quality, we were struck by the deeply person- rst, in this the kinds of decisions that affect quality. But fi al nature of the responses. Ideas about what constitutes chapter, we ask: Where do arts educators’ ideas about quality in arts education were, for most of these people, quality come from? What infl uences these visions of qual- inextricably tied to fundamental issues of identity, pur- uences provide a frame for the ity and how do these infl pose, and values as an artist, an educator, a citizen in the way people see and approach their work? world. This deep subjectivity was the source of strength at the core of these visions of quality. This was the compass A Compass for Decision Making that guided the many aspects of the countless decisions Consider the response of Morgan Cousins, a program these educators make, defi ning in so many ways why they coordinator at Urban Word, an in- and out-of-school do what they do in the way they do it. program for high school students in New York City fo- In some cases, we heard personal stories of early ex- cusing on spoken word, combining both the literary and periences with remarkable teachers (arts and other kinds performing arts. We asked Morgan, as we often asked on of teachers, including parents or other family members) our site visits, to introduce herself, share a bit about her as well as horrible teachers, whose example, even many background, and offer any initial thoughts about what years later, still had a profound infl uence on visions of constitutes quality in arts learning experiences. She ex- quality. We heard other stories as well – stories both from plained that as a high school and college student, she had in and outside of arts experiences – where a sense of and worked with Youth Speaks, a program that evolved into rst experienced, the memory of taste for high quality was fi Urban Word in New York City. She did other work for which was so powerful and so attractive that the hunger a while and had just recently come back as a program ed. for that taste has essentially never been fully satisfi coordinator. As an artist, what has helped my growing has been that I A Healthy Obsession with Quality was a part of a collective, Sister to Sister, out of Bushwick. We would do arts work with youth to get them involved in In his study of craft and crafts people, Richard Sen- shifting their communities. For me, using art is central to a nett considers the “obsessional energy” that is at the core person’s development, especially for young people. Art is a of the drive to achieve quality. tangible way to see where you are and to envision what you want to create in this world, what sort of energy you want In a way signaled by the second word in the phrase “qual- to put out there. driven means the obsessional energy invested ity-driven,” So just as I feel everyone is a living person, we’re all in making a concrete object or forming a skill. Obsessional educators. And I believe “each one, teach one.” So, [for] energy marks the characters of great workmen like Christo- me, being an artist and being an educator, those are be- pher Wren but is also and more elementally a trait of actions ing human – it’s very much being one thing. Quality work small as well as large. Rewriting a sentence again and again is working from that place. I feel like it’s working from a
26 14 Visions of Quality to get its imagery or rhythm just right requires a certain obses- sibility of arts educators for such a potentially important as- sional energy. In love, obsession risks deforming the character; pect of young people’s life experience, this obsession begins xation and rigidity. These dangers in action, obsession risks fi ed, necessary, and, in the end, rewarded in to feel quite justifi the individual craftsman also has to address, as so does the well- crafted organization. The pursuit of quality entails learning how profound ways – seeing young people build deep and long- to use obsessional energy well. (Sennett, 2008, italics in the lasting relationships with the arts and seeing all that the arts original) can do to enrich their intellectual, aesthetic, social, politi- We met many people during this study for whom this cal, and moral lives. taste for quality in arts learning experiences – a rather spe- Yet the line between a healthy and unhealthy obsession cialized area of connoisseurship – appears to be a profound with quality in arts education can be thin. Sennett warns of need. Indeed, for these people, creating high quality experi- an obsession’s capacity to “deform” and the risk of “rigid- ences for others has become a value that informs virtually all ity and fi xation.” We were told that working in a “quality- of the decisions they make in relation to what will happen driven” organization was both thrilling and exhausting. The “in the room.” Perhaps because it could seem tautological, drive to achieve ever-higher levels of quality in an arts pro- this rather obvious connection between valuing quality (ex- gram must be continual and must accommodate the energy cellence) as a part of a quality (excellent) arts learning ex- and developmental levels of the teachers and staff. While perience was not explicitly named as often as it might have some people in an organization may well see important room been in our interviews. In a sense, it seems too obvious to for improvement of practices “in the room,” all teachers and state. But it is a value that informs people’s notions of what artists may not be able to achieve those visions as quickly as constitutes quality. the visions themselves can be articulated. The need for sup- To that end, the educators we interviewed wanted port and encouragement that children feel as they strive to with young people to have experiences quality – for example, get better is also a need of artists and teachers as they work excellent materials, outstanding works of art, passionate and to improve their practice. Calibrating the “drive” for quality accomplished artist-teachers modeling their artistic pro- with the capacities of those involved in the effort to achieve of cesses – and experiences quality – powerful group inter- it seems to be critical to keeping the obsession “healthy.” At actions and ensemble work, performances that make them the same time, a commitment to increasing those capacities feel proud, rewarding practice sessions, and so on. In addi- links professional development to the pursuit of quality. tion, they wanted them to have experiences with the work of striving for and achieving high quality – technical excel- Internal Monologues and Collective Dialogues lence and successful expressivity – in making art. nition, though, thoughtful, refl Almost by defi ective arts educators ask themselves daily why they are doing what “Healthy” Obsessions? they do in the way that they do it. Why do I choose to work Many of the programs and people we spoke to seemed to with these young people in this program? Do these choices be, in Sennett’s terms, “quality-driven.” Indeed, they seemed help me achieve my larger work and personal goals? Am I obsessed with quality. This obsession not only guided their doing my work as well as I possibly can and with the greatest thoughts, but their actions, decisions, and conversations possible impact? with their colleagues and students. Whatever term they used If that is the nature of a constant internal monologue, – quality, excellence, continual improvement – the drive was these same people are also engaged in an ongoing actual dia- essentially the same. This hunger seems rarely satisfi ed with logue of a similar nature with their colleagues. Why do we an internal monologue; it must become a dialogue with oth- ways go about our work in the we do? How could we better ers. Like so many obsessions, it pulls others into its pursuit. achieve our goals? Should our goals be reconsidered? Are our If you push this image further, it is easy to see why “ob- practices aligned with our purposes and our values? These session” has a bad reputation; it becomes associated with a discussions often take place within established structures like kind of unhealthiness. But, in this context, given the respon- staff meetings, supervision sessions, and planning processes,
27 15 Visions of Quality some of which we were invited to observe during our site At the same time, we were frequently told how visits. much our interviewees appreciated the opportunity to But few groups have enough time for these ect, and consider questions that were often asked stop, refl conversations in formal settings. Most continue these in a new way as an opportunity to re-engage with the conversations in the spaces between teaching, meetings, challenges of quality. Indeed, even the use of particular cleaning up a studio, or dealing with art supplies and language – like the term or the focus on ‘experi- quality materials. Often these conversations occur while driving ences’ – was often felt as a provocation to enter into this from one school to another, getting from a community set of issues from a different angle. In a sense, we heard center to a program’s offi ce, or walking from one end of that, simultaneously, the people we were talking with a building to another. Sometimes these conversations are were both deeply involved in deliberations about issues congratulatory; often they are self-critical; in some cases, of quality in a variety of settings and under various ban- real disagreements surface about what constitutes quality ners, and also desirous of more and deeper explorations of and whether it was achieved in today’s dance class or trip this basic issue. The ability to think, discuss, and analyze to the museum. on both philosophical and practical levels seemed to be a characteristic of the organizations we visited, as was the Continuous Examination of feeling that quality is both a process and a conversation What Constitutes Quality that never ends. This examination of quality – as we witnessed Subjectivity and Consensus it and had it described to us by our interviewees – was most often carried out over time and through continu- As deeply personal and subjective as ideas about c instances (a particular class ous dialogues about specifi quality may be, there seemed to be broad areas of session, a course that has just ended, a performance or a consensus about what does and does not constitute a new exhibit of visual art, and so on). While the ground- quality arts learning experience “in the room.” The typical ing of these dialogues was in specifi cs, the conversations low-quality arts activity for children most frequently seem actually to be extended examinations of core beliefs cited was the activity of coloring cut-out turkey shapes and values, purposes, and best understandings of basic at Thanksgiving using broken crayons. Activities that issues like the nature of learning, teaching, community, trivialize artistic processes such as fi lling in outlined c context, and art. This close analysis of what, in a specifi shapes or working with materials of limited quality such constitutes quality seems to be one way that people do, as old and broken crayons or ripped and dirty costumes implicitly and explicitly, develop a philosophy of prac- were seen as failing to respect children’s capabilities tice. That philosophy then functions as a compass for all and interests and not recognizing art’s deep power and subsequent dialogue about what constitutes quality and possibilities. Such activities were considered inadequate decision making done with quality in mind. opportunities for signifi cant arts learning. While our site visits were rarely more than two days, Of course, an artist who works with iconic images it was clear to us that in most places the exploration of (e.g., cut-out turkeys) and invents innovative and unusual basic questions about purposes and practices as well as approaches to old materials (like broken crayons!) may do inquiries into effectiveness and possible improvements provocative work and might also, working with teachers, is a way of life and work. Over and over, we heard, in design rich learning experiences for children on such top- response to our questions, that the staff had recently had ics as gratitude and what it means to give thanks, iconic a discussion of just this issue or that the program’s evalu- images of Thanksgiving, and/or the animal we know as ators, a funder’s questions, or an incident in a classroom the turkey. (In short, the turkey is not the “turkey,” it’s had provoked a dialogue on a similar question just a few what we do with it as an arts learning experience.) Per- weeks earlier. haps a distinction between an activity and a l earning experi-
28 16 Visions of Quality activity is something we might do to ence is useful here. An a thing in itself, or an objective reality. Instead, quality keep us occupied, for the purpose of simply keeping busy, seemed to be inextricably tied to the mission and goals of learning experience is shaped and defi ned or to pass time; a each individual program. by intentionality, challenge, performance, and growth. That quality and purposes are wedded seems, on Similarly, there seemed to be consensus about some the surface, to be an obviously true statement. It is hard broad characteristics of quality in arts learning experienc- to conceptualize how any learning experience could be es. The most commonly cited is engagement – focused, considered high quality if it does not achieve its purposes. total, all-encompassing. Other characteristics that were Beneath the surface of this statement about quality and named frequently and around which there seemed to be mission, however, there is a complex relationship between some broad consensus, though not everyone addressed all highly interconnected moving parts. of these explicitly or equally, included: As we will discuss in Chapter 2, our study revealed • An involvement with authentic artistic processes that arts educators hold multiple purposes for programs, and materials. courses, or projects. At any moment, the priority and An exploration of “big ideas” about art and human • relationship of those purposes may shift or evolve. With experience. one group of students, there may well be a primary • Direct experiences with works of art made or in the emphasis on developing certain technical skills. With making. others, creating a powerful experience of ensemble work While this kind of broad consensus does seem to ex- might feel like the critical task at that moment. And ist, it does not mean that there is agreement on an absolute with another, working on discipline and responsibility “objective” set of criteria for determining what counts as might be the essential starting point. None of these goals quality arts education. None of the people we spoke with diminishes the importance of others, but an assessment of guring out what constitutes wanted to escape the task of fi particular groups at particular moments may well suggest quality and how to achieve it. Instead, they told us that new and appropriate ways of prioritizing purposes. they want to create and sustain a dialogue about quality In addition, as one’s understanding of how to achieve that includes as many of the participants and stakehold- purposes deepens over time, ideas about sequence and em- ers as possible. We return to this issue of dialogue and phasis will likely evolve as well. In other words, knowledge decision making later in this report in Chapter 5. of how to achieve a complex set of goals should inform how one approaches achieving it. As one learns what is Quality-Driven and Mission-Driven possible to teach and how to do that teaching well, the very framing of those goals evolves. Perhaps the central element of this dialogue about As we have noted, achieving quality and fulfi lling what constitutes quality is an examination and clarifi ca- a mission are processes rarely completed. As one level tion of the purposes of any particular arts education pro- of achievement is accomplished, new goals, often both gram and individuals’ experiences within them. broader and deeper, are conceptualized. Ambitious arts While many of the people we spoke with were educators constantly seek new understandings of both explicitly quality-driven in their work as arts educators, quality and mission and how to achieve them. The nature regularly asking themselves and others how to improve and multiplicity of the purposes discussed in Chapter 2 the experiences their students were having, they were reminds us of the incredible complexity of the arts educa- also deeply mission-driven. Ideas about quality did not tion enterprise and the challenges of coming to a vision seem to exist independently of articulations of purposes. of quality, let alone achieving that vision. Though driven to create the best arts programs possible at that moment with available resources, including the human resources of program design, administrative, and pedagogical knowledge, quality was not an abstraction,
29 17 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed CHAPTER 2: THE MULTIPLE PURPOSES OF ARTS EDUCATION AS DISCUSSED IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER , the When our phone interviewees articulated what stu- question of what constitutes high quality arts education dents ought to from high quality arts education, what learn is inextricably linked to the question of why we should we heard fell into seven broad goals. Most people referred be teaching the arts in the fi rst place. Over the course of to several of these learning outcomes as desirable, not just our research, we conducted many interviews, from phone one or two. These seven goals were also ones mentioned calls with experts in this fi eld to the many formal and by our site interviewees when they told us what they were informal conversations at our site visits. Almost every- striving to achieve, and they are echoed in the literature. one we spoke with linked their quest for quality to the We heard that arts education should: • Foster broad dispositions and skills, especially the purposes they were striving to achieve in their programs capacity to think creatively and the capacity to or policies. What they perceived the arts to be and to do make connections. uenced their ideas for individuals and groups strongly infl • Teach artistic skills and techniques without making about what they wanted students to learn through their them primary. education in the arts. Accordingly, achieving quality to a • Develop aesthetic awareness. large extent means achieving these purposes. So it is no • Provide ways of pursuing understanding of the surprise that when arts educators talk about excellence world. they also express ideas about the fundamental purposes of • Help students engage with community, civic, and arts education – ideas about what students ought to learn social issues. through the arts and why these outcomes are important. Provide a venue for students to express themselves. • We noted two distinct but interrelated beliefs held Help students develop as individuals. • by the great majority of those we interviewed. • There are multiple legitimate purposes of arts This chapter characterizes the central ideas dis- eld, arts education seems to be in education. As a fi rst a few words of cussed in each of these areas. We offer fi an expansive mood these days. Theorists and prac- cation about what these seven categories are meant clarifi titioners are aware of the multiplicity of purposes to represent and how they might be useful to readers of their colleagues pursue and regard this multiplic- this report. ity as healthy. Though of course there are disagree- A Focus on Learning Purposes ments about specifi c theories and approaches, when people referred to points of view other than their Arts programs have a variety of purposes that are own, they did so in a spirit of open-mindedness and closely linked to the communities and contexts in which respect, rather than debate or divisiveness. they operate. Not all of these purposes are directly related High quality arts programs tend to serve several • to learning, and a distinction can be drawn between an purposes simultaneously. As a group, arts educa- arts program’s learning purposes and its programmatic pur- tors conceive of high quality arts education as poses. A learning purpose has to do with the specifi c skills, complex in its outcomes, serving multiple puposes dispositions, and understandings a program aims to teach. for each student. Though arts programs differ Programmatic purposes are often more general in nature widely in their contexts, goals, art forms and con- and emerge in response to community and political needs stituencies, a hallmark sign of high quality arts and realities that include but can also extend beyond the learning in any program is that the experience is arts per se. For example, programs have been developed rich and complex for all learners, engaging them in response to a community’s need to keep young people on many levels and helping them learn and grow in off the streets after school hours and to provide them with a variety of ways. positive adult mentors from the community. Many pro-
30 18 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed grams have been developed with youth and community capacity to think creatively and the capacity to make development as their initial purposes. For example, the unusual connections. When people speak of these ca- Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh arose out of pacities, they often call them “dispositions,” or general community activism and a passionate commitment of the “habits of mind,” consistent with a growing movement in the literature to refer to the habits of mind taught by the founder, Bill Strickland, to provide access to arts educa- arts (Grotzer, Howick, Tishman, & Wise 2002; Hetland, tion to all. Similarly, a fundamental purpose for founding Winner, Veenema, & Sheridan 2007; Perkins, 1994). the Seattle-based Arts Corps, for example, was to bring free arts classes to low-income youth. But these program- Acknowledging that nuances may be missed by at- tempting to group arts-related habits of mind into a few matic purposes do not specifi cally imply what arts educa- broad categories (and here we nod to Eric Booth, who tors believe students should learn as the result of these speaks eloquently of 19 artistic habits of mind), we feel arts experiences. Arts programs can and often do serve it is most useful to focus on the two themes most often many purposes and play many roles in a community. mentioned – creative thinking and connection making. Who and What these Seven Categories Represent An analysis of the The capacity to think creatively. nature of creativity in the arts and in general has been The seven clusters of purposes described in this central to the work of many psychologists (e.g., Amabile, chapter emerged as a way of organizing the learning pur- 1996; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Feldman, Csikszentmih- poses that were mentioned by the people we spoke with alyi, & Gardner, 1994; Gardner, 1982, 1993; Getzels & in phone and site interviews during this research. Many Csikszentmihalyi, 1965; Greene, 2001; Perkins, 1981; of these same purposes are mentioned in the literature we Robinson, 2001; Sternberg, Grigorenko, & Singer, 2004). reviewed, and wherever relevant, we point out the align- When arts educators talk about developing students’ ment between what our interviewees said and the argu- capacity to think creatively, they generally conceive of ments in the published literature. creativity as an extended process involving many steps, The seven purposes we write about here are by no rather than a single “aha” moment of insight. Creativity means intended as an exhaustive typology of all the pos- is full of starts and stops and turns and improvisations and sible purposes of arts education, or all the purposes that leaps and bounds. Janice Fournier, an evaluation consul- arts education scholars have written about. Rather, it is tant at Arts Corps, the largest nonprofi t arts educator in an attempt to cluster the purposes that were most often the Seattle area, believes creativity “involves generating articulated to us. Certainly, there are other ways to orga- ideas, digging deeper into ideas, encouraging openness to nize the countless articulations of purposes and outcomes exploring new ideas, and listening to your inner voice.” we heard, and there are certainly legitimate purposes of Creativity moves forward through a process of generating arts education other than those we describe. We hope questions, exploring problems, and seeking multiple op- that those with whom we spoke, as well as the readers tions, and as it unfolds it includes cycles of critique, revi- of this report, will fi nd represented here at least some of ection. The process is “very complex” and sion, and refl the purposes of arts education that they hold as most es- intense, notes Arts Corps founder/director Lisa Fitzhugh, sential. but it is observable. Four indicators of creativity that she believes her students and teaching artists demonstrate Seven Broad Purposes of Arts Education across art forms, age groups, and contexts are persistence 1. Arts education should foster broad dispositions and and discipline, tolerance for ambiguity, refl ection, and skills, especially the capacity to think creatively and the metaphorical thinking. capacity to make connections. To be sure, the creative process often includes fl ash- When speaking about the important purposes of es of insight and intuition – the famous “aha” moments arts education, one of the outcomes people mentioned – and these moments can be its most visible signs. But the most often is the development of key habits of mind: the
31 19 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed process of developing creative ideas and carrying them lated connections across disciplines and the curriculum; through to fruition also typically includes prolonged pe- some emphasize making connections to everyday life and riods of purposeful ideation, exploration, and critical re- popular culture. Some emphasize making connections ection (Perkins, 1981). It is this longer process, along fl to history and culture writ large; some emphasize mak- with an understanding of its value, that our respondents ing connections to controversial issues within communi- seem to have in mind when they talk about developing ties and across nations. But regardless of the connections students’ capacity to think creatively. Adam Neal, a mas- people favor, there is general agreement that rich con- Sound Learning , ter’s student in composition interning at nection-making is more than just a nicety: it is a central comments: “It’s about getting kids to think about and go outcome of high quality arts learning and teaching. For through the steps of the creative process – thinking and Elliot Eisner, quality means that art has to “function in doing, focusing not just on the product, but the process, [students’] lives, outside of the context of schooling, and with the idea that maybe the kids will be able to do this [teachers make that happen] by creating bridges between later on, on their own.” what they are studying in school and the life that they’re Many people we spoke with echoed a view also found going to be leading outside of school.” This point is also in the literature, that the capacity to think creatively emphasized by educators at many of the sites we visited, is an outcome of arts education that is widely valued where the importance of offering opportunities for con- by society (Levy & Murnane, 2004; Pink, 2005). Eric nection-making is not only of cognitive value but allows journal, believes Booth, founder of the Teaching Artist students a “way in” so that their learning is accessible and eld, one thing that creativity [is seen] as a priority in the fi relevant. the rest of the world wants from the arts. This thought There is a controversy in the arts education literature ected in our interviews with members of the was also refl arts education because of its justify about whether to Tucson Unifi ne arts administrative ed School District fi potential to connect to and improve academic learning. staff (partners with the program, Opening Minds through We touch on this controversy in Chapter 4 when we discuss the Arts, or OMA), “Businesses and the workforce look “foundational decisions,” and caution against justifying for creative problem-solvers that can think outside of arts education because of its instrumental, or “add-on” the box. The arts teach you how to do that.” This is an value in boosting achievement in other academic areas empirically testable claim, and evidence that creativity (an argument often made but as yet unproven). However, learned in the arts transfers to creativity in non-art the capacity to make connections as discussed here is not business and workforce settings is exceedingly diffi cult viewed as an “add-on” to arts education, but rather a deep to obtain, and the body of cumulative research has not and essential part of what learning in the arts is about. yet demonstrated such transfer. (Winner & Hetland, There are two strands of thinking that contribute nd an assumed link 2000). Still, it is hardly surprising to fi to this view, and they have been written about in the between arts and creative thinking, and much has been literature as well as discussed by those we interviewed. written about the potential of arts education to cultivate The fi rst has to do with the connection-rich nature of art’s a broad capacity for creativity. content. Because the arts take life and the world as their Many people The capacity to make connections. subject, they connect directly to many aspects of human we interviewed also believe that high quality arts educa- culture and experience, and exploring these connections tion fosters the disposition to make connections across provides fertile ground for developing students’ capacity diverse themes, topics, and experiences. As Kristin Cong- for connection-making (Efl and, 2004; Perkins, 1994). don puts it, the basic idea of connection-making is that A second reason people see connection-making “students form links beyond the time and space of the as a key purpose of arts education has to do with the classroom.” The kinds of connections people value are cultivation of imagination. Jerome Bruner (1979), John varied. Some arts educators emphasize making arts-re- Dewey (1934), Nelson Goodman (1976), Susanne Langer
32 20 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed (1942, 1953), and Israel Scheffl ve er (1991) are just fi privileging technical training over meaning-making, and examples of scholars who see the arts as ways of knowing, ciency and about the relationship between technical profi understanding, thinking, and interpreting the world. The assessment. arts involve not only emotion, but also complex thinking We often heard that the teaching of technique is and imagination (Eisner, 2004; Greene, 2000, 2001). important because it allows students to gain entry into and (2002) writes about the unique Efl contributions of the and participate in the practices of an art form in which se- arts in developing students’ imaginations: Imagination quential learning is required. Many said that students must develops when students interpret complex information. be taught the “fundamentals” of each art form in order to Complex information must be interpreted as students move to higher levels of skill, and in order to express one- think about themselves, their dreams, aspirations and self in the art form. Acknowledging the sequential nature fears, in relation to the art works they create. The of skill development, several people we spoke with (e.g., construction of one’s own “lifeworld” in a work of art is Remer, Music, Cardona, and Weiss) mentioned the im- a product of the imagination; the art works created must portance of “standards-based, sequential arts instruction represent this undivided lifeworld. in all four disciplines” as a part of quality teaching and Developing students’ capacity for connection mak- learning in the arts. But all also insisted that technique ing may be a key purpose of arts education, but it is im- should never be a goal in and of itself, without other goals portant to recognize that this does not always happen as to be achieved. Many arts educators – including those a matter of course. Developing connection making re- who believe in the importance of sequential arts instruc- quires encouragement, and many arts educators believe tion – voiced concern that the teaching of technique can that high quality arts instruction should provide explicit limit as well as enable. Dance educator Sara Lee Gibb, opportunities for connection making. This view has also wary that an overemphasis on teaching technique limits been articulated by Salomon and Perkins (1989). In the how students explore the movement of their body states, words of Jane Remer, author, teacher, and arts education “Little ideas and techniques can be introduced but, again, consultant, teachers need to help students seek “authen- that’s where the gifted teacher comes in that can help tic connection between art forms and with other disci- them expand their range of possibilities without limiting plines” and help them “connect art to everyday life.” what they’re doing.” Gibb calls for teaching dance in a way that does not ignore the cognitive and affective as- 2. Arts education should teach artistic skills and tech- pects of learning to move one’s body. Without that, stu- niques without making these primary. dents are just like “trained puppies.” Even among profes- The learning of artistic methods and techniques is nd examples of dynamic sional dancers, she says, one can fi often cited as a central purpose of quality in traditional performers who are not necessarily expert technicians. arts education, and this is born out in what is assessed Not surprisingly, many arts educators have raised by the College Board’s Advanced Placement program questions about what counts as technique and whether (The College Board, 2006 a, b). Though most people we teaching traditional skills and techniques serves contem- talked with acknowledge the legitimacy of this purpose, porary forms of expression. This question has been dis- we heard no arguments for the extreme ends of the con- cussed frequently in the literature (Diamond & Hamlin, tinuum. No one claimed that the teaching of technique 2003; Freedman, 2003; Hamlin, 2005; Hamlin & Don- should dominate arts learning experiences. However, nan, 2007; Levine, 2001). Shifting global, economic, and there are varying views about the importance of tech- cultural forces, the development of new digital media and nique, both within and across art forms, including strong new art forms, and the growth of new forms of commu- views – and often concerns – about the relationship be- nication are all factors contributing to a radical change tween students’ technical development and their artistic in what counts as art and who participates in making development and about the balance between technique and consuming it. While acknowledging and often cel- and expression. There are also serious concerns about
33 21 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed ebrating these changes, the majority of our interviewees This tension around assessment and the development of rejected the radical view that traditional techniques are artistic skills and techniques underscores the complexity wholly irrelevant to contemporary forms of expression. of assessing student learning in programs with multiple For example, Weiss believes that “to say categorically purposes, especially in partnership organizations where that teach[ing] the formal and modernist elements and there are several different educators assessing from differ- principles of the arts is dead is to deny students the tools ent perspectives. For example, LCI’s director of education and techniques that will help them express their views development, Madeline Holzer told us of an instance in in the contemporary world. It is to throw out a whole set which her own assessment of a high school theater prac- of approaches, tools, and frameworks that could be used tice session focused on individual growth, collaboration, for so many purposes, including critiquing society, under- and student “ownership,” while the classroom teacher fo- standing the beauty of form and observing really closely cused solely on technical theater skills. our world.” But Doug Boughton sounds a cautionary note. In summary, most of our interviewees believe that He worries that too much attention to form and tradition technique may sometimes be an important goal but should can prevent students from paying attention to the con- never be the only one, and indeed might best be thought tent of a painting or work. In describing the visual culture of as an instrumental goal – important only insofar as it approach to which he ascribes, he explains: “The visual serves a larger goal of helping students understand or ex- culture approach holds that meaning is more important press ideas and feelings. Perhaps not surprisingly, the view than form and this means that what a good art program that technique can and sometimes should be assessed but could do is to help students understand why the art is should never be the sole criterion for assessment of student made and what the meaning is, what type of meaning is learning in the arts is strongly echoed in the literature attributed within the cultural context.” He emphatically as well (Boughton, 2004; Burnaford, 2007; Consortium foregrounds meaning-making over form, and argues that of National Arts Education Associations, 1994; Council an approach to arts education should “start with meaning of Arts Accrediting Organizations, 2007; Eisner, 1996; and move to elements rather than starting with elements International Baccalaureate Organization, 1999, 2000a, and moving to the meaning.” 2000b, 2005; Kimbell & Stables, 2007; Marshall, 2006; c role of technique in an Regardless of the specifi McCarthy, Ondaatje, Zakaras, & Brooks, 2004; Myford arts education program, issues of assessment are complex. & Sims-Gunzenhauser, 2004; National Center for Educa- This is because it is relatively easy to observe technical tional Statistics, 1998; Persky, Sandene, & Askew, 1998; ciency according to objectively established criteria. profi Persky, 2004; Reimer, 1992, 2002). Unfortunately, the development of technical profi ciency 3. Arts education should develop aesthetic awareness. is often taken as a proxy for other forms of development, Many believe that an important purpose of arts and, following the educational truism that what’s assessed education is to develop students’ capacity to see things usually ends up being what’s taught (Resnick & Wirt, from an aesthetic perspective. This includes learning to 1996), many arts educators voice concern that programs recognize the aesthetic dimensions of the world around and approaches that over emphasize technical assessment them, learning to make qualitative discernments and often end up impoverishing instruction. This does not judgments, and learning to actively shape their own mean that technical skills should not be assessed at all. aesthetic environments. This theme is consistent with Several people we spoke with recognize the importance those of prominent arts education theorists (e.g., Dobbs, of assessing students’ artistic skills nationally (as reviewed 1998, 2004; Eisner, 2004; Greene, 2000; Reimer, 2003; in Chapter 4) as a sort of pulse-taking exercise. But many Smith, 2004, 2006; Smith & Simpson, 1991). argued for assessments that do a better job of evaluating It might be argued that aesthetic awareness is simply outcomes besides technique – e.g., assessing the impact a special kind of artistic skill and should thus be included of an arts experience on students’ personal development. in the foregoing “artistic skills and techniques” category.
34 22 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed But the people we spoke with emphasized its special professional opera singers were using facial expression, importance, as do many theorists, and we thus consider body language, and opera to demonstrate these differences, it as a distinct category. There is a pleasant symmetry challenging the students to decide which word better ndings in this section, because arts to reporting our fi described the character’s feeling in a particular passage educators’ rationale for the importance of developing Death and the Maiden . from Schumann’s students’ aesthetic awareness is closely linked to the Lissa Soep of Youth Radio aims for high production reason that we chose the phrase “the qualities of quality” values in the work she does with youth, and she empha- as the banner for this research project. As noted elsewhere sizes the link between the pursuit of aesthetic excellence in this report, there are two meanings to “quality” – a and intrinsic motivation. Working alongside profession- characteristic or feature of something, and a judgment of als on projects that involve a high level of aesthetic and excellence. This double discernment – seeing features, professional standards sustains student engagement. It and seeing excellence – is how many of the educators we “creates a lot of energy behind the work and elevates the spoke with characterized aesthetic awareness. Developing standards of the work that is generated.” At the Lincoln students’ aesthetic awareness helps them “see” the world Center Institute (LCI) in New York, executive director more fully and in more detail, and thus be able to make Scott Noppe-Brandon discussed the importance of using more nuanced judgments about value. high quality material as a departure point for an aesthet- Linking the two meanings of quality, Elliot Eisner ic experience: “The reason to start with high quality of recalls his experiences as a very young man working in a works of art is that there are multiple layers of complexity shoe store where he learned to discern varying levels of that are built in so that study repays itself.” Engaging with quality. “I began to notice differences between the shoes quality art work, students at LCI can then build multiple and how the heels were stacked, what the quality of the “capacities” such as noticing deeply, asking questions, leather was like, the construction, whether it had a steel making connection, seeing patterns, creating meaning, shank in it, etcetera, etcetera. And what I found was the refl ecting, and assessing. closer I paid attention to the qualities of the shoes or the Like Eisner, independent scholar Laura Chapman shirts or the pants, the more I saw, the more I noticed, recognizes that aesthetic awareness extends beyond for- and the more satisfaction I received from those that were mal arts learning experiences. “In the traditional venues of very high quality. So this was a learning process that I for encountering ‘high quality,’ such as museums or gal- was in charge of. I learned that you could look in order to leries, concert halls, theaters, it is easy to forget how ex- see and that was a real revelation to me and something periences in these sanctuaries are enriched or inhibited that made it possible for me to do that anytime I wanted by impressions from a larger surround of mass-produced to.” In his writings, Eisner (2002) also argues that arts cultural fare, mass-circulated imagery, so many aestheti- education teaches us to frame the world from an aesthetic cally designed environments. I think it is a mistake to perspective. think that ‘high quality’ is only and inevitably at a dis- Developing discerning aesthetic awareness can lead tance from everyday experiences.” Chapman would like to the understanding of relationships. Karen Fields at arts education to help students discern the aesthetic qual- Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) refers to it as ities of the informal environments that surround them, “activating discernment” and sees aesthetic discrimination understand their messages and cultural infl uence, and feel as an important outcome of participation and observation empowered to judge and shape them. “If you walk by the in the arts. During our site visit to OMA we sat in on a cosmetic counter, you have the opportunity to see some- class that embodies this purpose. In a class that integrated one’s ‘lessons’ about the aesthetics of self-presentation for language arts and opera, students were learning about women. There are different lessons in other ‘departments’ different values associated with words (for example whether it is children’s clothing or home goods.” the difference between “happy” and “elated”) and two Kristin Congdon warns against a monolithic con-
35 23 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed ception of aesthetic excellence that is dominated by one people we spoke with. As Susan Sollins, executive pro- cultural perspective, a perspective echoed throughout the ducer of Art:21, put it, one purpose of arts education is to literature on the importance of bringing folk arts into arts help students understand that the “arts provide us with education (Bowman, 1993-2003, 2006; Bowman & Zeit- opportunities to have much broader discussions about our lin, 1993; Cleveland, 2000; Green, 2001; Hamer, 2000; lives, our culture, and our politics.” Louise Music wants Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 1983; Mesa-Baines, 1990; Mu- students “to understand the arts as they represent cul- seum of American Folk Art, 1998), and the importance tures... [to understand] how we see, understand, express of considering learning in “outsider art” (Rubin, 2004; and connect through the arts.” Sellen & Johanson, 1999). Not surprisingly, arts educators see the pursuit of Recalling her early efforts to study folklore, Con- cultural understanding through art as an active rather gdon recounts that several universities “thought it was than passive process. For example, City Lore’s in-school lower, it wasn’t really aesthetic, and people were saying residency program partners with grades K-8 in New York we have to bring the students up to us and what we know. City to pair local fi ne arts and folk arts teaching artists But it was really important to me to start looking at the with social studies classes. Students are encouraged to aesthetics of different cultural groups and the functions explore and come to appreciate their own culture and of arts in different cultural groups and how people within community in rich ways by using local, primary resources these different communities see what art is supposed to such as community members, folk artists, authentic local do and how it communicates their own values instead of documents, and community sites. By engaging with their only trying to say these are the great works that you need community through the arts, students participate in the to understand in order to become a cultured individual.” process of exploring, documenting, and preserving their Just as cultivating aesthetic appreciation needn’t be city’s cultural heritage. Similarly, at Expanding the Walls: nition of aesthetic value that rooted in an objective defi Studio Museum of Harlem, students use the museum privileges the values of certain cultures over others, ex- collection as a lens through which to explore Harlem’s cellence in arts education need not be “one recipe for all.” culture and history. Students are activated through the Rather, in both cases, making discerning judgments about museum experience to investigate local social issues and excellence depends on a fi ne-grained understanding of take their experience to the street, engaging in intergen- the relationship between the purposes of something, its erational dialogue and interviews about African-Ameri- varied features, and the context in which it is used and can culture. valued. There is much in the literature that is resonant with arts educators’ belief that a purpose of arts education is to 4. Arts practices should provide ways of pursuing un- provide a lens onto human culture. For example, Suzanne derstanding of the world. Lacy describes powerful contributions to society by art in Many of our interviewees told us that an important non-traditional, public sites, a new genre in the early 1990s purpose of arts education is to help students understand that united the political and aesthetic (1995). These big that the arts are themselves a mode of understanding. understandings about art and culture sound benign and Echoing the philosopher Nelson Goodman (1976), Eric hard to argue with – who wouldn’t want students to gain Booth explains: “Art makes worlds; it is a way that hu- such understandings? But there is a difference between man beings most understand things. The arts help us ask students holding these understandings intellectually and questions, explore ideas, and make meaning in ways that living these understandings by personally engaging with other disciplines do not. They also provide ways for us to historical and contemporary cultural issues via the arts. share our understandings with others – share our worlds It is these active understandings that were most prized by – in potent and productive ways.” the arts educators with whom we spoke. The development of understandings that are spe- The view that the arts provide a way of understand- cally cultural in nature is especially important to many cifi
36 24 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed ing the world connects to a relatively new movement in how they enrich the lives of others. The arts are a way to contemporary art and art theory called “art practice as re- “empathetically... engage in the worlds of others” which search” (McLeod & Holdridge, 2006; Serig, 2007; Sulli- Booth sees as so important in a democratic society. van, 2005). In this movement, the purpose of art-making A stronger conception of civic engagement as an is to think through problems to achieve understanding. important outcome of arts education emphasizes help- Such a purpose foregrounds discovery, learning, and the ing students understand that they each have the power integration of disciplines, with art as a tool for inquiry, and responsibility to affect the community and society synthesis, and representation. In the literature, inquiry as at large through the arts. For example, Chapman, Music, a purpose for arts education is seen as growing from two and Soep stressed that the arts can be used by students sources: the practices of design, in which the discovery as “powerful agents of change.” Chapman asserts that process is a route to adaptive innovation (Gray & Malins, schools must recognize that “the arts are consequential, 2004; Kimbell & Stables, 2007), and the practices of con- not always benign, cute, pretty, take it or leave it activi- temporary arts, in which meaning-making predominates ties.” Arts in schools should address the civic dimensions over artistic technique. Some theorists argue that viewing of the arts – and show students that they can make a dif- arts practice as inquiry suggests a “radical rethinking of ference in their own communities. the premises for making art” such that “knowledge con- In Lissa Soep’s view, arts learning experiences become struction replaces personal expression, object-making, more powerful when they aim to “frame a debate or to and aesthetic pleasure as the primary goal of art practice” help people to see the world differently.” In her own work (Marshall, 2006). This in turn suggests a qualitatively dif- at Youth Radio, this takes the form of students creating ferent set of criteria for judging excellence in arts learning radio broadcasts that explore issues of social justice. She experiences. When art works are valued for the ways that described a Youth Radio project in which teenagers from they advance and reveal thought more than as aesthetic Oakland, California created a piece on the community’s objects, the art-making process is esteemed over product, rising homicide rates. Soep attributes the popularity of and process becomes evidence of learning. the piece, listened to by over 27 million people, to the power of the slam poetry interspersed between interviews 5. Arts education should provide a way for students to the students had conducted in the community, written engage with community, civic, and social issues. by I-Slice, a 19-year-old poet, based on Romeo and Juliet , Many people we spoke with told us that one impor- but set in present-day Oakland. Although Soep’s example tant purpose of arts education is to empower students to demonstrates how students can take on social justice understand and affect their role in community and soci- issues through innovative art-making, she also believes ety. This theme is also well-represented in recent litera- that more traditional art forms and topics can be used by ture on arts education. (e.g., Adams & Goldard, 2001, students to help reframe their world views. 2002; Birch, 1990; Boal, 1995, 2000; Boal & Jackson, ed community Many of the sites we visited identifi 2006; Bowman & Zeitlin, 1993; Feldman, Csikszentmi- and civic engagement as an explicit purpose of arts educa- halyi, & Gardner, 1994; Goldbard, 2006; Gude, 1999, tion, and provided opportunities for students to exercise 2000; Gullotta, 2000; Mesa-Baines, 1990; Stokes Brown, their voice and engage with their communities. For ex- Ayers, & Quinn, 2002). ample, Teens Rock the Mic, Urban Word, Will Power There are milder and stronger conceptions of what to Youth, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and it means to achieve this outcome. On the milder side Appalachian Media Institute all work to provide students – and connected with the idea of personal development with opportunities to use the arts to initiate community – some see achieving this outcome as a matter of help- dialogue about socially and culturally relevant local is- ing students recognize the interconnectedness of their sues. By using the arts as a tool to examine and challenge lives. For example, Booth and Eisner highlighted how unjust social dynamics, these student activists build a arts learning experiences enable students to recognize
37 25 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed sense of individual and community identity while work- ate and broad community. In fact, it is often by taking a ing to effect change. leadership role that students are able to forge strong and Often, arts organizations that emphasize community meaningful relationships with their community: They be- and civic engagement are born from communities in come more comfortable provoking or engaging in public which social unrest and injustice has been a reality for dence that allows them to dialogue and develop a confi participating students and teachers. These realities are communicate and collaborate with people across roles often the inspiration for identifying programmatic arts and contexts. learning purposes. At East Bay, for example, artistic Louise Music connects learning in the arts to what director Jordan Simmons notes that “the conditions she sees as the broad purpose of all education, which is “to that allowed us to come together and cook our program create a healthy and equitable society.” She believes “that and our thoughts belong to the historical period and the practice and participation in the arts is essential for the geography of the Bay Area.” This context gave rise students to develop skills necessary to be able to partici- to East Bay’s conviction that the arts can be used “as a pate in that.” Quoting Deborah Meier, Music emphasizes vehicle for reconciliation and social change” in efforts to that many youth often don’t realize that “in a democracy, ict that emerged across many heal the bitterness and confl we are all rulers.” sections of their community following Martin Luther 6. Arts education should provide a venue for students King’s assassination. They continue to hold to this goal to express themselves. of reconciliation, though the idea has evolved from the We encountered wide agreement that one of the 1960s fi ght for civil rights into a broader and contemporary central purposes of arts education is to provide all learn- struggle for social justice and human rights. ers with tools and opportunities to engage in and appre- Louise Music, Elliot Eisner, Eric Booth, and ciate expressive experiences across the arts disciplines. Johnny Saldaña all spoke to us at length about how Many people we spoke with stressed that the arts provide arts experiences change individuals as interdependent a unique opportunity for students to express themselves members of the world – how they can help students make beyond verbal language. Elliot Eisner told us that it “has connections between themselves and others, and how to do with the symbolic character of art, to be able to con- they can engender compassion for others. Being exposed vey to others meanings that will not take the impress of to multiple perspectives allows students to broaden their literal language.” Speaking of the nature of musical expe- understanding of themselves in relation to others and riences, writer and arts educator David Myers says, “What provides them the opportunity to empathize with others. drives musicians as musicians? What we believe is that it’s Interviewees also stressed the potential of arts ex- that intrinsic, expressive phenomenon... We can’t get to periences to develop students’ sense of personal empow- it in words and kids need that kind of experience.” erment. “I am interested in provoking each person with Expression is also important because it makes per- experiences in the arts to really think independently and sonal development possible by providing individual stu- to be able to feel that they can in turn create something dents with multiple ways to “be themselves” that they themselves that has value or validity or is recognized” may not be able to access otherwise. In our interview, (Sollins). This empowerment extends into the develop- Bennett Reimer described how the expressive nature of nd and ment of youth agency. Encouraging students to fi the arts enables self-discovery: “You could say that in the value their voice and their contributions is emphasized at arts you express yourself. Heck no. You’re fi nding yourself many civic/community engagement organizations. out! What you’re creating is yourself. You can create in Our interviewees also cited the capacity of the arts one way and realize it’s not right and then do it differ- to develop leadership skills. In many site visits we heard ently.” Similarly, interviewees Sara Lee Gibb and Cyn- people talk about how students learn to become lead- thia Weiss emphasize that the expressive nature of the ers through arts-related engagement with their immedi- ll the purpose of connecting arts enables students to fulfi
38 26 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed with others, to “cultivate” and “express humanity.” Nu- ment purpose. merous scholars have noted in their writings how expres- But in addition to the particular need for youth to sion helps students to fi nd a personal voice, something develop an expressive voice, an important outcome of that is seen as particularly critical to develop in popula- arts education is to help all children grow as individuals. tions of under-served and disenfranchised youth (Adams From developing students’ imagination and self-esteem to & Goldbard, 2001,2002; Birch, 1990; Boal, 1995, 2000; encouraging their self-awareness, engaging with the arts Boal & Jackson, 2006; Chávez & Soep, 2005; Lacy, 1995; can affect how youth see themselves. Many interviewees, Mesa-Baines, 1990). including Cardona, Music, Congdon, and others, believe In her interview, Lissa Soep called attention to the that when arts experiences connect to learners’ own importance of casting a wide net when thinking about experiences, culture, and heritage, they gain the power the purposes and forms of the expressive arts. It’s not sim- to change individuals’ views of themselves. Yet another ply about celebrating the release of emotion, but about aspect of personal development has to do with the arts’ “maximizing opportunities for young people to contribute capacity to shape and sometimes transform students’ out- and participate in their own expressive vernaculars and looks on life. Museum educator Rika Burnham explains, to link them to larger histories that they feel included in “I think that although I feel it’s an unrealistic goal, it’s an that perhaps have been excluded in the past.” Engaging in always hoped for goal, that the work of art will somehow the arts allows students to represent and mold their own alter your life. The work of art will, that incredibly com- lives. Soep continues, “Nurturing expressive culture in its plicated word, transform one’s life.” She continues: “James various forms is, should be, a crucial purpose within arts Cuno has this wonderful phrase. He says that, ‘when you education... whether that’s spoken word poetry, painting leave a work of art you should walk away at a different on an easel, telling stories or posting blogs.” “The more angle on the world.’” that [the scope of expressive culture] shrinks and gets Many interviewees also noted that arts education shut out of learning experiences... the fewer recourses helps build students’ intrinsic motivation, that engaging [students] have to intervene in their own lives, impact on ec- in arts experiences develops students’ capacity for refl their communities, and feel like they are contributing in tion and self-assessment and increases their intrinsic mo- an active way as citizens in the world.” tivation to learn and to pursue excellence – both in and outside of the arts. This belief was evident at many sites 7. Arts education should help students develop as in- we visited. Teaching artist Ladzekpo at East Bay Center dividuals. for the Performing Arts, for example, talks about instill- Our interviewees frequently placed special emphasis ing in his students a desire to be excellent, which he on the role that engaging in the arts plays in students’ hopes will transfer to all areas of their lives. “I want them developing sense of themselves as individuals and the to develop a culture of excellence as a habit. I just don’t role the arts play in students’ relation to others. Several want them to be excellent in dancing, or when they’re in of the outcomes we’ve discussed thus far could be consid- front of me, and when they go to another teacher they’re cant role ered forms of personal development. The signifi not doing that. There is a habit of doing that.” the arts can play in helping students see that they have An important outcome of arts education is to help something to offer – that they have voice and the abil- students grow as individuals by teaching in ways that are ity and credibility to contribute to society – has already sensitive to each student’s needs and interests. As dance been discussed in the purpose of artistic expression. In educator Sara Lee Gibb puts it, students “are so different many sites that emphasize youth development, a space in their personalities and their desires and the things that nd and exercise their voice is provided for students to fi make them happy, and the arts allow you to [serve] that. and effect change. This connection between developing It does not homogenize, everybody has to look the same, youth agency and encouraging students to act upon their do the same, be the same...” As an arts educator, “you agency is also related to the civic/community engage-
39 27 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed can be working on good and valuable things and things 2001; Burnham & Durland, 1998; Burnham & Kai-Kee, 2005; Chavez & Soep, 2005; Cleveland, 2000; Davis, that are positive in [people’s] lives but they are different Soep, Maira, Remba, & Putnoi, 1993; Goldbard, 2006; [for each person]... That’s why I think the arts are so valu- Gullotta, 2000; Heath, 1999; Michaelson & Nakamura, able in an educational setting. They honor the individual 2001; President’s Committee on the Arts and the Hu- child, or the individual person.” manities, 1996). Out-of-school arts programs are not In the world of education, offi cial outcomes are often regulated by any state or district educational system and offi cially assessed, and many people stress the importance seem to emerge in response to the needs to particular com- of keeping personal development in mind when it comes munities. These programs often stress the goal of “youth to assessment. Honoring the individual child and being development” and the creation of healthy, well-rounded sensitive to each child’s needs reinforces the idea that citizens. Typically this means developing leadership skills, assessments should be based on individual growth and positive dispositions, and self image, social and life skills, not a set standard or benchmark, which is the position and communication skills (Heath, 1999; Heath, Soep, & of the Council of Arts Accrediting Organizations (2007). Roach, 1998). Saldaña, for example, argues that more of assessment should be “about the students and what they say drama Multiple Purposes of Arts Education: Revisiting has done for them as artists, as individuals, as part of a the Relationship Between Purposes and Quality community.” Weiss explains: “I’m really interested in how quality as a continuum ne we create, how we defi within an A central argument of this report is that achieving individual student’s progress, not as a universal bar that high quality arts education is not simply a matter of adopt- everyone’s trying to reach – [not as] an external defi nition ing a research-proven set of “best practices” and leaving of quality. How do we make room and create room for a it at that. Rather, quality lives in the ongoing dynamic continuum of learning [for individuals]?” between the multiple and sometimes shifting purposes of For Bill Strickland, personal development and arts education and the choices educators and administra- betterment is the hallmark purpose of arts education. “To tors are constantly making to achieve them. If there is improve the quality of life of human beings... to people ndings about purposes, it is that a core message to our fi who are disadvantaged economically or socially – who successfully striving for, and achieving, multiple purposes are educationally challenged... the arts experience in an is not only a hallmark of quality but also one of its most educational setting is a portal through which a lot of kids diffi cult challenges. have learned to walk to open up life possibilities that might A quick look at the purposes discussed in this not have existed prior to that experience.” Bill Strickland chapter easily reveals the complexity of simultaneously documents the ways in which his students seize more achieving several of them consistently and reliably. opportunities after leaving the Guild, from obtaining lling any one of them is a major accomplishment; Fulfi jobs and attending college, to founding community arts achieving three or more of them over and over and with centers. “I’m looking for what happens to the kid that is limited resources and in challenging and changing con- fundamentally different from what happens with the peer texts is nearly miraculous. Interviewees at East Bay Cen- group that they hang out around that’s not involved with ter for the Performing Arts in Richmond, California, for our program. And the evidence is pretty dramatic.” For example, told us that they strive to teach rigorous and Strickland, arts learning experiences open doors for all sequential arts technique, to promote youth development learners. and leadership, and to help students examine social issues In the literature on arts education, we found the through the arts and thereby effect change. Their staff is goal of personal development stressed particularly of- constantly considering how to select the right repertoire ten, though certainly not exclusively, by those who write and arts teachers, how to elicit a desire to be excellent from all about out-of-school arts programs. (Adams & Goldbard,
40 28 ucation The Multiple Purposes of Arts Ed participating students, and how to engage with the com- ect together continually about the learning room – to refl munity to promote civic dialogue and inspire action. purposes they wish their programs to serve and how these While one purpose may take priority at any given mo- purposes come to life in students’ learning experiences. ment, it is important that other purposes are not jeop- Our hope is that this chapter can foster such refl ections. ardized in the decision making process. Recognizing the ec- In Chapter 6, we offer a tool designed to help guide refl complexities involved in working with simultaneous pur- tion and discussions around issues of quality. poses can affect programmatic as well as in-the-moment A clear message of our research is that people who teaching decisions. think deeply about the quality of arts learning experi- Is there a secret to managing the complexity of mul- ences also think deeply about the multiple purposes they tiple purposes? We can’t answer that question defi nitive- ect on these purposes fre- are trying to achieve. They refl ly, but we can report that throughout our conversations quently, and their passion for achieving them is coupled and site visits, it seemed quite clear to us that successfully with a clear-eyed sense of how the underlying purposes of achieving multiple purposes is an ongoing responsibility a program or approach connect to all the decisions that shared by many, rather than a static outcome achieved by are made, from administrative decisions to in-the-mo- a few. It is a process that requires decision makers at all ment teaching decisions. levels – from those in the classroom to those in the board-
41 29 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts CHAPTER 3: THE ELEMENTS OF QUALITY ARTS LEARNING AS SEEN THROUGH FOUR LENSES What constitutes quality in arts education? So far The lens of affords a view of ommunity dynamics c in this report we’ve mainly talked about backdrop. We the social dimension of the relationships in the classroom began by describing how anyone’s frame of reference for or other arts learning setting – relationships among the this question is inextricably linked to their fundamental students themselves, between students and teachers, and ideas about identity, meaning, and value – as artists and among the teachers and other adults who interact with as educators. We’ve also talked about the rich array of students in the classroom. purposes that give meaning and direction to the pursuit focuses on tan- the environment Finally, the lens of c constel- of quality arts education, noting that the specifi gible and concrete elements, including the physical space lation of a program’s purposes and goals are deeply linked of the classroom, the material resources available, as well to local contexts, communities, conditions, interests, and as the time students are given – hours as well as years – to needs. But visions and purposes come to life in the actual engage in arts learning. moments of teaching and learning. We turn now to these Each lens provides a way to help us focus on a num- experiential elements that can be seen when visiting a ber of particular, observable elements that indicate qual- classroom, studio, rehearsal hall or other setting for arts ity arts learning experiences. The elements discussed here learning. are only a fraction of those named by our interviewees, What are these elements? Drawing on our extensive but they do represent many of the elements most com- interviews, particularly responses to our questions about monly noted. Our discussion of these elements is neces- what quality looks like when one is “in the room,” we sarily brief, but it suggests the richness of an arts learning compiled hundreds of comments about elements of qual- experience. In the classroom, the quality of any of these ity that are observable. As we pored over the list looking elements does not stand alone; on the contrary, an in- for patterns and themes, it gradually became clear that viting rehearsal space inspires and prepares students to one helpful way to make sense of these various elements work seriously, just as does an experienced artist-teacher was to look at the list in its entirety through different who is passionate about the play to be rehearsed. The so- c facet, or dimen- lenses, with each lens capturing a specifi cial dimension of the ensemble that has been nurtured sion, of the list as a whole. Four lenses emerged as most further encourages everyone not only to work hard but useful: student learning, pedagogy, community dynamics, to exceed their previous accomplishments. In short, all environment . Imagine, then, opening the door onto a and of the elements contribute to the quality of the learning room where students and teachers are engaged in a pow- experience. Yet, as noted, these elements are not a check- erful arts learning experience. What might each of these list. They might better be thought of as a provocation to lenses bring into focus? think both broadly and deeply about the elements that , you’ll student learning Looking through the lens of might matter most in a particular arts education setting see what students are actually doing in the classroom – early in the process of creating that learning experience. the kinds of projects and tasks they’re involved in, the fo- cus and character of their engagement, the attitudes and mindsets they bring to the learning experience. you’ll see Looking through the lens of pedagogy , how teachers conceive of and practice their craft – how they conceptualize their role in the classroom and how they design and implement instruction.
42 30 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts Quality as Seen Through the Lens aesthetically attractive, they draw students toward them and their possibilities. They invite learners to pay atten- of Student Learning tion and wonder about them. For many students, once en- The following elements emerged as important indi- gaged, the intrinsic pleasure of making or experiencing art cators of a quality arts learning experience as seen through becomes truly joyful. Students described such experience the lens of student learning. Not all of these, of course, as ‘serious fun’ – both incredibly demanding and truly ex- must be present at any one time. But when a number are hilarating. evident, it suggests that students are more likely to be hav- Artistic processes themselves, such as improvising, ing a high quality arts learning experience. Many of the interpreting, and composing, are also deeply engaging. elements made visible by the other three lenses contribute Grappling with a challenging problem, painstakingly re- to the likelihood that student learning has the positive at- vising a work, giving and receiving critique, exploring tributes of the following elements: diffi cult issues, reaching deeply to express what one really • Engagement feels, searching widely for ideas, developing a rhythm of Purposeful experiences creating or engaging with • working collaboratively within a classroom community of works of art learners all can create engagement when learners’ whole • Emotional openness and honesty focus and soul is invested in the work. Experimentation, exploration, and inquiry • Often engagement has a visible intensity and imme- Ownership • diacy to it. Students might be intently involved in their work, raptly attentive to a performance or demonstration, 1. Engagement eagerly asking questions, or actively collaborating. But en- Examining the quality of a classroom experience gagement can be quiet and prolonged as well. For example, through the lens of student learning, the fi rst thing arts as museum educator Rika Burnham explains, in a museum engaged educators look for is whether students are in their setting, “it’s about a sort of sustained engagement with a learning. At our sites and in most of our interviews, arts work of art, a deep focus.” Burnham sees this as central educators described engagement as both a necessary con- to the mission of museum education. “I believe that if we dition for and a strong indicator of a high quality arts could propose or posit that the engagement between the learning experience. person and the real work of art is at the center of museum As Bill Strickland, president and CEO of Manches- education, then museum teaching would move into the ter Craftsmen’s Guild, put it, when you walk into a high center of museum education where it should be.” quality arts learning setting, “you see a good environment that’s engaging and stimulating. You feel excitement “in 2. Purposeful Experiences Creating or Engaging with the room” and you see engagement on the part of the fac- Works of Art ulty and the kids.” Many others spoke of feeling a hum or In our discussion of foundational questions in Chap- a buzz of energy and focused engagement, an immediate ter 4, we take note of a long-standing dichotomy between sense that everyone is genuinely absorbed in, and focused (creating art objects, performing works by others, making on, the work at hand. A number of people we spoke with (engaging looking or creating original performances) and ow referred to Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of fl (1990). To with works of visual or performed art) in arts education. ow, to become absorbed in the task at hand, experience fl The debate associated with this dichotomizing is discussed to lose oneself in a creative experience, is for these arts in Chapter 4. While the settings we visited did not all educators an irreducible part of what constitutes quality place the same relative emphasis on making and looking, arts learning. most embraced both activities as essential to broad and The roots of engagement are varied, though focus deep learning in the arts and to artistic development in and absorption are its abiding characteristics. When works the young. Some of our sites (e.g., the Find Yourself at the of art and the materials are intentionally compelling and Met program for teens at New York’s Metropolitan Mu-
43 31 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts seum of Art) focus exclusively on engaging with works this caliber of assignment that draws students into full en- gagement with their work. Project-based learning at Stu- of art and providing powerful arts learning experiences dio in a School, as at so many of the other sites we visited, through close observation and rich interpretive explora- provides the opportunity for students to spend time with tions of those artworks. Walking into most high quality a problem, to work directly with materials in an attempt arts education settings reveals students deeply engaged in to explore the problem, and to value their own sense of looking, making or – as is often the case, given the or- discovery and pursuit of answers in the process. The ele- ganic relationship between the two activities – engaged ment of time is noted as a quality in our discussion of the in both at once. environment lens, but it is highly relevant here as well. Making art involves a complex set of processes. As Projects take time for sustained and in-depth exploration described by senior staff at Studio in a School in New cult to protect in most school settings. – time that is diffi York City, these involve experimenting, drawing on many experiences from a multiplicity of angles, demonstrating, 3. Emotional Openness and Honesty discussing, refl ecting, exploring, discovering, and, fi nally, A frequent characteristic noted for a high quality exhibiting or performing. A full discussion of these phases setting was that it is a “safe space.” Safety, as we will fur- and micro-processes of making art is beyond the scope of ther explore in discussing respect and trust in the lens of this report. It is important to note, however, that many community dynamics, is considered basic to arts learning. of those we interviewed were able to discern quickly the But why? Is there danger implicit in arts learning experi- processes and phases of a given art-making experience; ences? they could readily see how the immediate moment of Obviously, when working with power tools, toxic work fi t into the longer arc of making a work of art. chemicals, or extreme physical movements, physical safe- In this way, the experience of making art in a for- of a high quality arts setting. But most ty is a sine qua non mal arts learning setting has many of the characteristics of these educators were also clearly talking more about of project-based learning. Project-based learning has had the emotional demands and opportunities of arts learn- a long history in American educational practice with its ing. They want their students to feel “safe” with their roots in John Dewey’s educational ideas and the theory feelings of embarrassment, frustration, vulnerability, or and practice of William Heard Kilpatrick. Beattie (2006) joy in the work, as well as to have their own powerful refers to authentic open-ended project-based tasks as emotional responses to the works of others. “rich” complex problems with historical, contemporary, Both activities – looking and making – engage stu- and personal relevance, ones that typically require inte- dents in the emotional and intellectual dimensions of ar- grating understanding from several perspectives. These tistic experience. Indeed, there was little attention given projects result in a wide range of outcomes, rather than in to dichotomizing thought and feeling during our site visits. a template product. Such projects address problems that Rather, our interviewees seemed simply to acknowledge are messy and ambiguous and that often call for explora- and embrace as a given that serious, intentional engage- tion and just plain “mucking around.” Projects build over ment in making or experiencing works of art would likely time, involving many drafts and revisions (these are not have both strong emotional intellectual dimensions. and one-shot activities), and they usually culminate in a sig- Indeed, when discussing what quality looks like “in the nifi cant presentation, performance, or exhibition. room,” many people talked about the centrality of ‘big’ Thomas Cahill, President of Studio in the School, ideas, ideas that felt important to students and teach- told us that the best art-making projects make students ers alike, that everyone came to care about and to see act and feel like artists. He suggested that this is made as highly relevant to them and to the world, at the same possible when students “have such a high quality prob- time that they acknowledged the emotional intensity of lem, question, or prompt that they don’t even know that much of the work in which students were engaged. they’re working on something that you gave them.” It is To enter the room and immediately sense the emo-
44 32 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts tional intensity of the work going on was considered by ing toward mastery to exploring new possibilities and many as an indicator of the quality of the experience. This experimenting with different approaches. Antonio was emotional dimension had at least two sources. First, the nd what these constantly trying out new moves, both to fi challenges of developing an adequate level of technique dancers could do and to discover what would satisfy his for performance that is demanded by any art form gener- artistic intentions. ates strong feelings, whether in the visual arts studio or the This rehearsal was like a giant laboratory of artistic rehearsal room. The second source of powerful emotional investigators. The nature of the inquiry was complex and experiences is the subject matter of so many works of art. multi-dimensional, and included physical, emotional, The intention of so much art is to provoke strong feelings. intellectual, personal, social, and aesthetic aspects. The A class engaged with works of art in which nobody had dancers were all working beyond their previous realms cant emotional reactions would not be high in qual- signifi of experience and had ventured into new dimensions as ity. Given the likelihood and centrality of strong emotions dancers and as people. They were deeply engaged, thor- in a high quality arts experience, it is no surprise that so oughly committed, and more than a little off-balance due many of those we interviewed spoke about the importance to the novelty of this work and the learning demands be- of emotional safety in these settings. ing made on them. These young dancers were having a thoroughly 4. Experimentation, Exploration, and Inquiry authentic and high quality arts learning experience; they Many of our interviewees spoke of the intensity of were engaged in the making of a dance as part of their arts learning as inquiry and exploration and of how many arts education. We saw scenes of similar intensity in arts settings have almost a laboratory atmosphere, and we each of the sites we visited. Our observations revealed observed these qualities in a number of sites. An evening students engaged in real work (authentic problems and dance rehearsal in St. Louis provided a provocative look assignments) and real learning (ventures into new realms at this element of arts learning. A group of teen dancers of experience and the development of capacities to engage at COCA, a multi-arts organization that works both in with ever-broader aspects of the world). schools and in its own facility, was rehearsing a new dance choreographed by Antonio Douthit, an alumnus of that 5. Ownership program. Since leaving St. Louis just after high school, Part of the character of deep engagement in learning Antonio became a member of the Alvin Ailey Dance is a personal investment in the work at hand. But espe- Company in 2004. When he decided to try choreograph- cially in schools or other settings of mandatory learning, ing his own works, he chose to come back to COCA to cult (especially as children get older and/or it can be diffi rst piece. create his fi learning becomes more challenging) to get young people The intensity of the work of these 15 dancers was to “own” their learning – to invest in it with energy and electric. In each corner, dancers were practicing steps and commitment and to take responsibility for the relative sequences of movement; some worked with Antonio’s success of their efforts. This is what educators refer to as assistant, another dancer from the Ailey company, and student-driven or student-centered learning. Working on others were being taught new moves by Antonio. The a project of one’s own or as part of an ensemble or team dancers were trying to master the moves, but also to un- provides a basic situation which has the promise of reward- derstand the feeling Antonio was hoping for, looking for ing a sense of ownership, commitment, and responsibility. the meaning of the piece. It was an intense individual and But how do students come to make that commitment? collective exploration of the possibilities of movement What encourages them to decide to invest themselves in for expressing and communicating feeling and meaning the challenging work of arts learning? – among the dancers, between the dancers and choreog- “I always look for a quality of invitation over instruc- rapher, and between the dancers and an audience. But tion, not dragging someone to do it,” Aline Hill-Reiss, there was a constant shifting back and forth, from work- director of programs for Studio in a School, told us about
45 33 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts observing teaching-artists in their programs. “Inviting nished” prod- to adults intervening to create a more “fi students to come along because it’s going to be a wonder- nished uct. According to O’Doherty, focusing on more fi ful journey. You see the kids going at it enthusiastically, products would interfere with real rigor and the authentic making their own discoveries... the artist circulating, be- development of the intern’s ownership of his or her own ing a coach. Not telling them what to do, not making sug- understanding, technique, skills, and agency. gestions, but helping them to see possibilities and guiding Rhonda Thacker, former intern and now a trainer at them in the making of decisions.” This kind of guidance, AMI, spoke movingly of the signifi cance of meeting the like many forms of mentorship, encourages students to senior artists at Appalshop when she began as an intern move beyond just “doing the assignment” and toward almost ten years ago. She was amazed by the seriousness taking full responsibility for – owning – their work. with which she was treated by them. “They were all just Elizabeth Barrett, Tom Hansell, and Herb E. Smith, instant role models, life changing. They were all just big- all veteran documentary fi lmmakers, members of the Ap- ger than life to all of us. So many of the kids came out of palshop collective, in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and men- lmmakers... Just having the the program wanting to be fi tors to young artists at the Appalachian Media Institute, fi lmmakers come down and give critiques on the work Appalshop’s youth program, have given extensive thought and show interest and take time from their day and all of to their roles and responsibilities as mentors. Like the that just added to this whole positive experience, I think. Studio in a School teaching-artists, these artist-mentors And just feeling welcomed at Appalshop, not feeling like are very clear about their belief that their students are art- a token program or something.” ists working on their own projects. As mentors, they may When engaged in this way, students develop a great share technical experience and try to be available to dis- deal of authority over their work and bring much more lmmak- cuss the issues and challenges that the younger fi of their own thought and experience to it. As a result ers are encountering, but they do not interfere in their ar- they make many personal connections, have to make de- tistic decisions. They treat these young people as they do cisions, and accept responsibilty for their artistic choices. any fellow artist – with complete respect for their artistic Since their work will likely be shared publicly, the burden process and the critical importance of owning one’s work. of this responsibility is very real, exacting a kind of rigor Rebecca O’Doherty, AMI program director, underscores that is extremely demanding. When students are experi- the importance of mentoring the interns through diffi - encing a strong sense of ownership of their work, the risks cult moments in the creative process – as an alternative cant, but the rewards make them worth it. may be signifi
46 34 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts ing. When asked to describe what this actually looks like Quality as Seen Through the Lens – how you know it when you see it – we were told that it was teaching that involved the learners in actual artistic of Pedagogy processes (rehearsal, improvisation, and critique, for ex- For many people who walk into a classroom, stu- ample) or the kind of serious study of works of art that dio, or rehearsal hall, it is the teacher who captures their historians, critics, and curators do. In a program for high immediate attention. This may not be surprising, since school students at the Museum of Modern Art in New teachers are often trying to capture students’ attention. York City, for example, students in the Museum Studies But just as often, a teacher’s deep work is neither fl ashy class not only meet with and learn from professionals in and attention-grabbing or even very visible at all. Of virtually every department of the museum, but are given course, much of what teachers do is in the design of a responsibility for curating and mounting an exhibition of lesson, the preparation of the room, or the gathering of student art work. In other words, authentic arts learning materials – all activities that take place before students looks like artists and arts professionals doing what they ever come through the door. Yet all aspects of teaching do in their work (as opposed to students doing “school – planning, the moments of classroom interaction, and art”). assessment – are part of what the lens of pedagogy reveals, Our interviewees also felt that students are more whether these aspects are immediately visible in the likely to engage in arts learning experiences when there classroom or are felt more than seen in the fl uid activity, are real reasons for doing so, including real payoffs and ongoing actions and comments, and rich engagement of real risks. Lissa Soep, education director of Youth Radio, students. sees authenticity of purpose as fundamental. She collabo- Each of these four lenses reveals enormous variations rates with young people to make radio shows about is- in what the elements actually look like, given different ages sues that are meaningful for them – shows that are aired of the students and different art forms. Making learning publicly and often nationally. “Students are more able to relevant for fi rst graders is different from relevancy for fully invest themselves in arts experiences when the work high school students. The list we propose here includes has an authentic purpose,” she explains, “and when they the characteristics of quality most often named by our themselves have been involved in shaping the patterns or interviewees. Again, none of these lists are meant to be purposes of their work. Having a purpose for making art taken as complete or absolute. It is certainly possible to gives it a sense of urgency that drives the work, making imagine high quality arts teaching that has few of these learning more intense and engaged, more real.” qualities but that demonstrates other great strengths not Authentic arts education for kindergarten students captured here at all. That said, the following fi ve elements would differ in many ways, but some of the basic char- represent a sample of the qualities of teaching we heard acteristics are similar – e.g., the importance of showing discussed most frequently: one’s work through performances and exhibits, the im- • Authenticity portance of expressing personal meanings, and the need • Modeling artistic processes, inquiry, and habits for responses to one’s work in order to keep growing and • Participation in the learning experience developing as an artist. Making learning relevant and connected to • Finally, some of the discussion we heard about au- prior knowledge thenticity embraced not only the authenticity of the ar- exibility, and transparency Intentionality, fl • tistic processes and purposes, but also the honesty of the myriad ways in which the teacher is a person in the class- 1. Authenticity room. Michael Cirelli, executive director of Urban Word Across virtually all of the comments we collected NYC, told us of one of the messages he tries to communi- about the nature of high quality teaching in the arts were cate to the program’s teaching-artists, “I tell teachers, ‘Do statements about the authenticity of excellent arts teach-
47 35 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts you fi rst.’ In other words, teachers must be authentic in break dancing events around the world. While he tries how and what they teach.” Considering the importance to schedule his teaching around his professional respon- of the authenticity of a teacher as a person, that what sibilities, this isn’t always possible. But he and the Arts they do is consistent with their values and their integrity, Corps staff feel that his professional work – and the se- with ‘who they are’ as a person, Cirelli noted the ability riousness with which he treats his commitments and his of young people to detect inauthenticity. “Kids can sniff own training and preparation – is an important aspect of it out.” what Aparis ‘teaches’ his middle school students, who are at an age at which models of discipline, rigor, and success 2. Modeling Artistic Processes, Inquiry, and Habits for young men in the arts is especially important. How important is it to expose students to models of artistic inquiry? To what degree is artistic inquiry an 3. Participation in the Learning Experience authentic dimension of artistic work? Some, like Susan When we asked about student learning, we heard Sollins, executive producer of Art:21, think it is vitally about the importance of students being engaged in in- important. quiry – active investigation of ideas, issues, feelings, aes- ...one of the astounding things is how the artists in the thetics, and aspects of human experience. We heard also [Art:21 television] series are invested and involved and about the importance of teachers actively participating in knowledgeable and are investigating so many different inquiry as a characteristic of high quality. elds... They are reading, and using the computer, [and] fi bringing [together] all this information... I don’t think by When both students and teachers are engaged in and large what artists really do is recognized or transmitted inquiry, their experiences become aligned and they learn by our teachers... The whole issue of artists being informa- side-by-side. For example, as a museum educator in the tion eaters and experimenters is brought forward [in our se- ries] and that’s really very important. Find Yourself at the Met program, Rika Burnham believes In this sense, artists and arts educators serve as mod- that educators can and should “engage in the practice of el artists, social role models, and model learners. Laura contemplating art both as a teacher and as a student. I Chapman states that quality teachers also model a pas- think that when you teach in the galleries with a work of sionate and inquiry-based approach to art making, “Good art you’re being taught by the work of art and by the stu- teachers leave students with a desire to learn more and dents at the same time that you’re making possible their some skills to continue that learning. They model and experience.” instill a certain passion for asking questions and exploring It can also mean making art along with students. ideas in the absence of rewards for doing so.” collegial pedagogy to describe stu- Lissa Soep uses the term According to Cynthia Weiss, visual artist and school dents and arts professionals collaboratively creating works partnerships manager at Columbia College Chicago, the of art: “It’s interdependent where neither party could fi n- work of other artists can also serve as models for students. ish the work independently; it adds a different kind of “A really strong work of art can scaffold children’s learn- ingredient than an apprenticeship model.” In this sense, ing and move them really far along... ‘Look at what other Soep sees the educator/arts professional facilitating learn- are standards that artists have done.’ Aim high. There ing through instruction, but also “entering the creative you can name and put out there and show models of and space with kids, putting their own creativity on the line have students try to reach.” alongside the young person’s.” At Arts Corps in Seattle, a break dance class is taught Todd Snead, a site coordinator for the Sound Learn- to middle school students by a local professional, Jerome ing program in Atlanta, addressed the deep interconnec- Aparis. As a teacher, Jerome is patient and generous, yet tions between teachers’ and students’ ways of participat- demanding. As an artist, he pushes himself hard and, at ing in authentic arts practices. “Someone once told me 23, his discipline has been rewarded with impressive suc- that when teaching, your job is not to be a band director, cesses. He travels extensively for his work as a member of but to love music and to show your kids how much you the Massive Monkees crew, performing and competing in love it and how you love it. And I think when kids are
48 36 Learning As Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts engaged in a great musical experience... when the artist is one of the key purposes of arts education mentioned is basically baring her soul and giving all her energy to in the previous chapter. One way to do this is to provide the performance, kids see it, and I think kids feel it. And high quality tasks that invite sustained engagement. that’s why they come to it.” Another way is to look for links or to think creative- Amanda Dargan, education director at City Lore in ly and metaphorically about links between things stu- New York City, suggested that she can recognize a high dents know about and things they don’t. Often new ideas quality residency when she spends time in the room and challenge students’ prior understandings; while some- “everyone is learning.” Dargan adds that “everyone” in- times they build on them neatly. But connecting some- cluded not only students, but their teachers, too, includ- thing new to an existing thread of knowledge isn’t always ing the classroom teacher and the teaching artist, as well easy or straightforward for students, and a teachers’ role as parents and herself. in helping students make these links can be crucial. For example, elementary classroom teacher Kristin Poteet 4. Making Learning Relevant and Connected to Prior describes how she helps students make connections with Knowledge visiting musicians from the Sound Learning program in Many arts educators believe that a mark of excel- Atlanta: “I want to be there. I want to be the scaffolding lence in arts teaching is the ability to create links be- between what students are hearing and experiencing and tween arts learning and students’ own lives – their social what I know they know, because I think that’s where you and cultural contexts, their needs, their expressive lan- truly can take things to the next level – where you can guages, their background knowledge, their interests and say, ‘Remember when we talked about this? That’s how activities. Our interviewees stated that students are more it connects with this.’ Because sometimes children can’t likely to be engaged when the arts experience is relevant make those connections on their own. When you spend to their lives and when it connects to things they care so much time... with a child, you really understand their about. In part this is simply common sense: people tend background knowledge.” nd personally meaning- to engage with things that they fi ful. But engagement isn’t only created by tapping into 5. Intentionality, Flexibility, and Transparency students’ existing interests and contexts, though this can In Chapter 5 we discuss the many decisions teachers be crucially important. As Kristin Congdon points out, make before entering ‘the room’ to teach – notably issues “good teachers know how to draw students in – to make of goals, design, materials, and works of art to feature – content relevant to students’ lives.” Making work rele- and then the many decisions made once in ‘the room’ and vant to students’ lives can take many forms, from design- facing the reality of a particular group of young people on ing projects that respect students varied approaches to a particular day. Once a class has started, lightning-speed learning and cultural experiences, to choosing culturally choices are made, often overturning much of the plan relevant problems and tasks, to helping students make that had been so well worked out in advance. This dy- connections to their own background knowledge. namic is hardly unique to arts education, but the richness Our conversations with interviewees led us to be- and complexity of art works and artistic processes present lieve that there are a couple of points to keep in mind so many possibilities for exploration that it can often be rst is to avoid a when thinking about relevancy. The fi impossible to predict the best path for a particular group narrow conception of relevance – the idea that making in advance. something relevant to students is simply a matter of fi nd- When discussing what high quality arts teaching ing out what students are interested in, like, soccer or looks like “in the room,” this combination of intention- basketball or hip-hop, and then matching it to a topic or ality and fl exibility was frequently noted. Being well activity. Though this can be a good thing to do, the arts prepared with clear goals and intentions for a class was can play a signifi their expand cant role in helping students considered critical, but being able to know when to let go interests and see beyond their own contexts. Indeed, this of one’s plan and follow the interests and needs of the mo-
49 37 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts ment was equally important. Several people noted that of the teacher’s intentions, actions, and responses was also this balance of preparedness and spontaneity is natural to noted as a sign of high quality teaching. Clear expecta- many arts teachers, since it so clearly echoes what artists tions, plans, goals, and standards were discussed as being must do in their work. Indeed, we heard that you could especially helpful to learners. In order to give themselves actually see teachers “listening” to their students, both in over to a learning experience – to prepare for engagement how they took time to stop and pay attention to what stu- – students need to know in a broad sense why they are dents were saying and doing, but also in how they would doing what they are doing and what’s expected of them. sometimes then shift their next ‘moves’ as the teacher/fa- As dance educator Sara Lee Gibb points out, this is espe- cilitator of the work. cially important for younger learners. “So often students Being prepared was not only an issue of planning a don’t perform as well because they think, ‘well what does c session, but extended to include the full design of specifi she want me to do, or what am I supposed to do?’ An the course, workshop, or project. It even broadened out excellent teacher will provide [transparent purposes] and further. Johnny Saldaña, professor of theater at Arizona it will be so clear that the students will just go for it and State University, spoke of excellent teachers “having a really become engaged with the problem or the material mental rolodex of diverse pedagogical/artistic philoso- or whatever is the context that day.” phies at one’s disposal.” This requires a deep background We heard this from students as well as adults. At in both the arts and education and is not easily or quickly COCA in St. Louis, one student we spoke with explained developed. Sometimes co-teaching is so valuable because her deep commitment to her classes and her own ideas a team can bring together expertise from more domains, about what constitutes high quality arts teaching: The teachers have high expectations. They don’t set it so when each partner does not have deep experience in all high that you can’t do it, but the teachers... if they know you of them. With Saldaña’s ‘mental rolodex,’ teachers can at can do it, they’re not going to settle for less. They’re taking once be orderly and structured, yet responsive, spontane- an interest in your art so you can think about how to better yourself. You don’t want to go lower; you want to go higher. ous, and fl exible to what students bring to the work. You give because you get so much. I am getting so much In addition to paying close attention to students in from the teachers, and now I can give it to the next genera- order to read them as clearly as possible, the transparency tion. I feel that’s a good teacher.
50 38 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts lenses of learning and teaching. It is also important to Quality as Seen Through the Lens note that in naming this lens, we use to refer community to all of the various settings in which arts learning may of Community Dynamics occur – rehearsal halls, performance settings, art studios, When asked to describe salient characteristics one museum galleries, community sites, and more. might observe in a quality arts learning experience, many 1. Respect and Trust Among All Participants, Along interviewees shared thoughts about the dynamics of the With a Belief in Student Capacities. community in the learning setting – the ways in which Reading Shakespeare’s plays is a challenge for just people treat each other, learn with and from each other, about everyone. Learning them well enough to perform and feel about being together. Most often, these ideas them without a script is exponentially more challenging. featured strongly in conversations about creating a safe For the teen actors participating in Will Power to Youth learning space built on trust and respect and in which stu- in Los Angeles, this is their job. They are employed by dents are enabled to be creative and to experiment, both the program and get their paycheck for being actors. It as artists and as people. and in which students are enabled doesn’t seem to take them very long to realize that this to be creative and to experiment, both as artists and as may not be the easiest way to make a buck. What we saw, people. The centrality of relationships in high quality arts however, when we observed a rehearsal, was a group of learning was a theme resonant across many interviews on teens who were exhibiting many of the signs of a highly our site visits; the development of healthy relationships functional team working under serious deadline pressures among all participants in the experience was also seen – their performance before 1,000 people at an education as critical to the quality of the learning experience. We conference was only two rehearsals away. They were pa- heard, too, repeated references to arts learning communi- tient with each other, supportive, responsive to their di- ties as “a family” or as “a home away from home,” both rector, disciplined, frustrated at moments, but committed in relation to school programs, like the art department at to their work. New Trier High School, and in out-of-school programs, It seems the high stakes of this authentic learning like Will Power to Youth, AMI, Marwen, and others. experience were the catalyst of that all-too-rare phenom- From these discussions of relationships, safety, and enon – the creation of a community. Many of the people community, we identifi ed three elements that emerged ed a palpable sense of community we spoke with identifi with frequency and intensity: in the learning space as an important and observable ele- • Respect and trust among all participants, along ment of a quality arts learning experience. But high func- with a belief in student capacities tioning teams and supportive communities do not simply Open communication • form; they have to be born in the heat of some shared Collaboration • commitment, challenge, and/or identity. The authentic- While these elements by no means comprise a com- ity found in much high quality arts teaching and learning plete map for designing a positive social climate in a class- provides a powerful environment for forming communi- room or workshop, those we spoke to deemed these most ties. But respect for and trust in the capacities of young critical – even foundational – to a quality arts learning people is the bedrock of these experiences. If the directors experience. Certainly we can begin to appreciate the sig- of Will Power to Youth did not deeply and profoundly cant role that social interaction – and the awareness nifi respect the capabilities of young people, they could never of the impact of the relational element in education – has have made the commitment to perform at a conference on the quality of an arts learning experience. many months prior to actually meeting the students with At this point, though, the intersections of the vari- whom they would be working on the performance. They ous elements across lenses become more obvious. For ex- dence that these young people could had to have confi ample, discussions of mentorship are as visible through handle the artistic challenges and the intense psychologi- the lens of community dynamics as they are through the
51 39 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts cal and social dynamics of performing in public. spoken word program that has closed since we conducted dence in their The students, too, had to have confi this study, provided opportunities for youth to work with teacher-directors and in each other. When a young per- peer and adult poets and space for them to perform their dence in him or herself son new to artistic work loses confi work. While poetic and performing arts skills and tech- (which happens with great regularity), they have to have niques were honed through TRTM, equally essential was some faith to fall back on. For many, this faith seems to be the emphasis placed on empowering youth to develop and found in the group’s support, kindness, high expectations, engage their self-awareness, their confi dence, and their and confi dence in them. voice. This process began with a fundamental respect for To engage fully in artistic work and learning – to a young person’s contributions. “There has to be a trust express ideas freely, to innovate, to explore unreservedly, in place and a belief in the assets in the room,” explains to receive and give honest critique – it is essential to be- former TRTM director Melissa Borgmann, “that there is lieve that one’s work and perspective will be respected intelligence, that there is promise, that there is magic.” and that the group is committed to one’s success. As Administrators, artists, and educators at TRTM Kristin Congdon puts it, “Good teachers are people who placed a high premium on youth voice and contribution really know how to respect students and to see them as to the learning experience. Stacey, a teaching artist at knowledge-bearers and not as people who are empty ves- TRTM, noted that “It’s not ‘I’ll show you how to do this, sels.” Respectful teaching allows for mistakes and shows here’s how you write fi ction, here’s how you write poetry,’ genuine interest in students’ ideas, interests, and back- it’s valuing what each student is bringing to the table, ground knowledge. Many people we spoke with talked respecting the student as expert.” When educators model passionately about how the quality of students’ arts learn- this genuine trust, it is infectious. Students who feel re- ing experiences depends upon their being a member of a spected by their adult mentors begin to trust and believe classroom community in which they are valued as artists, in each other – the foundation of a community of shared, as students, and as human beings. open learning. Many also noted respectful student-to-student inter- At Marwen in Chicago, former student Paulina Ca- action as being a hallmark of quality. Its signs, they say, macho recalls being inspired by the technical ability of include students working at being mindful and coopera- her classmates and building relationships while sharing tive with one another, collaborating and supporting each tips about technique and how to achieve certain effects. other, and learning to appreciate each other in new ways. As those relationships developed and trust was built, stu- Further, trust and respect among adults in the classroom dents solicited each other’s feedback on other qualities is also considered important. Many educators, particu- of their work, more often or as frequently as they asked larly those involved in partnerships and collaborations, for teacher feedback. Just as teachers serve as models in place great emphasis on the presence of mutually respect- engaging arts learning experiences, so do students’ class- ful adult-to-adult relationships. One such relationship, mates. Johnny Saldaña describes the relationships he for example, is between a teaching artist and a classroom envisions: “I’m seeing from the learners a collective – a teacher. When visibly demonstrating respect for and in- community – that has been built.” terest in each others’ work, they convey to students the 2. Open Communication sense that the artist, the artwork, and the teacher are all In many ways, all work in the arts is, ultimately, important, increasing the likelihood that students will about perception (seeing, hearing, sensing), recognition, value the experience. and response. Arts education enjoys a beautiful align- In Minneapolis, as in Los Angeles and so many oth- ment in this regard – creating/perceiving works of art and er sites, our observations revealed the beautiful dynam- learning with and from other people are both activities ics of artistic communities of young people and adults. utterly dependent on open communication. Engagement Teens Rock the Mic (TRTM), a small, community-based with art works provides a powerful focus for sharing im-
52 40 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts portant thoughts and feelings. Listening in this context tunities for both individuals and the group to address the issue of responsibility for one’s actions. In those moments, is obviously as critical as speaking or sharing one’s work. the question of quality becomes particularly complex and And the communication in high quality arts learning delicate. What to do? Stop, potentially losing critical re- settings goes in all directions – among students, between hearsal time, and deal directly and openly with what was teachers and students, among teachers, and between ev- said and how it was heard? Or press on with rehearsal and eryone and works of art. The themes of communication hope that the fabric of the community won’t be irrepa- and dialogue emerged frequently in our interviews and rably torn? While either choice may be legitimate and the practice of careful listening was evident in our ob- could work out perfectly well, the very fact of the choice servations. In some cases communication was discussed poses a challenge to the group. as an integral part of behind-the-scenes work prior to or c setting, the best choice in a situation In any specifi outside of a class or workshop – for instance, teachers col- like this depends on the core purposes, values, and prin- laborating on lessons in advance, coordinators staying ciples of the program. Whatever the decision, creating in touch with logistical information. But dialogue in the and sustaining a community with open communication classroom – often verbal, but sometimes communicated among all members and with explicit acknowledgement more visually, as in many dance classes – was considered of the core values of honesty and respect was emphasized a cornerstone of quality. by most of our interviewees as essential to quality art edu- Ongoing and respectful dialogue – including rais- cation experiences. ing questions, offering ideas, considering others’ ideas, expressing feelings, sharing work, engaging in construc- 3. Collaboration ection on processes and products tive critique, and refl Each art form has its own possibilities and require- – were all noted as visible in quality arts classrooms and ments for both solo and group work. Whether in perform- indicators of the health of the classroom as a learning ing or visual arts, there are approaches that emphasize community. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, former director each in different ways. Musicians, dancers, and actors can of the Expanding the Walls program at Studio Museum perform solo or in ensembles. Visual artists can produce of Harlem and current education director at the Seattle work alone or in collaboration. Murals, installations, and Art Museum, discussed the cultivation of meaningful animations, for example, are often the work of a collec- dialogue by and with the teens as critically important in tive. But virtually all artistic enterprises, even the most the creation of a safe space where young men and women solo, like most poetry writing, for example, involve the are treated as adults and learn to engage in conversation participation of others at some point. In arts learning ex- about art and life from their own perspective and personal periences, the work always involves others. history. Teachers in this program do not “teach down” to Students spoke to us about the challenges and plea- the teens, says Dumont. Rather they “embrace the chal- sures of collaboration. To be part of a group that is func- lenging questions or problems that arise from the work tioning well is exciting and satisfying, providing an op- and lives of the teens. Teachers move through and be- portunity to make or engage with works of art in ways that yond challenges through dialogue.” are, quite simply, beyond the capacities of any individual. At Will Power to Youth and Urban Word, as well The feeling of being part of something bigger than oneself as several other programs, we heard conversations about offers an identity and sense of purpose to one’s efforts that the responsibility of each member of the community to helps many young people sustain commitment to their accept responsibility for his or her words and actions and own learning through their commitment to being a full to notice the effects she or he is having on others. At Will contributor to the work of the group. Power to Youth, we were told about specifi c moments in Teachers we spoke with emphasized the multiple which the pressures of upcoming performances led to values of collaboration. Louise Music, director of the Al- frustrations and words that hurt feelings, creating oppor- liance for Arts Learning Leadership in Alameda County,
53 41 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts California, spoke about these values, citing “making con- Tennen, Executive Director of Arts Connection in New nections between themselves and others, understanding ecting on his early work directing arts York City, refl about interdependence [and] the fostering of compassion. education programs, noted the deep ways in which the Those are life skills that we think all children, all of us, nature of the collaboration between adults creating arts need to develop, need to cultivate.” Others spoke of the uences students’ learning. programs infl It was really about how you create this conversation between authenticity of collaboration in doing artistic work and the artists and the teachers and all of those who were in still others discussed the interesting dynamics around the program to make this thing work better... It was getting ownership in collaborative efforts. There was general them to trust and getting them to talk openly about what their own concerns were in their classrooms, what their agreement that in walking into an arts classroom, studio, concerns were in the arts classroom, and what their goals or rehearsal hall, one of the most powerful indicators that were – what they wanted to get out of this... And so it was a high quality arts learning experience was occurring was conversation and team building between the artist and the teachers, between the teaching artists and the other teach- the nature of interaction among the students and the ing artists, between myself and the principals, because if the degree to which their work together was productive col- principal didn’t buy originally, it wasn’t going to happen... laboration. The quality of the arts experience really depends on the quality of the relationship between the classroom teacher Others spoke about how collaboration must take and the artist. place “outside the room,” as well as “in the room.” Steve
54 42 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts Quality as Seen Through the Lens of Environment of an old auditorium which had been converted to the lunch room. The lunch room was being cleaned during The environments in which arts learning experi- this class; the larger room was essentially a hallway with ences take place have both physical and cultural aspects. students and adults going back and forth; and there was no Many elements of the social dimension of an arts learning curtain separating the stage (classroom) from the rest of experience are addressed in the sections above on student the space. This was simply the only available space in the learning, pedagogy, and community dynamics. This envi- building open enough for dancing. While it could hardly ronmental lens reveals elements of the physical environ- qualify as a high quality physical environment, the lesson ment, including the actual space in which the learning was highly engaging to these young students, taught by takes place, the materials that are available, and the vis- a highly skilled, deeply committed teaching artist who ible display of artworks and art-making materials. In ad- seemed absolutely unbothered by the various distractions dition, we also include the temporal dimension as part of of the lunch room. the environment for this work and learning – the time The environment lens affords views of three primary available for the learning experience, including the length elements of quality identifi ed through our interviews and of individual sessions and the full term of a course or work- observations: shop. Functional and aesthetic space and materials • By and large, people in the interview strand did not The arts occupy a central place in the physical • speak extensively about the physical environment. This environment was not unexpected, as there were no interview questions • Suffi cient time for authentic artistic work that specifi cally asked about it, and people tended to talk 1. Functional and Aesthetic Space and Materials c setting. about art education generally, not about a specifi As already mentioned, the quality of an arts learning However, there were some exceptions. Ana Cardona, arts experience was seen as strongly linked to the authentic- education consultant to the Michigan State Department ity of the artistic processes in which students were en- of Education, stated that quality arts learning experiences gaged. Quality was also seen as linked to the authenticity require a permanent art education space, rather than the of the spaces and materials of those experiences. Again, proverbial “art on a cart.” And Bill Strickland stressed the though the physical spaces we visited were quite varied, need for a fi rst-rate facility for high quality arts education the concern for authenticity was common to all the sites and his conviction that students should have access to we visited. Everyone wanted to create at least some of the materials, equipment, facilities, and instructors that would aspects of an authentic work space for their young artists. satisfy professional artists in their own work. This may be accomplished with various means, sometimes The physical environment and materials were much comprehensive (fully professional dance studios with mir- more prominent aspects of our site visits. While detailed oors, and ballet barres, for example, or high- rors, sprung fl descriptions of the often multiple settings for teaching at tech photo studios with up-to-date software on high-end each of these sites is well beyond our capacity in this re- hardware and professional-level printers) and sometimes port, it is important to note that we saw classes in beautiful more minimalist (authentic and beautiful African drums, state of the art facilities, regular elementary school class- for example), but always with something that linked it rooms, gymnasiums in community centers, museums, and closely to professional practice. other wonderful and less-than-wonderful spaces. Everyone As noted earlier, physical safety is an issue in the arts agreed that the physical environment is tremendously im- and a basic dimension of quality – safe surfaces for dancing, portant, but the degree to which it is a central or featured adequate ventilation for working with paints and other aspect of the quality of the experience varies signifi cantly. materials with chemical bases, and so forth. Beyond safety, At an elementary school in St. Louis that worked in other dimensions of functionality were similarly consid- partnership with COCA, we observed a lesson on Afri- ered essential, including issues of lighting, sound, space for can dance. The class took place on the stage at one end
55 43 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts Art needs to be visible in the school. It’s exciting for me to free movement, running water for cleaning brushes, and know that the artwork in our halls came from our students. so on. Ric Waimer, a teaching artist with Opening Minds To me that’s something our students need to see as they go through the Arts (OMA) in Tucson, spoke about teach- ve years ago, from year to year... When I became principal fi I worked with the art department to catalog everything ing in less than ideal spaces. While acknowledging the hanging around this building. Then we looked at how to joy of excellent spaces, he suggested that, as a professional phase in and get rid of poster art and things that didn’t have mime artist, he had learned to “creatively adapt” to chal- a connection with us as an institution. Every year we add pieces... We put it up and have some signage with their lenging spaces. This, he said, had taught him and other names and graduation dates. Over the years we see more art artists how to “still rise to high quality within their work around the building... It really has come out of having the vision through the art department about what kind of feel- regardless of those physical constraints.” ing you are creating around the building... We had a retreat As noted, beyond functionality, a number of sites and we decided to have a day without art. They covered all had their own buildings and considered space to be one the art and we realized how much was in the building. of the most powerful pedagogical elements. In the pre- While we discussed the functionality and aes- schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, known all over the world thetics of these spaces in the last element, the presence for the striking quality of their children’s art work and the of art in these settings was both easy to see and explicitly aesthetic quality of their classrooms, teachers talk about important to most of the people with whom we spoke. In space as “the third teacher.” The architect of Marwen’s some settings, like New Trier High School and Marwen, new studio building, Dan Wheeler, said, “I want young both visual arts programs, it was a central element of the people [to have] their fi rst experience at Marwen, when learning experience. As Cindy Jaskowiak made clear, the they open the door, to be with good design.” As with all centrality of art in the space served multiple functions for of the museum-based education programs we observed, the students’ learning experience. the aesthetic of the physical spaces (buildings, studios, The presence of student work displayed on the walls performance spaces) were part of the invitation to and was a way of making the space welcoming and of sending inspiration of students and their parents. a message that the arts and student work are valued in All of this was true, too, of materials. Considerable this place. At Marwen in Chicago, explicit attention is thought, effort, and money was dedicated to gathering given to the fi rst moments of contact students have with excellent, high quality art supplies made available in safe, this after-school program when they walk in the building. functional, and attractive ways. Indeed, as with so many Teens choose to come to Marwen; many travel consider- of these elements, extensive study of the role of materials able distances to get there. The space has to be inviting – brushes, paints, paper, recycled materials, as well as mu- and compelling to make it a place these young people sical instruments, books, costumes, technology, and more want to spend their out-of-school time. From the outside, – is warranted. Certainly, art is made from a wide range Marwen looks like the old warehouse building that it is. of various materials and with many different tools and rst step in the front doors, one is drawn into But with the fi instruments. The dynamics of the relationship between a large, open gallery space with student work that is well the learners and these materials, tools, and instruments lit and beautifully displayed on the walls. The space has is at the core of artistic work and learning; the aesthetic a wide, open staircase in the middle, and one feels visu- dimension of that relationship is like a powerful magnet ally pulled in. The feet follow the eyes. It is a world that in that core. draws you in. rst things you see At many of these programs, the fi 2. The Arts Occupy a Central Place in the Physical and hear announce the identity of the program. This is Environment not limited to the visual arts. David Myers, founder of Cindy Jaskowiak, assistant superintendent for cur- Sound Learning in Atlanta, which focuses on music riculum and instruction at New Trier High School in learning in elementary schools, noted that music “is just Winnetka, Illinois, explained that art is everywhere in a part of the environment of the school.” The same is true their building:
56 44 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts of OMA schools. While acknowledging the diffi culty of sions. The “macro” level captures the extent, length, doing this in many public school settings, the presence of and sequencing of classes. Documents like the New York musicians coming and going as they perform and teach in City Blueprint for the Arts are powerful reminders of the the school, and the sights and sounds of students practic- potential scope and sequence of formal arts learning in ing in classrooms, hallways, the lunch room, and stairways schools and provide a wonderful macro view of what arts provides parents and children with a compelling sense of learning could be over 12 years. what counts and what’s cool to do at these schools. In In discussing the length and frequency of particular these ways, the space – what you see and hear and the courses, interviewees across sites indicated multiple ad- feeling you get from it as architecture and as a place of vantages of extended study in the arts, to afford oppor- activity – is meant to inspire students with the pleasures tunities both to study broadly across the arts and deeply and provocations of art. It also inspires parents to want within one art form. They noted that working over time their children to be learning in this exciting world and allows for important dimensions of artistic development to think of their children as capable of serious work and and learning, including the growth that comes from prac- signifi cant accomplishment in the arts. Indeed, in Tuc- tice and repeated efforts and the richness of cycles of mak- son, many parents have identifi ed schools with the OMA ing work, sharing it, and refl ecting on those experiences. program as the school of choice for their children. In this way, time also allows teachers and students to con- The display of student work or pictures of children sider the effectiveness of particular artistic choices and studying and practicing the arts is also a way many of to make revisions. Adequate time also allows students’ these educators demonstrate their belief in the value and artistic ambitions to expand; extended time for projects quality of what students do as young artists. It is, of course, means an opportunity to ‘think big.’ affi rming to display student work. But these displays also In Dallas, an ambitious effort to address the artistic provide the opportunity for an open dialogue about what needs of the young people of the entire city is underway young artists can achieve, what the standards of excel- through the auspices of Big Thought, an organization lence are in this setting, and, of course, about the subject dedicated to promoting creative learning in the lives of matter of the works themselves and what they provoke us children. Recognizing that parents and children have di- to think about. So, in entering these arts learning spaces, verse interests and needs related to learning in the arts, the arts suffuse the environment music may be playing both in and out of school, Big Thought grapples with the or, alternately, there might be the intriguing silence of breadth of these purposes and opportunities. In a sense, a group in focused, almost meditative work on a project. their work addresses the question of what real access to The walls may have student art works or the works of both broad and deep arts learning might look like if sys- more experienced artists. There may also be quotations tematically undertaken across a city throughout childhood from artists, sheets of chart paper with notes from previ- and adolescence. This very “macro” view of the time of ous classes to remind the group of its earlier work, and arts learning for young people is, indeed, something big to bulletin boards with the posters and fl iers for local perfor- think about. Given its ambitious purposes, Big Thought’s mances, auditions, and other classes or workshops. What- perspective on quality arts learning experiences may only ever the presence of the arts may be, the degree to which be fully achieved when children in the city of Dallas can it is intentional, aesthetically presented, and representa- have meaningful arts learning experiences throughout all cant tive of what happens in that setting will have a signifi of their young years. impact on the character and quality of the learning expe- Virtually all of the elements of student learning and rience students have there. teaching that we have discussed in this chapter (artistic exploration, emotional openness, the development of a 3. Suffi cient Time for Authentic Artistic Work sense of ownership, and refl ective practices, for example) Arts learning experiences lasting more than one are dependent on adequate time. This is true, too, at the class have both “macro” and “micro” temporal dimen-
57 45 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts micro level – the time available within a particular class ses- on what we heard in the course of this study and to suggest sion. The length of the session and the plan for how much the richness and multi-dimensionality of the characteristics to do within that time infl uence the speed and depth of the of excellence as described to us during this research. work, as well as the nature of the interactions. A number As noted at the start of this chapter, to take these ele- of our interviewees talked about the importance of slow- ments as a check-list on quality in arts education would be ing down and ‘taking time.’ The speed of so much regular missing our point. Ideas about what constitutes quality can classroom work in schools was noted as leading to superfi cial and should vary across settings, depending on the purposes engagement with subject matter and consequent student and values of the program and its community. Further, these boredom. On both the micro and macro levels, one of the ideas about the nature of quality, as we heard reported in lessons of participation in the arts as maker-perceivers may many of our site visits, are likely to change and evolve over well be that the arts often don’t yield up their greatest gifts time; this is probably a sign of the health of the program. to speed. Unlike some other enterprises in our contemporary Certainly, it is desirable for standards and expectations to lives, in the context of artistic experience, the fastest are not be raised over time as a program’s capacity to provide excel- always the richest. lent arts learning opportunities increases. Evidence of the Time also allows deeper social experiences and stron- strengthening of that capacity is the development of a more ger bonds to form among participants. Several interviewees nuanced conception of quality, a clearer articulation of the spoke of the advantage time gave them in getting to know program’s ideas about what constitutes quality in that set- their students through watching them work and studying ting, and a broader conversation among all members of the the work they produced and, thus, being able to better gauge program’s community about the question of quality. their progress. Indeed, fi guring out how to help a student We remind our readers that our lenses are intended as takes considerable artistic and pedagogical experience, but tools, like glasses, to help us see and focus on specifi c aspects gure out, though interactions and it can also take time to fi of a very complex phenomenon – groups of young people and experiences together, how to approach and talk with young their teachers actively engaged in arts learning experiences. artists and what their interests, standards, and ambitions We offer the diagram below as one way to hold the idea of might be. Time is an essential ingredient in the soil in which these lenses in mind when walking into an arts classroom or artistic identity, sophistication, and accomplishment grow. when opening dialogue with colleagues about the nature of quality arts learning; detailed suggestions on how to use this The Elements as Evidence of Quality tool are provided in Chapter 6. The lenses help focus on elements of quality. To see and name observable elements of The elements of quality discussed in this chapter are quality is to take an important step toward articulating what meant to provide a useful reference point for arts educators counts as evidence of powerful arts education. That is criti- to provoke investigations into the nature of high quality arts cal both in improving what is offered and in evaluating those learning experiences in their own settings. Undertaking that offerings. In time, just as with new glasses, we hope these task will quickly reveal the myriad limitations of the ele- lenses prove more helpful than disorienting. ments described here. Once more, we reiterate that we offer this articulation of these elements of quality both to report
58 46 Learning as Seen Through Four Lenses The Elements of Quality Arts Four Lenses on Quality Diagram 1 : Environment Student Learning Community Pedagogy Dynamics
59 PART II: Q Q Q Q Achieving and Sustaining Quality
61 49 Foundational Questions CHAPTER 4: FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS No Guarantees of Quality section continue that examination and then explore how arts educators seek to achieve and sustain quality in their into an arts work- EVERY TIME A CHILD WALKS classes and programs through the decisions they make, shop or classroom, there is the possibility that she will addressing our second and third research questions: have a powerful learning experience. Certainly, this is • How do practitioners and policy makers achieve what all arts educators hope for, yet it is a possibility only and sustain quality arts learning experiences for sometimes realized. The quality of any experience – edu- young people? cational or otherwise – depends on so many factors that Which decision makers and decision points may be • excellence is impossible to guarantee.Yet tremendous ef- critical to ensuring quality in arts education? fort goes into exactly that: attempts to guarantee a high There are countless steps arts educators take to quality learning experience. Attempts are made to iden- achieve their visions of quality arts learning. Given the tify the conditions that will set the mood or heighten the natural limits of any study, we felt we had to choose one focus of the experience (the physical environment, social critical aspect of these many approaches that we thought relations, a compelling focus, and so on). But the condi- could both reveal some of the real mechanisms of the tions can often be more challenging than ideal. process of pursuing quality and provide an entry point That’s why decisions about how to create a high for those wishing to become more analytic in their ef- quality learning experience can be so diffi cult, revolving forts to improve the quality of their own programs. These around a dizzying series of questions. Which conditions research questions reveal our explicit choice to examine are most important? What resources can be put into pre- the role of decisions in the complex web of actors and ac- paring for this experience? Which elements can be con- tions that undergird quality arts learning experiences. trolled and which must we simply work with? Who can All too often, decision points are invisible – for ex- help? What should be the fi rst thing that happens? What ample, administrators may perceive their response to a next? And on and on. Whether for a class, a workshop, or funding shortage as a necessity rather than a decision; a rehearsal, countless decisions are made in preparing for students may not perceive engagement as a matter of the experiences students have. choice. The power of a focus on decision making is at As noted in Chapter 1, arts educators develop their least two-fold: It brings into relief choice points that oth- visions of quality over time and from diverse experienc- erwise may be missed, and it underscores the power of es. As the capacities of an educator and the program in decision makers at all levels to enhance the likelihood of which he or she works become more sophisticated, so do a high quality learning experience for all students. the possibilities of “upping the ante” and increasing the uences, ideas, and A complex set of conditions, infl ambition of the goals and mission adopted for a program. dispositions, as well as decisions, decision makers, and de- Simultaneously, then, the meaning of a high quality arts cision making processes interact in the creation of qual- learning experience evolves and achieving quality be- ity arts education. In these chapters, we examine some comes more demanding. As ideas about what constitutes persistent questions and challenges in efforts to achieve quality in arts learning evolve, the decisions made about quality in arts education, as well as some of the key deci- how to achieve that quality become increasingly impor- uencing quality of arts learning experiences and sions infl tant, complex, and nuanced. who makes those decisions. Chapter 4 focuses on four We have explored what informs and infl uences peo- questions that are addressed extensively in the arts educa- ple’s ideas about what constitutes quality and examined tion literature. These questions are so basic that, explic- two broad aspects of how people think about what consti- itly or implicitly, every program answers them early on in tutes quality in arts education: the purposes and the ele- the life of the program. In some settings, these questions ments of an arts learning experience. The chapters in this
62 50 Foundational Questions are regularly revisited; in others, they may well be consid- Other elements inform that identity – the “genesis story” ered fi rmly established “givens” once answered early on. of the program, for example – but answers to these ques- Chapter 5 explores the kinds of decisions that have an tions are basic to the life of the program and the nature of impact on quality, who makes these critical decisions, and the arts learning experiences that they provide. some aspects of effective decision making. In this chapter, we focus on the broad dimensions of these questions as discussed in the literature we reviewed. Foundational Issues in the Literature Obviously, this cannot be comprehensive. Our goal is to provide a short guide to the kinds of basic issues that arts Our review of the published literature in the fi eld of educators have been grappling with in relation to each of arts education revealed a series of issues that have been these questions and the cases that are made for different debated in recent decades by theorists and researchers, answers to these questions. Later in this section, as we ex- advocates, and practitioners. We came to think of these amine the kinds of decisions that infl uence the likelihood issues as foundational to the work of arts educators – is- of quality in arts learning experiences, these four founda- sues that have to be addressed when providing arts learn- tional questions become critical and defi ning decisions in ing experiences to young people. True to the nature of the life of a program and to the process of deciding what the literature of a fi eld, much of what we read was framed constitutes quality in that setting. in terms of debates and arguments with one writer chal- lenging the assumptions and positions of earlier writers or Who Should Teach the Arts? defending those of others. Some argue that the arts must be taught by arts spe- As noted in Chapter 2, we were surprised to encoun- cialists who deliver sequential, standards-based curricula. ter a far less argumentative tone in our interviews and site Others argue for teaching artists because of their greater visits. The people we talked with also spoke with strong domain expertise. Still others argue for generalist teach- feelings and care about these same foundational ques- ers because they can integrate the arts regularly into class- tions, but they did so more in the context of their current room instruction. Museums generally rely on volunteer thinking about the specifi c circumstances (the site visits) docents, and many schools routinely place parents from and/or in a generally expansive tone that embraced di- their communities into instructional roles. Variations in verse perspectives on these complex issues (the theorist the quality of these choices circle around priority, train- interviews). What was clear in all strands of the study is ing, and emphasis, not exclusivity. For example, we know that everyone grapples with these four questions: of no theorist or educator who argues that school chil- • should teach the arts? Who dren should be taught by arts specialists and never only • Where should the arts be taught? by teaching artists, that the arts should be taught in only • ? how should be taught and What stand-alone classes and never integrated into other sub- • How should arts learning be assessed ? jects, or that the arts should only be taught as integrated In the context of particular arts programs, answers to into the curriculum. From an international perspective, these questions and the establishment of basic purposes Bamford asserts in a UNESCO report (2006) that “qual- are essential elements of the identity of that program. As ity arts education tends to be characterized by a strong discussed in the previous section, visions of quality evolve partnership between the schools and outside arts and in relation to the purposes and values adopted by a pro- community organizations” (86). But in the US, there are gram. But “who we are” as a program – and, therefore, our real tensions in the fi eld about which of these approaches purposes – is deeply informed by how these questions are should be foregrounded. answered. In other words, who we teach, where we teach, what we teach, and what we take as evidence of learn- ing are, again, foundations of the identity of a program.
63 51 Foundational Questions The Case for Arts Specialists who understand how to work in conjunction with school and community resources: “An excellent arts program [is The Mandate one] in which arts specialists are key players, the school Many people believe that, like any subject taught community is actively involved, and the resources of the in public schools, the arts should be taught by qualifi ed city’s cultural community are maximized” (p. 1). For an- teachers who have had appropriate training. The No other example, some credentialing programs add a serious ects this belief and mandates Child Left Behind Act refl scholarly or research component, particularly at the mas- ed” teachers for all core subjects including “highly qualifi ter’s level, which is required for permanent, professional ed means that teachers the arts. The term highly qualifi certifi cation by many states (e.g., New England Conser- must have a bachelor’s degree, state certifi cation, and sub- vatory, http://mieatnec.org/blog/category/artist-teacher- ject matter competency for subjects they teach (Title IX, scholar/; Massachusetts College of Art and Design, http:// Part A, Section 9101). Some states (e.g., California, Mas- kate.massart.edu/at_massart/academic_prgms/graduate/ sachusetts, Michigan) also require a year of instruction at art_ed/mse.html). the high school level by a certifi ed specialist for gradua- tion, advanced status, or admission to state colleges and The Space and Material Needs of Arts Specialists universities (California Department of Education, 2007; ed teaching is supported by appropri- Highly qualifi Massachusetts Department of Education, 2008; MCL ate physical conditions. All arts can be taught well in 380.1278a, 2006). inadequate spaces, but many believe that a commitment to training arts specialists implies a commitment to pro- The Training of Arts Specialists viding teaching spaces that support the needs of the art Preparation for arts teaching requires a foundation form. For example, from sources such as New York City’s of general knowledge and expertise in both the art form Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts 2004 (http:// to be taught and in pedagogy. Typically, state departments schools.nyc.gov/offi ces/teachlearn/arts/blueprint.html) of education specify licensure requirements that establish and the Los Angeles County regional blueprint for arts cation, course content and distributions for teacher certifi education (Los Angeles County Arts Commission, 2002, and national accrediting bodies for higher education in http://www.lacountyarts.org/artsed/docs/artsedu_arts- uence on criteria for arts educa- the arts also exert infl forall09-02.pdf) we can draw the following recommenda- tion specialists (e.g., National Council for Accreditation tions for ideal conditions: of Teacher Education; Council of Arts Accrediting As- All arts classes should have networked computers • sociations). Typical requirements for the distribution of loaded with appropriate software and projection arts and pedagogical courses are fairly similar across in- capabilities. Dance should be taught on sprung stitutions and states. A pre-service program for visual arts fl oors and the studio should have mirrors and specialist teachers in Massachusetts, for example, requires barres on at least one wall. The space should not around 130 hours of coursework, distributed among peda- be a gym facility, since athletes who wear shoes do gogy courses (about 40 to 50 hours), including a two or oor cushioning that barefoot dancers not need the fl three-term practicum sequence of observations and su- require. pervised internships; work in the art form itself (20 to 30 Theater needs a space with lighting and sound • hours); history of the art form (20 to 30 hours); and “criti- equipment, storage for properties, costumes, lights, cal studies” (a liberal arts-like course distribution – about and fl ats, shop facilities for building and displaying 20 hours). backdrops; dressing rooms with mirrors for actors, Some states reach further. For example, New York able stages. and modifi City’s 2004 Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts • Music needs soundproof individual and ensemble (http://schools.nyc.gov/offi ces/teachlearn/arts/blueprint. practice spaces; storage for instruments, risers, mu- html) specifi es that excellence requires arts specialists sic stands, and scores; and computer labs with
64 52 Foundational Questions The Case for Teaching Artists keyboard capability and composing software. Visual arts needs rooms with sinks and natural • Another way students can get exposure to the arts and adjustable lighting, storage for tools and in school is through teaching artists, individuals who are materials, student portfolios of works in progress practicing artists and who come into the school and work including both 2D and 3D works, and a gallery with the students and/or with both students and teachers, space for displaying work. to provide “authentic” arts experiences. Eric Booth, one of our interviewees and one of the leading teaching artists A Mandate Unfulfi lled nes a teaching artist as “a practicing in the U.S. today, defi Despite the No Child Left Behind Act, most schools professional artist with the complementary skills and sen- do not have full-time arts teachers in all arts disciplines, sibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning and many do not have even one specialist arts teacher. experiences in, through, and about the arts” (http://www. On July 25, 2007, the Center on Education Policy re- greenvillearts.com/education/artists.aspx). In the Teach- leased a survey of 349 school districts showing that 16% ing Artist Journal , a journal dedicated to the practice of had cut elementary class time for art and music in the teaching artists, Booth defi nes the features of teaching ve years. Arts specialists are less likely to be found past fi artists and speaks for the value of teaching artists in high in poorer districts and at elementary and middle school quality arts learning experiences, arguing that they can levels, and many existing arts specialists are under-quali- be “the solutions to many of the problems we describe” fi ed; in addition, parental volunteerism and supplementa- (2003). ry funding is more likely (though not exclusively) found Many of the people we spoke to believe that teach- in wealthier districts (Carey et al., 2002; Woodworth et ing artists provide the most authentic kind of arts ex- al., 2007). Moreover, the amount of time that specialists perience possible for children, since they are working teach is at the most 90 minutes a week, and at the least, practitioners in contemporary art. But others are skepti- nonexistent. cal of artists who do not have a background in teaching ed arts educators in the US can The lack of qualifi (Lazarus, 2004; McKean, 2006). They note that in ad- be traced back to the devaluing of arts in schools alluded dition to their deep subject matter knowledge, teaching to in the introduction of this report. For example, many artists need a combination of pedagogical knowledge, lo- districts in California eliminated arts specialists and their cal knowledge, and/or support that assists them with un- classes in the 1980s when tax relief legislation cut funds derstanding and operating within school contexts. Most to schools. In response, arts advocates in the 1980s and arts education theorists agree that partnerships with arts 1990s promoted arts integration by classroom teachers cial. But organizations and teaching artists can be benefi and arts experiences both in and outside of schools taught many believe that visiting artists cannot and must not by community artists and museum educators. As a result, replace certifi ed arts teachers. Sending in artists for vari- schools could say that they did not need arts specialists ous periods of residence is never enough to bring about because they had arts integration, or because they had fundamental educational change (Erikson, 2004; Smith, brought in visiting specialists. And since it is only at the 1992). All too often, partnerships degenerate into one- high school level that there is, in some states, an arts re- time visits by artists, one-time master classes, or one-time quirement for graduation, schools try to have art at the trips to off-site performances. elementary school level taught by the classroom teacher. This argument is summed up well by Ana Cardona: But, as Eisner states, “we are expecting teachers to teach “[When] the emphasis... is more on out-of-school arts what they do not know and often do not love” (1999, p. learning than in-school learning, it can be very danger- 17). Many arts educators agree that there is no substi- ous, because it can give a message to educator/adminis- tute for qualifi ed specialist arts teachers if the goal is high trator types that we don’t need to make an investment quality arts learning. in sequential art education... That whole range is way
65 53 Foundational Questions too hit and miss, not sequential, and it can’t replace what and others, we found not one arts educator (either in our art teachers do in the schools, or should be doing in the interviews or in the literature) who believes that qual- schools.” Laura Chapman warned that “a local booking from an arts integrated solely ity arts education can come agency for artists and arts organizations has become a way curriculum. Most believe that a strong scenario in the for schools to have an ad hoc and token representation schools is to have both an arts integrated curriculum at of the arts at school through occasional short-term pro- least at the elementary level along with dedicated classes grams.” Ideally, teaching artists should not be a substitute in discrete art forms taught by arts specialists (Greene, for certifi ed art teachers, but rather an additional unique 2001; Weiss & Lichtenstein, 2008). resource to what schools can currently provide as instruc- A Note About Volunteers tion in the arts. Volunteerism, especially in museum contexts but The Case for the Generalist Classroom Teacher Inte- also in schools, is a widely-accepted way to supplement grating the Arts into the Curriculum arts education in the U.S., particularly in museums’ uses Arts integration – integrating one or more of the of volunteer docents (Bleick, 1980). Volunteers can be arts into the academic curriculum – is a growing move- a tremendously rich resource in any educational setting, ment in U.S. schools, and the Journal for Learning through not just in arts education. Quality concerns, however, is a journal devoted to this practice. Arts inte- the Arts arise when volunteers are depended on to have the peda- gration is typically carried out by the classroom teacher gogical skills and disciplinary understandings characteris- at the elementary level and occurs within all of the arts tic of trained professionals in the fi eld but aren’t given the disciplines (Burnaford, 2007; Burnaford, Aprill, & Weiss, opportunity to receive the requisite training. In response and, 2002; Marshall, 2006; Rabkin & Redmond, 2001; Efl to this concern, art museums in recent years have become 2004). The best of these programs bring classroom teach- more aware of the need to provide volunteer docents ers together with teaching artists with the goal of devel- with extensive training programs and with ongoing op- oping the generalist teachers’ arts education skills and at- portunities for professional development. Many museum titudes, and developing the artists’ pedagogical skills and professionals argue for putting rigor into such programs, attitudes. and emphasize the importance of providing docents with Having classroom teachers integrate arts into training that focuses not just on content knowledge classroom teaching has the potential of offering more about a museum’s collections and exhibits, but also on regular arts experiences to students. But unfortunately knowledge about teaching and learning (see for example, arts integration rarely happens in a way that leads to Sweeney, 2007). more authentic arts experiences for children. Strict There is no more – or less – of a case to be made for pacing guides for subjects evaluated on high-stakes volunteers to teach the arts than for volunteers to teach tests often reduce the time that classroom teachers are science or history or any other discipline. But when any willing to dedicate to arts integration. Furthermore, when discipline relies on volunteers as mainstay professional classroom arts integration is substituted for sequential arts educators, professional training is required. And indeed, programs in systems strapped for funds, lower quality arts when it is provided, volunteers become professionals and experiences result. Classroom teachers are not trained to should be treated as such. be arts teachers, and elementary certifi cation requirements Where Should the Arts be Taught? have not included arts education expectations in many states since the 1980s. Many arts programs exist independently of schools Despite the existence of high quality arts integration – in after-school organizations, community arts organiza- programs such OMA, the A+ schools in North Carolina, tions, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, artists’ studios, art Sound Learning, CAPE, AIM, Lincoln Center, CityLore museums, symphonies, theater and dance companies, and
66 54 Foundational Questions other neighborhood or cultural organizations. Many of ing spaces than those found in schools. When students the sites we studied were in such non-school sites. Highly work in these non-school spaces, many school rules do successful community-based programs were studied by not apply: there are no dress codes, students call teaching Heath, Soep, & Roach (1998). These programs involve rst names, arrival and departure may be more artists by fi a wide age range of youth working together as a team, exible. Students tend to be are treated more as younger fl with members playing multiple roles, including the role colleagues than as students to be managed. Although such of fund raising. environments are possible and do exist in some schools, We know of no arts educators who believe that the they are more the norm in out-of-school contexts. arts should not be taught in schools, and none who be- When the arts are taught outside of Artists teaching. lieve that the arts should also not be taught outside of school walls, the teacher is often a practicing artist. While school. In what follows we present the case for teaching teachers in schools also (and ideally) may be practicing the arts outside of schools (as an addition to teaching artists, again, that is more the norm in out-of-school sites. them in schools), and we discuss the potential drawbacks Many of the out-of-school sites are ones in which adult of depending too heavily on out-of-school programs. artists practice, and students can thus more easily see links between what they do and what professional artists The Case for Teaching the Arts Outside of Schools do. Arts learning experiences are strengthened in quality cations for teaching We identify four main justifi when students see a connection between their own art ac- the arts outside of schools rather than relying solely on tivities and those of professional artists (Art:21 Advisory schools to supply arts education. All of these arguments and (1976, 1983) makes a distinction Council, 2001). Efl help to broaden arts educational opportunities for stu- between school art and authentic art; clearly school art is dents in terms of time and access, contexts for working far less likely to transpire in authentic cultural organiza- in the arts, opportunity to work with artists, and content tions where adults are making their own works. of learning. Possibilities for expanded content . When the arts are Access and time. Schools’ arts programs are limited taught outside of school, the content of what is taught is in two critical ways: access to works and time dedicated not constrained by the school system. Out-of-school sites to art experiences. Museums and performing arts organi- routinely offer genuine connections to contemporary and zations are repositories of works, and their educational personalized content that are unrestricted by school and t from the access they can provide stu- programs benefi state mandates. To be sure, many out-of-school programs dents. The limited time that schools dedicate to the arts align their offerings with state standards, some school pro- severely limits the quality of arts experiences for many grams emphasize student choice (e.g., Teaching for Artis- students. Out-of-school arts programs, even those with- tic Behavior, http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/les- out collections, are less constricted by school schedules. sons/middle/TAB-CHOICE.htm), and more resources are Experiences out-of-school can last for hours, and projects becoming available to support connections to contempo- can therefore stretch out over long periods of time, which rary practices that are useful to arts educators who work both requires and develops planning and persistence. For in schools (Art:21 videos and resources; visiting artists). example, in a number of the sites we visited, students But it is more the norm for out-of-school content to be may take classes or work on projects several afternoons responsive to student and teacher interests, including the a week. In addition, after-school, weekend, and vacation contemporary art world. As a result, some projects are of- programs offer learning experiences at times when many ten more feasible in out-of-school contexts – e.g., murals students would otherwise not be productively engaged. and other site-specifi c installations or the opportunity to Alternative, informal learning spaces. Many out-of- work regularly with artists in their studios. school arts experiences are taught in artists’ studios, con- verted warehouses, outdoor sites, all more informal learn-
67 55 Foundational Questions What Should be Taught and How? Music education theorist Bennett Reimer (2003) argues for diversifying the music curriculum and sees this ed two debates related to what should be We identifi as an indicator of quality. Why, he asks, should we teach taught in a quality arts education. First, many arts educa- only the music preferred by a tiny percentage of people ed to tors today argue that the curriculum must be diversifi – classical western music, songs from folk traditions, and include forms of art beyond the western canon, and that jazz? Why not look at the list of the top 365 songs of the the curriculum must expose students to contemporary twentieth century and embrace the music of popular cul- arts, non-western art, and folk and indigenous art forms ture? (Bowman, 2006, Hamer, 2000). Here there is more con- Music education theorist David Elliott (1995) sensus than disagreement. Second, we identifi ed a heated agrees with the importance of teaching a wide range of debate about whether arts education should focus on the music (see also Jorgensen, 1992). He argues that students making of works of art, or whether as much or even more should learn the music of several musical cultures very dif- weight should be given to developing students’ capacities ferent from their own. This leads to musical risk taking. to perceive, react to, and understand works of art. This We need the shock of contact with alien musical tradi- debate is seen primarily in the literature. We did not hear tions, which helps us to recognize and free ourselves from arts educators on the ground debating this question: none our musical assumptions. Because we cannot teach all of seemed to feel that one particular approach should be the world’s music, Elliott votes for depth over breadth: privileged. Instead, the view was that both kinds of arts students should fi rst go deeply into one kind of music and teaching are valuable when done well. then be exposed to music only distantly related to the The Case for Diversifying the music they know. Curriculum Drama and dance educators are also concerned with diversifying the curriculum (Gonzalez, 2006; Minton, The role of the canon is debated across all art forms, 2000; Seitz, 2002). Taylor (1996) argues that a curricu- but this debate is particularly prominent in the visual arts. lum rooted in the Anglo-European tradition is narrow Some argue for an approach that has come to be called and “leads to a blindness of contemporary issues.” the “visual culture” movement, which rejects the tradi- In short, an arts education program that focuses tional canon of established works in visual art education solely on classical forms of art is seen by some as prob- as the prescribed content to be learned and learned from. lematic today. Instead, the visual culture movement argues that the content should include visual imagery in all its forms in Should Art Making Be Central? contemporary culture, especially imagery that is relevant Any reading of the theoretical literature on arts to students’ own lives. As an approach to arts education, education will quickly reveal a debate about whether it emphasizes meaning-making and an understanding of students should be taught primarily to create, or whether cultural context (Bowman, 2006; Freedman, 2003; Gude, they should be taught primarily to be informed audience 2004; Hamer, 2000). Making and learning about contem- members. This debate is particularly heated in music and porary art is often important in a visual culture approach, visual arts. both because contemporary art is culturally relevant to The music educators who determined the contents students’ lives, and because engagement with contempo- of the standards for music in the 1990s agreed unanimous- rary art forms often promotes multiculturalism (Cahan ly that music education should be broadened beyond per- and Kocur, 1996). formance to include also listening, analyzing, evaluating, Many arts education programs, both in- and out-of- and understanding. Yet Reimer (2003) notes that most schools, fail to address the contemporary in any sense: music classes still focus on singing or instrumental play- they do not examine the practices and work of living art- ing, and very few schools offer courses in music listening ists. In this sense, they fall short of being high quality.
68 56 Foundational Questions or music appreciation. Reimer argues that listening is an that in addition to the creating of art, students should be essential part of all musical learning, and listening elec- exposed to three other professional roles in the arts: art tives should be offered in a wide variety of music (e.g., history, art criticism, and aesthetics. Because students in early jazz, specifi c folk, madrigals, romantic opera, rap, DBAE classrooms receive equal time with all four of these computer music, minimalist music, Japanese music, and roles, they spend less time on making than in traditional so forth – the list could go on and on). Such broadening art classrooms. Directly counter to the DBAE approach is has the potential, he suggests, to “hook” more students the Arts PROPEL approach developed by Project Zero, with a love of and an understanding of music. the Educational Testing Service, and the Pittsburgh pub- uenced by the philosopher Reimer’s thinking is infl lic schools. In PROPEL classrooms, making art is the core Suzanne Langer (1953), who argued that music repre- activity. Perception and refl ection are also important ac- sents the structure of human feeling and thus provides tivities, but these are never taught separately, and they us with an understanding of our emotional lives. The always grow out of and feed back into the making (Gard- underlying purpose of music education for Reimer is to ner & Perkins, 1989; Winner, 1993; Zessoules, Wolf, & heighten students’ emotional lives by helping students Gardner, 1988). Thus, when a PROPEL student is work- become engaged in the emotional dimension of music. ing on an expressive self-portrait, the teacher may intro- We do this by gaining an understanding of the inherent duce self-portraits by expressionist artists, but the student meaning of music, by knowing within , a central concept in in a PROPEL classroom would never study art history dis- Reimer’s philosophy of quality music education. connected from projects in which they themselves were Whenever or knowing why start to lose knowing about engaged. contact with musical experience itself, music education How Should Arts Learning be Assessed? becomes divorced from musical experience, students be- come bored, and music education has lost its way. Thus, Assessment and the arts might seem to be two things when a music appreciation class focuses on learning of that don’t mix. The push for assessing the arts comes pri- facts about music (dates, names, defi nitions of styles), the marily from arts advocates and arts policy makers who heart of music education has been forsaken and the qual- want the arts to be placed alongside core academic sub- ity of the experience is reduced. For Reimer, programs ject matters in their level of importance. Those on the are knowing within that support students’ experiences of ground teaching the arts think more about the quality of high quality programs. Reimer believes that his concept their programs than about the need to assess levels of stu- knowing within of , and inherent meaning, applies to all art dent learning in some formal and accountable way. forms, and thus to all forms of arts education. But when pushed, many of the people we spoke to David Elliott (1995) argues against Reimer’s call for believed that assessment, when done well, does in fact more music appreciation courses, believing that perfor- put the arts on a par with academic disciplines as subjects mance must be the heart of all music education (develop- where serious learning takes place and can be measured. ing the knowing how , in Reimer’s terms). Elliott believes In addition, they agreed that assessment helps teachers that we cannot listen well without knowing how to per- adjust their teaching for better learning outcomes. form music. For Elliott, then, a quality program of music As Jane Remer, Doug Boughton, and others have instruction must center on making in order to achieve argued, because assessments prioritize what we value in the development of . knowing within arts education and exert force on curriculum design, it We see the same debate about the centrality of is essential that the arts be formally assessed (Boughton, making versus perceiving in the visual arts. Proponents 2004; Remer, 1990, 1996). High quality arts assessments of Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE), an arts ed- can shape the arts curriculum benefi cially, by ensuring ucation movement supported by the Getty Trust in the that what matters in the arts is central to the curriculum, 1980s and ’90s (Dobbs, 2004; Smith, 2004), recommends and by providing valuable insight into student learning.
69 57 Foundational Questions Poor quality assessments distort the curriculum to focus the arts were initially were left out). Educators in music, on success on the test rather than high quality work in visual arts, theater, and dance then developed national the arts domain. High quality assessments are authentic, standards outlining what every student needs to know formative, public, and carried out not only by the teachers (Mahlmann and others, 1994). These national standards but also by the students, who engage in self-assessment. focus on in the arts. They cumulative, sequential learning The presence of standards of learning in the arts, and recommend that 15% of the total instruction time in el- the insistence on assessing whether these standards are ementary and middle school should be spent on the arts met, are considered by policy makers to be the routes to and that the arts be a requirement rather than an elective quality and accountability in arts education (Consortium in high school. of National Arts Education Associations, 1994). Howev- The National Arts Standards are also intended er, most discussions of assessment in the arts acknowledge to serve as a foundation for the assessment of student ambivalence toward standards and assessment. The arts learning. They specify the content areas to be evaluated are seen as personalized, process-oriented, complex, and cient and and establish achievement standards for profi holistic; standards and assessment are seen as uniform, advanced performances within each content area at each product-oriented, reductive, and analytic. Eisner (1996) level. They outline, in both general and specifi c terms, describes this ambivalence: “Testing aspires for all a set what students should know and be able to do in the arts of common correct responses; in the arts, idiosyncratic at each grade level. According to these standards, at the responses are prized. Testing typically focuses on pieces or end of high school, each student should be able to com- segments of information; artistic work emphasizes wholes municate at a basic level in each art form. That is, stu- gurations. Testing emphasizes the acquisition and confi dents should know the basic vocabularies, techniques, of products produced by others; the arts emphasize con- knowledge, skills, and methods of each art form. They tent growing out of one’s personal experiences, especially cient in at least one art form, which should also be profi those having to do with matters of feeling. Such matters the standards characterize as the ability to pose and solve of emphasis are so fundamental that it seems as though artistic problems insightfully within that art form. Stu- testing and the arts reside in different worlds” (p.2). Eis- dents should be able to interpret, analyze, and evaluate ner (1999) also argues that we should not talk about as- examples in each art form, and they should have an in- sessment in the arts without also attempting to improve formed acquaintance with exemplary works from differ- the culture of arts education in our schools. ent cultures and historical periods. They should also be The experiential perspective we have adopted here able to make connections and integrate understandings is not well represented in most of the scholarship on arts across the different art forms. assessment, which focuses more on intentions (goals, The Consortium claims that standards are essen- standards), and products/culminating performances. In tial and foundational to any discussion of quality and what follows, we review the four best-known and most accountability in the arts (Consortium of National Arts broad-based arts assessment movements to indicate how Education Associations, 1994). The standards are not they appraise quality arts learning. It appears that a focus binding for U.S. public schools, but they have informed on assessing quality arts learning experiences remains to many state standards in the arts. However, while the arts be developed. standards are meant to guide what should be assessed, only a handful of states currently include arts among their National Arts Standards “high-stakes” assessments. In 1994, with the passing of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the arts were included as required learn- ing (thanks to the insistence of the Music Educators Na- tional Conference and other national arts networks after
70 58 Foundational Questions National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) programs give insight into what is viewed as high quality Arts Assessment work in the arts at the high school level, again, as viewed through outcomes rather than experiences, and they While the National Standards are prescriptive for a demonstrate strategies for conducting large scale formal K-12 curriculum in the arts, the National Assessment of assessments of learning in the arts. Educational Progress (NAEP) Arts assessment was devel- oped for a different purpose – to provide a sense of what International Baccalaureate (IB) is actually being learned in the U.S. public schools in the The IB Diploma Program places a strong emphasis arts. In 1997, NAEP completed the fi rst national assess- on assessing students’ processes along with their products ment of arts education in 20 years, based on 6480 stu- (Boughton, 2004), and is thus the assessment model most dents in 268 schools (Persky, Sandene, & Askew, 1998). consistent with the arts learning experience focus of this Although fi eld-tested for fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth- report. Students keep research logbooks documenting graders in all four arts disciplines, only eighth-grade mu- their process and self-assessment. They also seek connec- sic, theater, and visual arts were included in the full-scale tions between learning in the arts and in other disciplines. assessment (an assessment of dance was fi eld-tested but In addition to the Diploma program (which is a two year was not administered due to failure to get an adequately program for students ages 16-19), there is a Primary Years sized national sample). The assessment included paper- Program (for ages 3-12) and a Middle Years Program (ages and-pencil tasks, as well as performance tasks, to deter- 11-16) in which the arts are an integrated component. At mine students’ ability to create original art, perform or re- all levels of the IB program in all disciplines, the focus is create existing art, and respond to the arts (Woodworth on integrating knowledge and skills across the curricu- et al., 2007). Results of the second arts assessment (in the lum, developing the abilities to communicate in multiple spring of 2008, in grade eight) will be released in 2009. modalities, and gaining multi-cultural understanding (In- Persky (2004, p. 628) articulates the key tensions ternational Baccalaureate organization, 1999, 2000a,b, involved in the design and scoring of the NAEP arts 2005; htpp:// www.ibo.org). assessments: “Making tasks feasible for administration Speaking about the IB program, Doug Boughton yet authentic in the terms presented in the NAEP arts explained to us that the key to quality of IB arts instruc- framework; encouraging thoughtful student responding tion is in its assessment structure. “The assessment typi- without burdening students with too many directions and cally in the IB program is portfolio, where the criteria for constraints; enabling students from a wide range of arts assessment drives the program and those criteria are the backgrounds to perform on the assessment, again without things that express what’s really important to [teachers] undue reading burden or constraints; and enabling about education – for example, imagination and creative student responses to be scoreable without making tasks behavior, the capacity to pursue an idea or to develop a too limiting.” theme, the capacity to express ideas but in so doing, im- International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and prove technical skills in multiple media, which is some- Advanced Placement Arts what less important, really, than to pursue ideas.” Assessment in the IB diploma program is conducted The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program by external examiners who are typically part of the inter- (IBDP) and the Advanced Placement (AP) program of national arts community. It focuses on the learning done the College Board are two large-scale programs that are over the course of the program, looking at products such considered to be markers of rigor in a high school educa- as a portfolio created over time or a research journal doc- tion. The IB program includes arts courses in visual arts, umenting artistic processes. There is extensive work done lm/new media, theater, and music. The AP program in- fi in training IB examiners: inter-rater reliability among cludes two courses in the visual arts (Studio Art and Art scorers is assessed, a multitude of diverse benchmarks il- History) and one in music (Music Theory). These two
71 59 Foundational Questions lustrate the different scores, and both the benchmarks cred than any other subject of study, and if we want them and the criteria for evaluation are open to public debate gure out a way to count to count in classrooms, we must fi and evolve over time (Boughton, 2004). in context – in terms of process, achievement, and them – product.” She goes on to warn that “if arts people do not Advanced Placement (AP) get behind this notion, one of two things will happen; The AP program consists of a college level intro- [the arts] will continue to be ignored as essential stud- ductory course in Art, Art History, and Music Theory. ies, or someone that knows nothing about the arts will Guidelines in each art form are developed annually by design tests for us that violate our artistic principles and college-level and AP teachers; there are no standard cur- do not honor processes or products. We will get what we ricula for an AP arts course. deserve.” While individual teachers assign grades for student work in AP courses, external assessment of students is car- The Foundational Questions: Implications for ried out by exam. The Studio Art AP exam is comprised Quality entirely of a portfolio of work within a chosen concentra- As we noted at the start of the chapter, perspectives tion (e.g., drawing, 2-D design, 3-D), which is assessed by on these four questions often take the form of debate in multiple trained judges (The College Board, 2006a). The the scholarly literature, with arguments made for the pros Music Theory exam comprises multiple choice and writ- and cons of particular choices. In practice, answers to ten free-response questions, some of which are based on these questions are often far more nuanced and may well an aural stimulus and some of which are not (The College be simultaneously principled and pragmatic. Indeed, in Board, 2006b). There is also an assessment of sight-sing- our site visits, we saw the fi ne art of what might be called ing, worth 10% of the exam grade, in which students re- “principled pragmatism” developed to a very high level. cord their singing and submit it with their exam. The Art As practitioners who work endlessly on the challenges of History exam combines multiple choice questions with ning, achieving, and sustaining quality in arts learn- defi short and longer essay questions, some of which are based ing experiences, the people we met with are deeply expe- on images presented in the test. The essay component rienced in holding very high standards while developing comprises 60% of the exam grade (The College Board, innovative solutions to stubborn challenges (such as se- 2005). AP exam scores range between 1 and 5, and col- verely limited resources). leges set their own standards on what scores will be ac- Jordan Simmons, executive director of East Bay ceptable to gain credit at their institution. Like the IB Performing Arts Center, talks of the decision on what external examination, arts assessments in the Advanced to teach – what he calls the “repertory” question – as a Placement program strive to provide authentic assess- ning moment in the life of that organization. In es- defi ments of arts learning but within a standardized assess- sence, instead of deciding an absolute focus on a particu- ment scheme, with inter-rater reliability among scorers lar performing art, style, or genre to offer their students, (Myford & Sims-Gunzenhauser, 2004). they decided to create a blended repertory of offerings Clearly, while high quality approaches to assessment that evolves over time in response to the changes in the have been developed, there is no single “best” approach, interests of their community. Recognizing Richmond, and indeed many of the people we talked with argue for California, their home, as a dynamic and evolving com- multiple methods of assessment, both qualitative and munity in which many rich and evolving cultures exist quantitative. Nonetheless, the question remains: should and infl uence each other, they wanted the Center to be the arts be assessed at all? Ultimately, the strongest ar- a place which could be responsive to the needs, interests, gument we heard from our interviewees was pragmatic. and desires of that community. This means that the ques- Speaking mainly of formal K-12 arts education, Jane Re- tion of what will be taught is continually changing. In mer sums it up this way: “...the arts are no more or less sa- fact, the Center has a policy of holding a percentage of
72 60 Foundational Questions their budget aside each year so they can quickly add new cient subject matter knowledge. ulum may not have suffi courses to respond to new interests in studying particular What we saw over and over during the site visits were art forms and styles. In this way, the principle of respon- educators who refused to be defeated by these challenges siveness to the interests of the community defi nes the and who also rejected the constraints and traditions that approach to the question of what to teach, although, as forced dichotomous choices (making or looking; artists the Center’s name suggests, they also made an early and or specialists; old or new art; and so on) or standard op- defi ning choice to focus on the performing arts. erating procedures. Instead we encountered people who In each area addressed by these four questions, the are, in effect, creating not only new practices, but also, in reality of how they are answered is closer to a blend of many cases, reconsidering the very assumptions behind principle and pragmatics than purely one or the other. the debates in the literature. Some principles, such as authenticity and transparency in eld’s In the next decade, the written record of the fi assessment, may well be challenged by district or funder thinking on these foundational questions will certainly requirements. These challenges don’t always force com- come to represent the innovations in practice and the promises that undermine quality, but they do force serious evolution in conceptualizing the nature of the issues consideration by the educators in each setting of what is themselves that are taking place now. Indeed, in the or isn’t acceptable practice in their context. In the hands coming years there are likely to be new publications and of arts educators who constantly struggle to clarify and forums (certainly exploiting the explosive possibilities of articulate their principles, these challenges often spark ecting these changes, just as the past de- the Internet) refl innovative answers to foundational questions. and Teaching Artists Journal cade saw the emergence of the District requirements may similarly force innovative a host of Web-based dialogues. approaches to achieving the best possible solutions to the As is so often the case, changes in thought and prac- challenge of who will teach the arts. Available personnel tice precede the written record. In the next chapter, we may both bring and lack critical elements of expertise. try to capture what we saw and heard about the nature of Excellent artists committed to teaching may not have ad- the decisions with a signifi cant impact on quality, who equate pedagogical knowledge, just as excellent classroom is involved in making those decisions, and how they ap- teachers committed to bringing the arts into their curric- proach making them.
73 61 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings CHAPTER 5: DECISION MAKERS, DECISIONS, AND DECISION MAKING WHILE VIRTUALLY ALL PROGRAMS address the rize all of these decision makers in relation to their prox- foundational decisions discussed in the previous chapter, imity to “the rooms” in which arts learning and teaching there are many other decisions that arts educators must take place. Of course, learning in the arts takes place in grapple with, as well. While each situation has its own many kinds of “rooms” – studios, rehearsal halls, theaters, demands, many choices are predictable. In this chapter, and other traditional settings for an arts education, but we examine three aspects of the complex realm of de- also in classrooms, church basements, public parks, school cisions – who is making the decisions, the demands of hallways, and the many other places teachers fi nd to share effective decision making processes, and the nature and their love and knowledge of the arts with their students. challenges of the decisions being made. In brief, we identifi ed three sets of decision makers, each set sharing a similar proximity to the learning experience, Decision Makers but each also representing multiple different roles. In some cases, people cross the artifi cial lines of this Decisions about quality arts learning experiences categorization, but, with occasional exceptions, we’ve are often seen as the province of administrators, program found these categories to hold up reasonably well. We directors, and those who set policies regarding resources have tried in this conceptualization to represent only and regulations. Policy makers on the federal, state, and those roles we actually encountered in our study. Cer- local levels have extraordinary power in this regard, most tainly, there are people in other roles who make impor- critically in relation to whether there will even be any tant decisions infl uencing the quality of arts education arts learning opportunities and, if so, the nature and ex- programs, but we think it is important to acknowledge tent of those activities and who has access to them. The the limits of our study and note again the importance of challenges of access and equity are dramatic and extreme further work in this area that tests and extends the par- in arts education. Teachers, students, and parents gener- ticular limitations of our analysis. ally have little or no fundamental control in those deci- The three groups of decision makers we identifi ed sions, though, if they are active and effective advocates, who infl uence the quality of arts learning experiences are they may well have infl uence. defi ned and diagrammed below: The challenges of achieving quality, however, while • those “in the room” (students and teachers and, cult, have different dynamics from still exceedingly diffi occasionally, others, including parents, class- the challenges of access, at least from a decision mak- room aides, and presenting artists) ing perspective. We began this study with the idea of the those just outside the room, who may interact • key decision makers being situated hierarchically – we with those in the outer-most circle and who may assumed that more power was wielded in decisions that visit the room in which arts learning experiences affect the quality of arts education by those with the occur (supervisors, program administrators, art broadest reach, such as district, state, and national policy department coordinators, principals, parents, makers. To a considerable degree, this is supported by our other teachers, mentors, evaluators, and site data. But in taking an “experience perspective” – plac- liaisons) ing a primary focus on the nature of the experiences that • those furthest from the room who may rarely, students have in their arts classes, rather than on more if ever, enter the room (funders, district arts decontextualized measures of outcomes, for example – we coordinators, superintendents, school commit- had to reconsider the question of who, ultimately, makes tee members, civic leaders, representatives from the critical decisions and the nature of those decisions the town or city government, board membersand that most affect the quality of an arts education. founders) In this reconsideration, we found it useful to catego-
74 62 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings Those just outside the room and those even further the learning experiences, but, as such, they have, like the individual players in teamwork in the fi nal seconds of a away who may never, or only rarely, enter the room, have powerful infl basketball game, a profoundly determining signifi uences on the likelihood that those “in the cance on the outcome of all prior decisions and efforts. The Interconnectedness of Decision Makers Decision Makers furthest Decisions made by those in the outer circle are of- away from the room ten characterized by the breadth of their reach. They in- Decision Makers uence the experiences of many people. In many cases, fl just outside the room these decision makers, who generally don’t know the names of the people in the actual classrooms that they infl uence, are more concerned with issues of access and, Decision Makers sometimes, equity than of quality. They expect those in inside the room the inner circles to deal with the challenges of quality and feel that they’ve done their job in relation to qual- ity by establishing hiring criteria, curriculum frameworks, and access to resources. If, however, there isn’t genuine dialogue of some sort across the circles about what the real needs are and what the priorities should be in a spe- cifi c setting, there is a good chance that the efforts to cre- ate quality by those in the outer circle are just so much wishful thinking. Three Groups of Decision Makers Diagram 2: There is a temporal dimension to these decisions as (by proximity to “the room” or arts learning experience) well. Those closest to “the room” of the learning experi- ence make their decisions just before and also “in the mo- room” will have a high quality arts learning experience. ment” of the experience. These decisions affect those who Their decisions are also critical to whether that quality make them and those within and closest to “the room.” can be achieved and sustained consistently over time and Those further away from “the room” most often make across classrooms. In our interviews and observations, their decisions long before anyone walks into a learning though, we came to see the critical nature of the deci- space, and those decisions often affect the experiences sions made by students and teachers in the moment of the of many learners and teachers in multiple settings over learning experience. signifi cant periods of times, often over years. A funder’s While it is certainly foolish to try to determine decision to make a grant often creates the opportunity whether any of these decision makers is more important for access to quality arts learning experiences for multiple than any others, it is important to acknowledge that, as years. A school committee’s approval of a new curriculum researchers, we did not enter this study with an assump- framework (and a budget to support its implementation!) tion that students would emerge as signifi cant in the list will likely affect what is taught, who teaches it, and how of decision makers in the quest for quality. It was dur- it is taught for many years. When a state legislature en- ing the site visits and interviews with both young people acts a law requiring provision of out-of-school time for and adults that we began to recognize that, indeed, stu- learning opportunities for all children in the state (and a dents are making decisions all the time that have a criti- budget to support its implementation!), the impact may cal impact on the likelihood of quality learning experi- well be felt by many children and families for as long as ences. Their decisions are often the last made and most the budget remains intact. frequently revisited and revised, even in the moments of
75 63 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings Generally speaking, the dimensions of proximity and program’s ability to provide high quality learning experi- nancial dimension: those farthest time correlate with a fi ences on a consistent and reliable basis is the availabil- away from the room most often make decisions determin- ity of resources, notably money, but also time, space, and ing the allocation and use of the largest amounts of mon- professional expertise. This challenge is intensifi ed when ey. For example, in very general terms, the state allocates there is a desire to expand the reach of the program to money to schools for a variety of purposes and funders serve more young people. In this regard, the challenge give grants with line items for art supplies. Administra- of access is tied to quality via the availability of adequate tors determine how to distribute those funds among all resources to do the work right and well. of the offerings of the program or school. Teachers decide While most of those we interviewed during our site how to use the funds they’ve been allocated – which ma- visits did address the issue of resources as critical, persis- terials, equipment, and so forth. It is common knowledge tent, and frustrating, there was also a strong sense that that teachers often supplement these allocated resources, the lack of resources did not fundamentally cripple them drawing on personal funds, in order to increase the inad- in their quest for quality. Indeed, a number of people we equate funds with which they’ve been provided. They do talked to were very clear that, as artists, they were quite so in order to create the highest possible quality learn- used to working in less than ideal conditions and being ing experiences for their students. In these cases, their resourceful. In essence, what we heard from these artists determination of what constitutes a quality arts learning and educators was that, while the effort to increase and opportunity is not aligned with those decision makers in improve resources is constant for them, they also recog- the outer circles. nize that excellent arts teaching and learning (and arts This is potentially problematic. Money – both practice!) can be – and is – done all the time with less ed to be used – is crucial to amounts and how it is specifi than adequate resources. any formal, sustained educational enterprise. When those So what might distinguish those who are defeated by making decisions about the allocations of funds are also inadequate resources and those who fi nd ways to thrive de- most removed from the immediate lives and experiences spite the frustrations? Our sense, based on our interviews, of those to be served by the funds, there is room for false is that educators who succeed are those who focus their assumptions, misunderstandings, and, potentially, waste- paramount attention on how best to use what they’ve got. ful or even harmful decisions. Of course, “outer circle” This requires the constant work of deep examination of decision makers are well aware of these possibilities and one’s purposes and all available experience and knowl- work hard to evaluate their decisions. For example, when edge of how to achieve those aims. It is important to note asking for evaluations of programs, the evaluations should at this point, as we examine the sets of decisions that be a prologue to a far wider dialogue among participants have critical impact on the likelihood of high quality arts from all of the circles. learning experiences, that, somewhat counter intuitively, Obviously, in such an integrated system, decisions in we found that the deepest challenge to achieving quality each circle affect decisions in the others and, ultimately, is actually knowing what you think constitutes quality, the quality of the experiences “in the room.” Given this not the degree to which you have time, space, or money. reality, successful systems of decision making recognize In other words, as critical as resources are – and everyone the delicacy and likelihood of mistakes made in the outer agrees on their critical importance – it is more profoundly circle and provide frequent, open, and dynamic channels challenging to achieve quality if you don’t know what it of communication with the explicit purpose of informing is you are actually trying to achieve – what it looks like, the outer circle decision makers. what its essential elements are in your context, and what is required to achieve it. Quality, Context, and Available Resources Even with resources, it can be extremely diffi cult to The most commonly cited challenge to any arts make most of the kinds of decisions discussed in the next
76 64 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings section. Why? Because these decisions require knowing sions made by – at least some of the people just outside what you truly think is most important – the most im- teaching decisions the room. We also consider the critical portant for students to learn, the most powerful ideas on made in the moments of interaction with students. We which to focus, and the most critical skills, capacities, and then shift to examine the nature of the learning decisions dispositions to foster. It also requires knowing what you that students make both before and during the learning think is both optimal and acceptable in terms of time, experience. In each case, we have tried to name the kinds space, and money – length of time for rehearsals, optimal of decisions identifi ed as especially critical to the qual- conditions for performance, and so on. The resources of ity of an arts education by participants in the study and time, space, and money are never infi nite, nor should they through our own analysis. be. Learning and creativity depend on some constraints. These basic decisions are encountered by virtually ed in longing So, while arts educators are certainly justifi all programs, teachers, and students. In some situations, ghting for additional resources in most public for and fi however, the basic decisions are essentially givens – the school and out-of-school settings, they must be able to age of the students, for example, in a middle school pro- identify both what is optimal as a goal and what is accept- gram, or the community from which students are drawn. able as a bar below which it will be impossible to provide But even these “givens” were, at some point, decisions. a reasonably high quality learning experience. Given The superintendent, the curriculum coordinator, the the seemingly endless nature of the effort to clarify these principal of the middle school, for example, alone or to- understandings in the settings we visited, it appears that gether, must have determined, at some point, that it was there are no shortcuts on this path to achieving quality. a high priority to offer visual arts or music or theater to the seventh graders. Of course, this could have been a Decisions decision made in the center circle by a classroom teacher, based on her own passion for the arts or out of respon- There are countless decisions that infl uence the siveness to her students’ expressions of interest and their likelihood that students will have a high quality experi- desire to engage in some artistic enterprise. In any case, ence in an arts class, and there are many decision makers, what now may seem like a given – the seventh graders as well. Some of these decisions are most likely made by will do a play in their history class every year – was once people nearer or farther away from “the room” in which a decision made by someone. It wasn’t always the case, the learning takes place, and many of those decisions are though now it is taken as a given. made by people with very different relationships to the Working from the outside and moving toward “the actual learning experience working together. room” in which the arts learning experiences take place, In the interviews during our site visits, we frequently these kinds of decisions are, in broad categories, either cult decisions the program has faced and asked about diffi organizational/programmatic or directly related to teach- which decisions seem to have had a particular impact on ing/learning. The organizational/programmatic deci- the quality of learning experiences for young people. From sions fall into eight groups. Note that four of these sets those responses and our observations, we have identifi ed of decisions are essentially the “foundational questions” 10 sets of decisions and have placed them in two basic discussed in Chapter 4 (who teaches, what to teach and categories, again drawing on the idea of proximity to the how, where teaching and learning occur, and how to as- “spaces” of arts learning experiences. sess learning), questions about which there has been con- We begin with or programmatic deci- organizational siderable writing. When questions, like “what to teach that are generally made by those just outside the sions and how,” occur in both the organizational/programmatic room and people who rarely, if ever, enter the room itself. and teaching/learning sets, we answer them on greater We then move to an analysis of teachers’ decisions before levels of specifi city as one gets closer to ‘the room.’ instructional design decisions they enter the room. These Note, too, that some sets of decisions, like “who are most often made with – or in alignment with deci-
77 65 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings city as they come teaches,” have different levels of specifi less explored by theorists, researchers, and others. closer to ‘the room.’ For example, in larger systems (like Organizational and Programmatic Sets public schools), decision makers in the outer circle of Decisions may determine the certifi cation criteria for art teach- Teachers make a wide variety of decisions, listed be- c teachers for a school. ers, but they rarely hire specifi low. While these kinds of decisions are familiar to those t arts education programs, the In smaller scale non profi who work in the fi eld, each one is important to think administrator(s) may set the hiring criteria and priorities about in order to keep the outcome of quality in mind. and do the actual hiring. Too often, these decisions are made for purely pragmatic Other sets of decisions, such as those about partner- reasons. Some of the most important kinds of decisions ships and the culture of a program, have also been dis- teachers must make are the following: cussed in the literature, while still others, such as those ng and growth of programs, have been addressing the staffi Sets of decisions about: Which students should be targeted for particular courses, programs, or woshops (particular ages, degrees of prior access to arts learning opportu- Students nities, socio-economic demographics, and so forth), eligibility for partici- pation in the program or class, size of classes. c course What to teach, including which art forms to focus on, specifi Programming/offerings titles, repertoire of art works and artistic traditions to highlight. Time (length of offerings per session, length over days/weeks), physical Allocation of resources spaces, and money (amounts and purposes). Both teachers and program staff (administrators, supervisors, coordina- tors, liaisons, development, custodial, and so forth); criteria for teachers Staffi ng (certifi cation criteria, hiring criteria and priorities). Internal and external, formal and informal, formative and summative approaches to determining the quality of all program offerings and deci- Program evaluation sions. Expectations, norms, and rules for everyone (youth and adults) on “how to be” when in the program, including the values (trust, respect, recogni- tion and appreciation of differences, and so on) guiding relations, inter- Program culture actions, and work processes. How and when to expand offerings, number of students served, geograph- ic locations (communities served), including the delicate problem of in- Growth and development creasing access while sustaining and improving quality. With whom to join (individuals, organizations, municipal departments, community groups, funders, and so forth) in collaboration to provide the Partnerships highest possible quality experiences to the greatest number of students.
78 66 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings Teaching and Learning Decisions – In the of art); “big ideas” to focus on; major skill sets (physical, cognitive, social, and so forth.) to “Room/Space” and in the Moment work on; culminating events, performances, or Teaching/learning decisions take place “in the room” projects. or just outside it. Most are made shortly before a particular • Lesson design (plan for teaching at the session class/rehearsal or during the session itself. Some decisions level) – class plans; choice and preparation are made earlier, but then many of those earlier decisions physical materials and tools for art-making; are reconsidered as the moment of teaching and learning preparation of the physical space. uid and dynamic approaches. In short, these are highly fl • How to teach – tone of classroom; persona as decision making processes with countless changes and ad- teacher; attention to ideas and contributions of justments both prior to and in the moments of the expe- students; classroom management; basic rules and rience. Further intensifying these processes are the ways expectations; balance of activities, refl ection, and in which various decisions affect each other. Students dialogue. change their minds in response to a teacher’s choices; • How to assess student learning – incorporation teachers make last-minute ‘course corrections’ based on and balance of refl ection and self-assessment, levels of engagement they perceive in their students on performance assessments, portfolios, critique, a particular day. rubrics, and/or other forms of assessment. For teachers, these decisions begin with their plan- • “In the moment” facilitation choices – real-time ning and preparation processes as they design a course or adjustments to the lesson plan; spontaneous re- a lesson and gather materials. For students, if participa- sponses to events and developments in the class tion is voluntary, these decisions start with their choice room, workshop, or rehearsal. to attend a particular course, workshop, or program. If The decisions students make concern the following: participation is mandatory, as with many in-school arts Engagement – to attend or not (including • experiences, students make decisions, conscious or un- whether to sign up for a course – if elective – as conscious, about the intensity of their involvement in well as whether to go to any single session, the activities of the class, both before and during a les- especially if the student is in high school); level son. Whether voluntary or required, students make many of active interest and willingness to show that choices “in the moment” about what stance they will take interest in class; choice to practice and/or ac- toward what is going on, how involved they will become tively prepare for class through reading, doing with the artworks and artistic processes, and how open ection. homework assignments, and/or refl and available they will be to their fellow students and Focus – what to work on (intentional identifi • ca- their teachers. As all teachers know, the choices students tion of particular skills, capacities, or problems). make about their openness and level of engagement have These are sometimes directly related to the enormous impact on the quality of the learning experi- intentions of the lesson/course and sometimes ences for those individuals, the rest of the group, and the are identifi ed more individually. teacher. Social presence – how to be with others in the • In this context, it seems helpful to sort the sets of de- xperience; level and nature of attetion learning e cisions in relation to these two groups of decision makers. and commitment to the learning experiences of The decisions teachers make concern the following: others (active listening/watching, offering sup- Curriculum (what to teach at the course or unit • port, encouragement, critique, as appropriate, level) – the basic focus and outline of a course or and so on); willingness to adjust one’s own focus workshop; the arts repertoire to study (including in order to support the learning of others; seeking choices about genres, forms, and specifi c works a productive balance between accepting respon-
79 67 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings sibility for one’s own learning and the learning of compromise and mediocrity is oxymoronic for serious arts others. educators. Yet, paradoxically, compromise and medioc- rity are so often the coin of the realm. Finding situations Decision Making in which one’s vision of excellence is reasonably closely aligned with that of the group with whom you work can While the scope of our study precluded an in-depth mean the difference between deep satisfaction and deep analysis of the decision making processes at each of the frustration. sites we visited, we did hear consistent reports of what One source of the signifi cant entrepreneurial activ- seems to matter when decisions are truly supporting ef- ity in arts education today, beyond need and opportunity, forts to achieve quality. We also heard some common may well be the desire to create an organization, large or frustrations and analyses in reports of situations in which small, that actually expresses one’s personal focus, mis- there seemed to be great diffi culty achieving and/or sus- sion, and values in very specifi c terms. Teens Rock the taining quality programs. In brief, the idea of alignment Mic (TRTM), a project of a small organization called The and misalignment, though not always articulated in those Juno Collective that closed in May 2007, due to a lack of exact words, emerged as key to understanding both the fi nancial resources, was guided by the energy and vision of best and worst of our interviewees’ experiences in striving co-founder Melissa Borgmann, a long-standing member to achieve quality in arts learning and teaching. Language of the arts and education communities in Minneapolis. used to describe alignment and misalignment included As declared on their website, “The Juno Collective was phrases such as, “we were all on the same page” or “we born in the wake of ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything.” and the invitation to respond collaboratively, in a more Two dimensions of alignment that emerged as espe- complex manner to honor the intelligence and measure cially powerful in the context of achieving and sustaining the literacy of our youth, beyond standardized testing.” quality: The history of the short life of TRTM reveals the criti- • Personal/organization – alignment between the cal urgency of alignment between an organization and its individual and the particular organization in wider network of partners, stakeholders, and supports. which she or he is working. • Organization/wider system – alignment between Organizational and Wider Systems Alignment the organization and the wider network of insti- The extreme expression of misalignment between a tutions, governmental entities, agencies, part- program and the wider system within which it lives is a ners, and communities in which it exists. nancial support. There are many ow of fi disruption of a fl Personal and Organizational Alignment potential reasons for this life-threatening disconnect be- tween programs and funders or policy makers with control As Morgan Cousins, educator at Urban Word, and nancial resources, but, in a sense, it always represents of fi many others made clear in our interviews, ideas about a change in the alignment of purposes and priorities. As what constitutes quality in these arts education contexts noted earlier, program staff and funders, representing are deeply subjective and personal. Insofar as the qual- people in the middle and outer circles of the diagram in ity of one’s work is an indicator of how satisfying and re- the previous chapter, certainly don’t make most of their warding that work is, most educators and artists have a decisions together, but both make decisions that have a strong need for an alignment of their personal purposes uence on what happens ‘in the room.’ The powerful infl and values with those of the organizations in which they challenge for everyone is the degree to which they are - work. Given the considerable challenges and minimal fi in communication, working together to assure not only nancial rewards of arts education, the signifi cance of per- the quality of the “inner circle” experience, but also the sonal satisfaction is profound. If the work isn’t personally meaningful, why would anyone stay at it? A tolerance for future of those experiences.
80 68 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings In this regard, initiatives underway in both Dallas challenges to creating and sustaining alignment of basic purposes and ideas about quality among the many players. and New York City have sought to bring myriad partners In some settings, particular people, often those who have across these large cities together in cohesive and coordi- been champions of the program, may become too cen- nated efforts. While the strategies are different in each tral to the life of the program and, in the event of their city, the desire seems similar, notably the goal of access departure, the program can quickly become vulnerable. to high quality arts education over many years for all Many partnerships between schools and arts programs children. The New York City Department of Education’s rely heavily on the active support of the school principal Blueprint was an effort to bring a broad range of players to facilitate critical aspects of the program. A change in from across the three circles together to build a common principals can reveal that the strength of the whole enter- and comprehensive vision of arts education in the city’s prise may be more like a house of cards than a brick house schools. In Dallas, Big Thought is working with many built on a strong foundation. But what is the basis of the partners to provide both consistent access and consistent strength of this kind of foundation? high quality to offerings all across the city, both in and out-of-schools. The ambition of these efforts is impres- Communication Among Decision Makers sive, the challenges major, and the outcomes will be sig- cant. Insofar as these efforts have already suggested, nifi Whatever the degree to which decision makers are and will continue to suggest, ways of building increased out of alignment in their approaches, perspectives, pur- communication and collaboration among the decision poses and values, good lines of communication are essen- makers close and far away from ‘the room,’ they will pro- tial to reaching decisions that support the achievement vide much needed guidance to the fi eld. Of course, some- of quality. This, too, seems common-sense and, in many what smaller efforts exist all over the country, including ways, may barely need exploration. Clearly, when decision the Seattle Arts Education Consortium, a collaboration makers are engaged in genuine dialogue, not only within of six major arts education programs. the circles, but across roles, responsibilities, and proxim- When people in the “outer circle” make decisions ity to “the room,” they increase the likelihood that they that affect the future – even the very possibility – of ac- will work in harmony, not discord. But in some of the tual arts learning opportunities without direct communi- sites we visited, there were perspectives on decision mak- nding alternative re- cation and collaboration toward fi ing that seemed particularly relevant to an understanding sources, a bond of alignment is broken. Indeed, the work of how quality may be achieved in arts education. nding partners and building partnerships across the of fi Antonia Contro, executive director of Marwen, concentric circles is both delicate and profound in the life rejected our suggestion that the only or even the most of an arts program, whether all of those relationships exist important learning goes on in the center circle of our within a school system or extend across multiple systems diagram of concentric circles. She argued that her re- (school districts, municipal departments and programs, sponsibility is to make sure that every decision maker the private sector, individuals with resources, boards of uenced the quality of their program was also who infl directors, arts organizations, and so on). Most programs having an educational experience. This was, from her have complex webs of partnerships and these partner- perspective, especially important for the members of her ships almost always take considerable time and effort to board, given the governance structure of Marwen. But build and sustain. Over time and especially as programs she also emphasized that she was equally committed to grow, the density of partners and players in the concentric the growth, development, and learning experiences of circles thickens. her staff, students’ parents and families, and, of course, This thickening most often represents a larger com- the students themselves. Her method was to make sure munity dedicated to the perpetuation of the program, that virtually every encounter with board members, for example, included some direct experience with students, which is important and good. It also represents greater
81 69 Decision Makers, Decisions, and Decision Makings their art work, the Marwen faculty and staff, or even art- is the point of the Three Circles tool we introduce in making. Contro wants these experiences to be surprising, Chapter 6. to change people’s understandings, to deepen their appre- The goal of this ongoing dialogue is an alignment ciation of children, art, and artists, broadly, and Marwen’s across all parties on what quality arts learning experi- mission and accomplishments specifi cally. In other words, ences look like and how best to create those experiences “communication” in this context is not simply talk, but c setting. In this regard, everyone across the in a specifi thoughtfully conceived opportunities for learning about three circles of decision makers becomes engaged in a learning and art and young people that can inform com- learning experience, negotiating with each other, exam- mitment, participation, and, most critically, decision ining practice and products together, considering both making. process and effects, and developing both individual and The challenge of creating a dialogue among partners collective principles that can guide decision making. that both seriously educates all participants and develops Dialogue and experiences together are, in this way, the collective knowledge about what constitutes quality and path toward alignment, the creation of a compass shared how to achieve it is profound. From our observations dur- by as many as possible and guiding both individual and ing the site visits, it seems clear that it doesn’t happen collective decisions. without intentionality and serious effort. Helping to cre- ate some entry points into these kinds of conversations
83 PART III: Q Q Q Q Quality in Practice
85 73 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality in Arts Education CHAPTER 6: TOOLS FOR ACHIEVING AND SUSTAINING QUALITY IN ARTS EDUCATION , at least in part, a SINCE QUALITY SEEMS TO BE A Note on Timing and Facilitation: product of dialogue and debate that is probing, frequent, Because the contexts and needs of different arts collaborative, and explicit, this chapter offers several programs vary so greatly, the protocols don’t indicate the tools to help a wide array of decision makers address the length of time for each step. Given the great variety in ection and alignment in pursuit of twin challenges of refl sizes of groups, the level of familiarity among participants, quality. The tools are designed to be used solo or in work- and the complexity of the issues being addressed through shops, meetings, or other collegial settings. Their purpose the use of each of the tools, we felt it better for the fa- is to help arts educators and their associates build and cilitators in each setting to make their own best guesses clarify their ideas about high quality arts education and about the right amount of time to spend in each phase of help create alignment between a program’s aspirations these dialogues. That said, we don’t imagine any of these and its practices. conversations to be quick and easy. Given the potential We present four tools: complexity of these sessions, we encourage viewing these A The Learning Purposes of Arts Education: • as ongoing conversations. While much can be accom- tool or refl ecting on visions and actions. plished in one session, it is unlikely that a single session Four Lenses on Quality: A tool for identifying • will be adequate to consider the implications of the ideas, c elements of quality in an arts learning specifi concerns, and questions raised by the use of the tool. experience. A Examining the Base: Foundational Issues. • The Learning Purposes of Arts Education: A Tool tool for refl ecting on foundational program for Refl ecting on Visions and Actions matic decisions. The nature of quality in any specifi c arts education A tool for Three Circles of Decision Makers: • setting is closely linked to the purposes held by the edu- exploring who makes decisions that infl uence cators and community that have come together to cre- quality, and how these decision makers work ate that learning opportunity. No arts educators or arts together. programs that were part of this study view their work as Who Should Use These Tools, and in What Settings? having a single purpose; most believe that students learn In using these tools, we encourage the participation many kinds of valuable things through the arts and that of as many members of a program’s community as pos- in high quality arts settings, multiple purposes can, and sible. One dimension of a program’s strength may well be should, be pursued. Of course, most view some outcomes the degree to which the entire community is concerned as more central and essential than others. about issues of quality. The dialogues these tools aim to The purpose of this tool is to help a wide range of encourage may be good ways to bring people from across participants, including students, parents, teachers, ad- the community together in conversation. ministrators and various other partners, refl ect on what they believe students learn through the arts, why these How Should the Tools Be Used? outcomes are important, and what their program is do- The tools are designed to guide small and large group ing to pursue these outcomes. While there may not be full refl ection and discussion. It’s useful to have a designated agreement about these purposes, one critical aspect of the facilitator who helps the group follow the protocols ac- conversations this tool stimulates is a better understand- companying each tool and keeps track of timing. ing of people’s basic beliefs concerning purposes, and of
86 74 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality the ways in which these beliefs are aligned and misaligned are central to the mission of your program. across the community. Another important dimension of key things These purposes should express the the conversations stimulated by this tool is a better under- dents to learn, understand or you want stu standing of the match between a program’s key purposes develop as a result of their participation in ies. and its various practices and activit the program. As you seek to identify this set of key purposes, feel free to revise or combine Steps in the Use of the Learning Purposes Tool purposes from the master list to refl ect people’s ideas and values. Facilitator’s introduction: Welcome participants and frame the This process may reveal some disagree- session. ment or tensions in people’s beliefs. That’s Welcome the participants and ask everyone to • good, because one of the goals of the process is introduce themselves. to surface misalignments among people’s beliefs • Introduce the purposes of the session and the so that they can be acknowledged and dis- rationale for using it at this time. cussed. But the discussion can be sensitive. • Introduce the basic steps of the protocol for Remind the group of the importance of being using the tool. Explain the time frame for the respectful of everyone’s views and allowing all session. heard. voices to be • Ask for any questions or concerns before beginning. Step 4: Connect purposes and practices. In pairs or small groups with different partners: • Step 1. Identify the learning purposes you value. Assign each group 2-3 purposes from the Alone, with a colleague, or in a group: Brain- • handful of key purposes that have emerged storm several learning purposes you hold as central. For each purpose, list the main dear. For now, don’t worry about prioritizing things your program or approach currently does or evaluating your ideas, just get all your ideas to try to achieve this. down. (Feel free to use the purposes listed on Refl ect on the match between each learning • the tool to stimulate your thinking, but don’t purpose and the list of things your program does feel bound by them.) to achieve this. What works and what doesn’t • Review your list and circle the handful of pur- (and how do you know)? What needs attention? poses that seem most important. Make a note What would you like to do better or differently? of any questions or concerns that arise as you Are there new ideas about achieving this pur- identify key purposes. pose that you would like to explore? Step 2: Create a “master list” of purposes . Step 5: Consolidate ideas. • As a whole group: Share your lists and explore ec- As a whole group: Share and discuss your refl • the similarities and differences. Identify major nd that you want tions. In doing this, you may fi themes across all the lists. to revise or add to your list of key purposes. Create a master list of possible learning purposes • for your program or approach, marking the Step 6: Think ahead. purposes that each group has identifi ed as most • As a whole group: Decide what action plans or important. Don’t worry if the list is a little long. follow-up conversations should be pursued, if You will revisit and refi ne it after the next step. any, as a result of this experience. Step 3: Seek alignment around key purposes. • As a whole group, review the list and try to identify a set of 4-7 purposes that you all believe
87 75 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality The Learning Purposes of Arts Education: ecting on visions and actions A tool for refl What do you believe are, or should What are the main things be, the big learning purposes of your you do, or would like to do, arts education program or approach? to achieve each purpose? ∆ Why teach the arts? Some common beliefs among arts educators Arts Education... u Fosters broad dispositions and skills u Teaches artistic skills and techniques u Develops aesthetic awareness u Provides ways of pursuing understanding in the world u Helps students engage with community, civic, and social issues u Provides a venue for self-expression u Helps students develop as individuals
88 76 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality The Learning Purposes of Arts Education: A tool for refl ecting on visions and actions What are the main things you What do you believe are, or should do, or would like to do, to achieve be, the big learning purposes of your each purpose? arts education program or approach?
89 77 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Four Lenses on Quality: A Tool for Identifying Steps in the Use of the Four Lenses Tool: c Elements of Quality in an Arts Learning Specifi Facilitator’s introduction: Welcome participants and frame the Setting session. • Welcome the participants and ask everyone to While conducting this study, it became abundantly introduce themselves. clear that articulating what constitutes quality in arts Introduce the purposes of the session and the • learning experiences is challenging for most arts educa- rationale for using it at this time. tors. The problem isn’t that they lack ideas about the na- Introduce the basic steps of the protocol for us- • ture of quality in their work, but rather that they have ing the tool. Explain the time frame for the ses- more ideas than can be captured in a few statements. In- sion. deed, the depth of their experience and involvement in Ask for any questions or concerns before begin- • this work has led them to consider the great variety and ning. complexity of the dimensions of quality in arts learning Step 1. Identify elements of quality as seen through each of the and teaching. These multiple dimensions of quality are four lenses. both an indication of the richness of the learning expe- • Alone, with a colleague or in a group: Imagine riences available to young people and an indication of looking at the arts learning experiences in your the challenge arts educators have in capturing the di- setting through each of the four lenses. For mensionality of arts learning and teaching in assessments each lens, brainstorm a list of elements of high and evaluations. Establishing and protecting the quality quality you would see (Elements = practices or of these programs can be compromised when the vari- visible characteristics). ous decision makers are not explicitly aware of or aligned Ask yourselves: Is anything important missing • around their beliefs about what aspects of the program are from this list of elements? most important to protect or improve. Use a colored pen or crayon to circle those ele- • The purpose of this tool is to provide a structure for ments that feel especially important in your set- the many people involved in developing and participat- ting. ing in an arts education program to talk together about what constitutes quality. The tool, like several of the Step 2: Explore others’ ideas. questions we asked people during our research, focuses on • Share your lists with 4 or 5 other individuals or the question of ‘what quality looks like’ when one walks ` groups. Discuss one lens at time, exploring simi- into an arts classroom or other setting for serious arts larities and differences across the lists. learning. The subjective nature of this question is a key Step 3: Work towards a common analysis. to the productive use of the tool; that is, the goal of these As a whole group: Report from small groups to • conversations is to surface each participant’s beliefs about the larger group, if the size of whole group the nature of quality in arts teaching and learning. Dif- makes this relevant. Identify areas of agreement ferences in opinion and perspective are especially impor- and disagreement and explore the reasons why tant to note and probe. They may not be easy to resolve, people see the situation in the ways they do nor should one aim for easy resolution. Signifi cant differ- (e.g., Different roles? Different assumptions? cant misalignment in ences could be the source of signifi Different goals?). decision making processes; signifi cant differences could ll it in • Draw a large version of the diagram and fi also lead to fruitful evolution in thinking as differences with everything related to each lens. are discussed. The depth of dialogue and the clarity that emerges from a close examination of these differences are the signs of usefulness of the tool.
90 78 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Step 4: Share beliefs about what quality should look like in Step 5: Think ahead. your setting. • As a group, decide what action plans or follow- Noting all items described in each lens, discuss as up conversations should be pursued, if any, as a a group why and how the various elements in each lens result of this experience. are important in your organization. Consider how your organization is taking steps to improve and/or insure their quality
91 79 Four Lenses of Quality in Arts Education Experiences “In the Room” A Mapping Exercise What are the elements of high quality in each of these four dimensions in your setting? Environment Student Learning Community Pedagogy Dynamics Four Lenses of Quality in Arts Education Experiences Diagram 3: Quality as Seen Through the Lens of Student Learning Quality as Seen Through the Lens of Community Engagement Dynamics Purposeful experiences creating or engaging with Respect and trust among all participants, along works of art with a belief in student capacities Emotional openness and honesty Openness of communication Experimentation, exploration, and inquiry Collaboration Ownership Quality as Seen Through the Lens of Environment Quality as Seen Through the Lens of Pedagogy Functional and aesthetic space and materials Authenticity The arts occupy a central place in the physical Modeling artistic processes, inquiry, and habits environment Participation in the learning experience Suffi cient time for authentic artistic work Making learning relevant and connected to prior knowledge Intentionality, fl exibility, and transparency
92 80 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Examining the Base: A Tool for Identifying and intend? ning Decisions Refl ecting on Program-Defi Our student body has changed in signifi • cant ways in recent years. Are our decisions about what The purpose of this tool is to help practitioners, to teach and how to teach still as appropriate administrators, and other members of the community and relevant as they were when we began? connected to a particular arts education program to de- Ultimately, a foundation can only hold so much termine or reconsider their answers to the set of foun- weight. If a program is struggling or growing, the base must dational questions identifi ed in Chapter 4. We consider be revisited, reconsidered, and, if appropriate, redesigned. these questions as ‘foundational’ because they are ques- The purpose of this tool is to help in that process. tions all programs must answer and because they establish a ‘base’ upon which virtually all other programmatic de- Steps in the Use of the Examining the Base Tool: cisions are made. A program’s answers to these questions are not set in stone. As a program is being created, as it is Facilitator’s introduction: Welcome participants and frame the considering expansion, or as other changes unfold, these session. decisions are explicitly and implicitly revisted and even • Welcome the participants and ask everyone to challenged, The four foundational questions are: introduce themselves. • Introduce the purposes of the session and the teaches the arts? And who are the students? WHO: Who rationale for using it at this time. What background, contexts, roles, and perspectives • Introduce the basic steps of the protocol for will teachers bring to this program? using the tool. Explain the time frame for the Who will be served by this program – and why session. focus on that population? • Ask for any questions or concerns before begin- WHERE: Where the arts taught? are ning. Where does this learning and teaching take place? Step 1. Examine your program’s current answers to the foun- dational questions. WHAT & HOW: What is taught and how ? • Divide the group into four groups, assuming What will be the content of instruction and how there are enough people present to have at least will it be taught? a pair work on each question. assessed? ASSESSMENT: How is arts learning Each group considers three questions about the • How, for whom, and for what purposes, is evidence question they’ve been assigned: of learning gathered? What does the program currently do that embodies The questions in this tool lead participants through the answer to the question? a process of considering pragmatics fi rst, purposes and What pragmatic considerations does this answer ideals second, and quality third. Of course, in practice, ect? refl pragmatics and ideals are intertwined, and in considering quality from the perspective of a program’s foundation, How does the answer align with your program’s basic many questions are likely to arise, including the following purposes? (If you have already used the “Purposes” kinds of concerns: tool, use the list you created to help you think about • Can we provide for as many – and as diverse – a this question.) student body as we have chosen to serve and Step 2. Collect ideas from all groups. maintain high quality for all involved? • Reconvene into the whole group and ask each ed teachers • Do we have enough highly qualifi group to report on their answers. to provide the learning opportunities that we • After each report, ask for questions of clarifi ca-
93 81 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality tion and then for topics or issues that anyone NOTE: These discussions can be quite sensitive. would like to raise about any of those answers. In a sense, this tool is intended to surface con- Compile a list of these topics on chart paper, so cerns and discontent. Given that, participants you can return to them. should be encouraged to frame their comments as concerns and questions rather than provocations. . Step 3: Dig into the issues The small group should be given adequate • As a whole group: Revisit the chart paper and time (and fair warning) to prepare a report with identify which topics are of greatest shared con- key points from their conversation. The report cern. (One way to do this is to read through the should note where consensus was achieved and list and ask everyone to vote only three times for where there were disagreements in answers to the the issues s/he would most want to discuss.) framing question. The major points should be • Depending on the size of the group and the noted on chart paper. number of issues selected for discussion, there As a whole group: could be subdivisions into smaller groups to dis- The whole group listens to the reports of the four • cuss particular issues from the chart. The goal groups. The facilitator leaves time for clarifying here is to explore as many concerns as have been questions following each report. raised about the “foundational decisions” upon The group must consider which of the founda- • which the program is operating. tional decisions should be given further consider- • Review what has been learned so far in consider- ation, especially in light of the questions raised ing these foundational decisions. Identify topics from the standpoint of perceptions of the quality or issues that must receive more consideration. of the arts learning experiences students are hav- Step 4: Consider the foundational decisions from the stand- ing in the class or program. point of quality. Step 5: Think ahead. In small groups comprised of different people from • As a group, decide what action plans or follow- the earlier groups: up conversations should be pursued, if any, as a Each small group considers one of the founda- • result of this experience. tional decisions through the lens of the question: From the standpoint of creating high quality arts learning experiences for students, how do you feel about these decisions?
94 82 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Examining the base Where? Who? What? How? A Tool for Identifying and Refl ecting on Program-defi ning Decisions Identify your ect: Refl programmatic decisions and realities in each area: Who teaches the arts? • What pragmatic consider- What background, contexts, ations do your decisions in roles, and What perspectives ect? each of these areas refl do teachers bring? Who will be served by this program – and why focus on that population? • How do these decisions align with the basic Where are the arts taught? purposes for arts education Where does this learning and in your setting? teaching take place? how? is taught and What • From the standpoint of cre- What is the content of in- ating high quality arts learn- struction and how is it taught? ing experiences for students, how do you feel about these is arts learning assessed How ? decisions? How, for whom, and for what purposes, is evidence of learn- ing gathered?
95 83 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Steps in the Use of the Three Circles of Decision Three Circles of Decision Makers: A Tool for Analyzing Alignment and Misalignment Across Makers Tool: Levels of Decision Makers Facilitator’s introduction: Welcome participants and frame the The purpose of the tool is to help groups identify session. where there is good communication among relevant Welcome the participants and ask everyone to intro- • decision makers and where those decision makers are duce themselves. aligned – or misaligned – in terms of what constitutes • Introduce the purposes of the session and the rationale quality in arts learning experiences. It is meant to pro- for using it at this time. voke thought and dialogue, and it can be used by multiple • Introduce the basic steps of the protocol for using the constituencies within a particular setting, including any tool. Explain the time frame for the session. of the stakeholders in the work of the program. It may Ask for any questions or concerns before beginning. • make sense to start with relatively small groups within a Step 1. Toward identifying ‘who,’ ‘lines of communication,’ setting that share both signifi cant knowledge of the work- and ‘alignment/ misalignment.’ ings of the program and a deep concern for its vitality and • Alone or with a colleague: Mark on your diagram who strength. This tool can be used as a relatively quick part you think are key decision makers in each circle in of a meeting or conversation or as the focus of a much your setting? longer, dedicated examination of decision making pro- • Draw lines between those people who you believe are cesses and outcomes. Like the other tools accompanying in regular or adequate communication within and this report, it is intended to be used as a step in a pro- across these circles when making decisions that affect cess that could easily take a series of conversations. In the quality of students’ learning experiences. Strong, some settings, considering issues of communication and thick lines might indicate good lines of communica- alignment in this way could well become a long-term and tion, while broken lines may suggest weaker lines of regular process. communication. In the process of using this tool, participants are • Consider which of these decision makers are aligned asked to consider: on beliefs about what constitutes quality learning ex- Who: Who are the relevant decision makers and periences in your setting. Use one color (green, for ex- where do they fi t in the diagram? cant alignment and another ample) to indicate signifi Communication: Among these many decision mak- color (red) to indicate signifi cant misalignment. A ers, what are the patterns and formats for communication third color (yellow) could represent inadequate infor- about substantive aspects of those decisions and their im- mation for determining degrees of alignment. Any red pact? Where might the communication be inadequate? lines should be keyed to a note in the margins about what the differences are. Critical Decisions: Which decisions are having most impact – positive or negative – on the quality of Step 2: Working toward a common analysis. students’ arts learning experiences? In small groups: Share your diagrams with one or two • others. Consider where you see potentially signifi cant Ideas about Quality: cant differ- Are there signifi who, communica- differences in your assessments of ences in ideas about what constitutes a high quality arts tion, and alignment . There aren’t absolute answers learning experience among any of these decision makers? to these questions. It is most important to see where How do you know? Have these been discussed explicitly? there is consensus or signifi cant differences in the diagrams and then to listen as each person explains what informs her determinations.
96 84 Tools for Achieving and Sustaining Quality Step 3: Identifying puzzles of communication and beliefs about • As a whole group: Report from small groups to the quality. larger group. Identify areas of agreement and disagree- Noting all items and areas with a lack of consensus, • ment. Again, explore the reasons why people see the try to articulate the nature of the differences in per- city in situation in the ways they do. Encourage specifi spective expressed and note them as a puzzle in need responses. (“I was thinking about the monthly coord-i of further consideration. nators meetings, where I think the area coordinators Step 4: Steps toward solving the puzzles. discuss issues of professional development.”) • Identify ways of exploring the puzzles just named. This • Leave room for different and contradictory perspec- could involve conversations with people who are not c tives, but always ground opinions in some specifi present about their perspectives on any aspect of this evidence. It should not be adequate to simply declare analysis, including the premise that there may be cause that someone or some groups never listen or don’t for concern about the decisions that impact quality in respect the opinions of others. (e.g., a claim that this setting. Name specifi c tasks and people responsible principals never listen to teachers or vice versa.) The for them. purpose here is to raise questions about communica- Plan the next conversation in which the group will • tion and ideas about what constitutes quality and to ndings from these efforts to get reconvene to share fi surface specifi c areas for further inquiry. more information toward understanding the puzzles. • Draw one large version of the diagram on chart paper , who communi- ll it in with everything related to and fi Step 5: Think ahead . cation alignment , and As a group, decide what action plans or follow-up • conversations should be pursued, if any, as a result of this experience. Identifying Decision Makers Who Impact The Quality of Arts Learning Experiences Who are decision makers? Who works together to make decisions? Policy Makers Administrators and Others Teachers and Learners Diagram 4: Identifying Decision Makers Who Impact the Quality of Arts Learning Experiences
97 85 Implications of this Study CHAPTER 7: IMPLICATIONS OF THIS STUDY Students WHEN PROJECT ZERO BEGAN this research, our goal Student learning is at the heart of quality, and it is was to gain insights that could help educators and admin- crucial to recognize that s tudents themselves are deci- istrators across all areas of the fi eld of arts education ex- sion makers who signifi uence the quality of cantly infl plore issues of quality in their own settings and contexts. their arts learning experiences as well as the experiences To this end, we undertook a study of wide scope, encom- nding of our study, with of others. This is an important fi passing all major art forms, multiple ages and contexts, implications for practice and further research. One im- and in-school and out-of-school settings. Wide scope and plication is that adults should seek to engage students in in-depth focus aren’t usually equally compatible, and our explicit conversations about the decisions they are mak- ndings are admittedly broad. They provide an early, ru- fi ing – notably about whether or not to engage in a par- dimentary map of the “qualities of quality” in arts educa- ticular class, what they want to work on in that context, tion that can guide, but not prescribe, practice and which and their responsibility to other learners. An apprecia- we hope will lead to more in-depth explorations in the tion of the importance of students as decision makers sug- future. There remains much to be determined. Is qual- gests that teachers and artists hone their ability to listen ity the same across art forms or different age groups? Are to, observe, and talk with students, often in new ways. there important differences in experiences when the fo- Teacher/artists, parents and mentors need to take time cus is perception or production, or when learning is con- to examine decisions that students make and help them ducted in or out of school, or when arts are integrated or consider their choices and the impact of those choices on c contexts and ap- taught on their own? Until these specifi the quality of their learning experiences. proaches are studied separately and comparatively, these questions cannot be answered systematically. Teachers (Including Arts Teachers, Teaching Artists, Teachers of Non-Art Subjects, and Volunteers) Toward an Experience Perspective The most important indication of excellence in arts Our hope is that this report encourages a shift in the education is the quality of students’ learning experiences, focus of conversations about the nature of quality in arts not the quality of the artworks they produce. In a very real education and how it might be achieved and sustained. students’ experiences are the primary product , not the sense, We believe it is time to expand beyond the legislative perspec- artworks they produce, and teachers need to remember tive on quality, in which the primary focus is on policies that to see students’ artworks as evidence of student learning. create the conditions for high quality arts programs, and in- This points to the importance of creating ways to gather stead embrace an experience perspective, in which the primary evidence of student learning over time (e.g., through focus is on the nature of the learning experiences for students. portfolios and/or refl ections, photographs, videos, audio This shift of focus prioritizes students’ learning as the recordings), and to review the evidence regularly with heart of the matter – the compass and measure of every students, both individually and in groups, and with other arts learning experience. teachers and wider groups of educators, as well as with Implications for Particular Audiences parents. It also suggests the value of documentation of – recording in various ways what actu- learning in action Creating quality arts learning experiences requires ally happens in classes, and discussing those experiences the involvement of people at all levels in the arts learn- in refl ective, analytic ways that include consideration of ing experience, and there are particular challenges and how to improve the experience for everyone involved. cations for individuals in different roles. Here are ramifi ndings of this study for differ- some implications of the fi ent participants in arts education.
98 86 Implications of this Study Professional Development Leaders (Including Leaders tice that make quality visible in different contexts and Who Shape and Provide Pre-Service and In-Service arts forms. Educators are hungry to engage in that kind tion) Educa of looking and analysis. Funding of projects that docu- While important strides in professional development ment quality can provide provocations for conversations for arts educators have been made in recent years, explic- among faculties and staffs of schools and arts organiza- it focus on helping arts educators explore quality in arts tions that could increase quality and provide an immense learning is an area in which considerable work still needs contribution to the fi eld. to be done. Learning can be hard to see. Arts educators Another way funders and boards can support the need pre-service and in-service professional development pursuit of quality is to emphasize assessments that capture opportunities to help them develop tools and strategies In the “qualities and quality” of student learning experiences. for observing student learning and identifying signs of any educational setting, the question of how success is teachers need professional development quality. In addition, determined or measured is critical. As many have noted, ect on their philosophy of experiences that allow them to refl assessments established to determine success in meeting practice through the lens of quality, considering their purposes, goals and purposes will drive the design and facilitation approaches, and effectiveness. Doing this in conversation of learning experiences. Indeed, we have seen time and with other arts educators is especially important because again how “assessments drive curriculum.” Among the it helps develop a learning community among adults, en- implications then is the imperative that evaluation of couraging teachers to stay in contact with each other and arts programs include direct encounter with the “live” eld. with broader conversations in the fi learning experience. Certainly many criteria for quality – length of learning time, quality of materials, experience Administrators (Including Those at the Organization- are critically important, but seri- of teachers, and so on – al, Community, and District Levels): ous assessment must also consider what is actually hap- Because the locus of quality is students’ learning ex- pening “in the room.” periences, it is important that people who make decisions The important general point for funders and boards that affect the parameters of those experiences know what is that the pursuit of quality takes time and requires fi nan- is actually going on in classrooms. This suggests the need cial resources. Observational and refl ective processes take to create ways for administrators to have regular encoun- serious time and involve such supports as professional the critical ters with classroom practices. It also suggests development, the involvement of outside observers and importance of creating opportunities for educators close to the facilitators, and materials for documenting classroom life. classroom and administrators farther away from it to refl ect All of these require signifi cant fi nancial support. Cur- together regularly on the quality of their programs and how nd the time and the rently, most programs struggle to fi best to continue – and improve – their efforts to achieve it. ect upon, analyze, nancial and human resources to refl fi Funders and Boards of Directors and document the quality of their students’ learning ex- Funders and boards of directors are essential col- Funders might consider establishing a “10 % for periences. laborators in the quest for quality; they are as deeply con- quality” policy, which would assume that 10% be added cerned with achieving quality as anyone else involved to any budget simply to support these kinds of activities in an arts program, including students and parents. In a and expenses. broad sense, the implications of this study for funders and Advocates Take care to provide arts programs boards is straightforward: As noted in the beginning of this report, access and with funds, requirements, and structures that explicitly support excellence are both major challenges for arts educators. There are several ways to do the ongoing pursuit of quality. The challenges of access to arts education for many young this. For example, one is to support the documentation Americans is so stark and so signifi cant that arguments eld needs more pictures of excellent prac- of quality. The fi for creating many more arts learning opportunities are
99 87 Implications of this Study relatively easy to make. The challenges of quality are as these and other tools must be undertaken and made pub- cant, but nuanced discussion of what constitutes signifi lic. Documentation of the ways in which these tools (and cult. Arts education advocates quality is often more diffi any others that may be developed or already exist) aid are often in the position of articulating the values and in the quest for quality should be published. Establish- benefi ts of arts learning opportunities. It is critical that ment of websites dedicated to practices that support that arts education advocates become more skilled in articu- quality of arts education could be a way for researchers, lating compellingly the need for access and excellence administrators, and practitioners to collaborate on the in quality. ning, achieving Sensitivity to the complexity of defi development of new and better tools and protocols across and sustaining quality, as well as to the contextual meaning diverse settings. of quality in different settings, could become one of the key Linking quality experiences to established standards. characteristics of effective advocates. We were unable to explore fully the relationship be- tween standards and outcomes established by national, Researchers state, and district entities or professional associations on There are several possible areas for further research c dimensions of actual arts the one hand, and the specifi suggested by this study, and in the next section we men- learning experiences on the other hand. This is an impor- tion a few of them. Some of these investigations may well tant area of investigation and one on which researchers, be pursued by professional researchers. We want to stress, policy makers, and practitioners should collaborate. however, that one implication of this study has to do with Foundational questions and essential decisions. The who we think of as researchers. Insofar as the quest for literature review conducted for this study identifi ed four quality is fundamentally tied to what happens “in the room” foundational questions that constitute a major set of de- where arts learning takes place, the whole conceptualization of cisions that arts educators must make in creating and research must expand to include teachers, administrators, and sustaining virtually all programs. More work needs to be students – those most deeply and directly involved in the living done to understand the nature and timing of the kinds experience of arts learning – as researchers, capable of con- of decisions that are most critical to the quality of arts tributing essential questions, data, and analysis to the study of programs. This work could well help all decision makers what constitutes quality. become substantively more aware of the ultimate impact of their choices and decisions. Promising Areas for Further Research The arts and other disciplines. Investigating and pursu- Close-up pictures of “in the room” learning experiences. ing excellence in arts education and continuing to inves- This study was intentionally broad in scope, with the hope tigate its character does not depend on drawing distinc- that it could provide a foundation for further research. tions between art and other disciplines: It is likely that Clearly, we need many more close-up pictures of excel- excellence in arts education overlaps in signifi cant ways lent practice across arts education contexts to understand with excellence in other educational areas. For instance, the nuances and details of achieving quality in particular until more research is done, we cannot know the degree situations. This research might well pay particular atten- to which the elements of quality described here for arts tion to the lenses suggested by this study: learning, peda- education apply to other academic disciplines. Are there gogy, community dynamics, and environment, and to the differences in the qualities themselves? Are there differ- ways purposes and foundational decisions come to life in ences in emphasis and signifi cance? This research should student learning. We hope the tools we offer in this report include both critical analysis across the art forms as well as can aid such observations and descriptions of practice. across academic disciplines. With the model established Fur- ning and developing tools for studying quality. Refi by this study, comparative research on quality learning and ther research is needed to refi ne the tools presented in teaching across disciplines may be achieved more readily, ne this report. Local efforts to work with, test, and refi research that looks for similarities across contexts, not just
100 88 Implications of this Study differences. This realm of research is a natural setting for learning experiences to make sure that they align productive collaborations among educational researchers with core program goals and beliefs. • Taking care that foundational decisions about who, who may typically focus on a single discipline (the case what, where, and how the arts are taught are well for many researchers in arts education). Researchers from aligned with a program’s big purposes. elds (such as public health, business, and sports other fi • Continually seeking alignment between a – domains in which learning, performance, and quality program’s purposes, its vision of quality, and the are linked) may also provide important insights. programmatic decisions that are made at all Concluding Thoughts levels by all constituencies. There are no shortcuts. Achieving quality involves This study revealed that, in the actual practice of an ongoing examination of programmatic as well as per- arts education, there are multiple versions of excellence. sonal purposes and values, along with a continual exami- High quality arts programs can exist in or out of schools; nation of what is actually happening “in the room.” This they can be taught by teaching artists, art teachers, non- quest does not end. Arts educators deeply committed to arts teachers, or volunteers; they can focus on production quality know that this search is an essential element of or perception; and they can be integrated with academ- what constitutes quality. It is perhaps one of the great- ics or taught as separate subjects; and there is no single est lessons we can offer our students – that the pursuit of recipe for achieving quality. There do seem to be some quality is both central to the achievement of excellence necessary ingredients, though. On a programmatic level and a wonderful, challenging, and compelling learning these include: experience in itself. • Striving for multiple big purposes simultaneously. Shaping and examining the quality of student •
101 89 Methodology APPENDIX A: METHODOLOGY THE GOAL OF THE QUALITIES OF THE QUALITY ing chart, also included in the Introduction, identifi es the project was to conduct a multi-faceted study of how arts defi ning methodological decisions and major research ne and strive to create high quality arts- educators defi questions that gave shape to the study. learning experiences for children and youth. The follow- 1. How do arts educators in the United States – including leading practitioners, theorists, and administrators – conceive of and defi ne high quality arts learning and teaching? 2. What markers of excellence do educators and administra- Three Broad Research tors look for in the actual activities of art learning and teach- Questions ing as they unfold in the classroom? 3. How do a program’s foundational decisions, as well as its ongoing day-to-day decisions, impact the pursuit and achieve- ment of quality? AGES: Grades K-12. LOCATIONS: In school and out of school; urban, suburban, and rural sites. Scope of Research ART FORMS: Dance, theater, music, visual arts, and some emerging forms, such as spoken word. Literature review. Interviews with 16 recognized theorists and practitioners in the fi eld. Three Research Strands Site visits to 12 notable programs yielding interviews with over 250 people. Nominations solicited by email from several hundred arts Nomination Process for education professionals in a wide range of roles across the Each Research Strand United States.
102 90 Methodology The Broad Scope of the Study Research Questions Teaching and learning in the arts for children and ned the study The three research questions that defi adolescents between kindergarten and high school gradu- (see chart) were formulated with two goals in mind. The rst was to orient our investigation toward the experien- fi ation takes place in many and diverse settings, including home and family. We focused on formal, intentional arts tial dimension of quality. In several places throughout this report, we argue for the importance of trying to un- learning experiences – in classes, workshops, studios, and projects. We tried to capture the full breadth of these set- derstand how, at this moment in time, arts educators con- ow of teaching ceive of quality “on the ground” – in the fl tings in the study, including arts education opportunities and learning in the classroom or other authentic setting in and out of school and in rural, urban, and suburban set- – rather than what they take as proxies for quality, such as tings. We also included all of the major art forms – dance, assessment scores, or attendance rates, or other measures theater, music, and visual arts, alone, in combination, that capture certain outcomes of an experience rather and extending to such contemporary and emerging forms than the qualities of the experience itself. This explains as documentary fi lm or radio and spoken word. We sought constitutes why our fi a wide range of settings, including schools, museums, folk qual- rst research question asks what ity in arts education, rather than asking how excellence art, and community arts contexts. is measured or what its outcomes are. In addition, we aimed for a broad representation of A second reason the top-level research questions are ideas, experiences, and perspectives in gathering our data. broad is that they refl During the two year study, we interviewed over 250 peo- ect an effort to resist imposing our ning issues at this mo- own ideas about the major fi ple, visited 12 sites, and reviewed over 500 sources, includ- eld-defi eld. Almost ing articles, chapters, newspaper articles, and books. Our ment in time on the views of others in the fi any research initiative begins with preconceptions about interviewees included students (K-12), parents, teachers, administrators, theorists, researchers, arts program board ndings. Researchers must acknowledge these preconcep- fi tions but take care not to let them shape the actual fi nd- members, members of the business community, municipal leaders, founders of organizations, community activists, ings. As one example, we anticipated that our fi ndings might cluster around issues concerning standards and as- and a mayor of a major city. sessment since these issues are now on the minds of many We are well aware that the limitations of the study educators. Similarly, given the heated debates about how – a dozen site visits and only 16 “expert” interviews – are to justify the arts in the school curriculum, we expected severe, especially given the breadth of the fi eld as we de- ca- people to be strongly interested in talking about justifi fi ned it. At the same time, we felt there was great poten- lled. tion. Neither of these expectations was fulfi tial signifi cance in fi ndings that represented this breadth We formulated a set of mid-level questions to guide of perspectives on questions of quality in arts education. Since no prior study has undertaken this task with such the development of our interview protocols, and later, to scope, we felt it was legitimate and important to see what inform our data analysis. The questions were designed to a broad view could yield before undertaking much needed be broad enough to allow the themes we anticipated to further study into more specialized areas. We sought to emerge, but also to challenge their emergence or allow them to emerge. The list of mid-level questions was not identify convergence of ideas, practices, and patterns of decision making regarding quality. We recognize that there revised many times during the early stages of the project; are differences that make a difference – across art forms, here we include only the fi nal version. and across settings and contexts, and it is our hope that this study will provoke further study of quality, in each of c ages groups and settings. the art forms and for specifi
103 91 Methodology The Three Research Strands Mid-level research questions Beliefs about the nature of quality: We pursued three strands of inquiry – a literature • What do arts education practitioners, adminis- review, a series of one-on-one interviews with experts in trators, and theorists believe are the essential the fi eld, and a series of site visit-interviews to programs purposes of high quality arts education? What do in diverse settings across the U.S. Our goal was to explore they believe arts education should be striving to theoretical, research, and practical perspectives on quality achieve? and then to triangulate from these perspectives to iden- • What do arts education practitioners, adminis- cant convergences and divergences. Lois Het- tify signifi trators, and theorists believe are essential features land and Ellen Winner led the literature review strand; teaching in the arts? of high quality Shari Tishman led the interview strand; Steve Seidel led • What do arts education practitioners, adminis- the site visit strand. Within each strand, small teams of trators, and theorists believe are essential features research assistants were involved in data collection and of high quality learning in the arts? analysis and most research assistants participated on more than one strand team. Sources of beliefs about quality: How do arts education practitioners, administra- • Nomination Process tors, and theorists come to their understandings We sought to cast a wide net encompassing lead- of what constitutes quality and how to achieve elds, policy makers, ers in arts education, the academic fi it? funders, administrators, practitioners, and public offi cials. • What kinds of background experiences and We wanted diversity in terms of school and non-school beliefs inform people’s ideas about quality? settings, art forms, and local, regional, and national rep- resentation. To this end, we devised a nomination process Evidence/markers of quality: to help us decide whom to interview, which programs to • What do practitioners report looking for and/or visit, and which literature to review. An online nomina- seeing in an arts learning experience that, for tion and selection process was developed for all three them, serves as evidence of quality arts learning strands, and nomination requests were sent to 403 people and teaching? or organizations across the United States. Nominators in- Challenges to quality: ministrator/art- cluded people in four categories: Ad What questions, debates, and dichotomies do • professor; funder/ ist/practitioner; researcher/theorist/ arts education practitioners, administrators, philanthropist; public offi cial (often people in state de- and theorists report they currently struggle with partments of education and/or state arts agencies). All regarding the nature of quality arts learning and were invited via email to contribute their nominations teaching and how to achieve it? through a specially designed project website. (See Ap- How do arts education practitioners, administra- • pendix D for the nomination request letter). tors, and theorists identify the major obstacles to The nomination form asked for suggestions of litera- achieving high quality arts learning and teach- ture, people, and programs that addressed issues of quality ing? in arts education in explicit and/or important ways. The form did not ask nominators to identify the “best” pro- Decisions affecting quality grams, but rather programs where quality was taken seri- • What is the relationship between quality arts ously and where participants might be especially thought- learning and teaching, and decision making re- ful and articulate about the question of what constitutes lated to the design and support of arts programs? quality in arts learning and teaching. This same qualifi ca- • When and where are decisions about quality lo- tion was sought in relation to nominations for interview- cated? Who makes them? How are they made?
104 92 Methodology through hand searches of arts education journals ees and literature – thoughtful articulations of the nature conducted in libraries at Boston University, of quality in arts education. Harvard University, and Luna Kids Dance in Of the 403 possible nominators, 378 successfully Oakland, California. received the nomination invitation. Forty-seven percent • We reviewed all the applications for the case (177 people) responded by nominations in at least one studies. One hundred twenty-one organizations, strand. Some offered suggestions in all three areas – lit- including community arts centers, schools, cul- erature, interviewees, and sites – while others only made tural institutions, and partnerships, completed suggestions in one or two areas. All nominated literature applications for selection as sites to be studied. was sought and, when found, reviewed. All nominated The applications included questions about qual- interviewees were investigated and considered for selec- ity (See Site Visit Strand, below). tion. All nominated sites were sent an online explanation • We reviewed standards for assessing learning in of the study and an invitation to apply for selection. the arts to determine the categories of learning Activities of the Three Research Strands that the major assessment systems believe should be attained by high quality arts programs. The The Literature Review Research Strand four assessment approaches reviewed were: The goal of the literature review was to gain insight International Baccalaureate Program • into what leading scholars in arts education have written Advanced Placement Program • about what constitutes quality teaching and learning in National Standards for Arts Education • the various arts. NAEP (National Arts Assessment of • We conducted an extensive search for articles and Educational Progress) Arts Assessment books addressing issues of excellence in arts learning and Our searches and nominations yielded almost 1,000 teaching. Surprisingly, we found scant literature that ex- articles and books, and about half of these proved rele- plicitly took up the question of quality. Instead we found vant to the question of quality. writings and sometimes debates about how best to teach Literature data analysis. The literature analysis was an art form. By determining the kind of arts education iterative and periodically shared with the cross-strand these authors advocated, we inferred what they held as research team for critique and suggestions. Initial review standards and markers of both excellence and weakness occurred before the interview and site data were collect- in arts education. ed. Through it we identifi ed “hot spots” – issues where ve-pronged approach. We adopted the following fi there was debate and analysis in the literature. These hot We reviewed the works of major theorists in • spots aligned in many ways with the preconceptions we each art form through the contributions in the described earlier – our advance ideas about what sorts most current major handbooks of arts educa - of themes would emerge in the data. For example, there Handbook of Research and tion: Eisner and Day’s was a great deal written about assessment, about integra- Policy in Arts Education (Erlbaum, 2004). Col- tion versus stand-alone approaches to arts education, and well’s Handbook of Research on Music Teaching about how to justify the presence of the arts in schools. (Wadsworth, 2002), Taylor’s and Learning ected the lit- The fact that our preconceptions in part refl (Rout - Researching Drama and Arts Education eld is no surprise. As scholars, we were erature in the fi ledge, 1996), and Preston-Dunlop’s Handbook reasonably familiar with much of this literature, and it for Dance in Education (Princeton Book Com- naturally infl uenced the way we conceived of fi eld-de- pany, 1988). fi ning issues. Through an iterative process of comparing • We reviewed all available references suggested results with the other research strands, it became clear through the nomination process. that while there were many connections between the • We reviewed all appropriate references found
105 93 Methodology emergent themes in the literature review and the emer- 8 people received 4 or more nominations (and no one received more than 10 nominations). Self-nominations gent themes in the interviews and site visit strands, there were permitted, and in several cases the increase from one were also differences. For example, although the people we interviewed had plenty of ideas about assessment, by numerical category to another was due to self-nomina- tion. The large number of single and double nominations, and large it was not the burning issue on people’s minds combined with the quite small number of four-and-over that the literature suggested it might be. Nor was the is- nominations, is itself an interesting fi sue of how to justify the arts weighing heavily on peo- nding that suggests ned by this study, has widely varying ples’ minds. But though the themes that emerged in the eld, as defi that the fi le than those that literature review had a different profi views about who its leading fi gures are. were Several considerations infl similar to uenced our ultimate se- emerged in the other two strands – which lection of interviewees. All potential interviewees were each other – the differences had less to do with disagree- ment in substance than in tone and emphasis. Part of the nominated at least once, and most, more than once. However, the nomination process did not yield 15 clear role of the literature in any fi eld – and arts education is no “winners,” so selection was not a matter of choosing can- exception – is to provide a forum for debate. Sometimes didates with the most votes. We made an initial cut at this leads to polarization, with people publicly identify- ing themselves as aligning with certain perspectives and the two-nomination mark, yielding 65 people. (We did against others. Other times, people seem less worried not make a cut at the three-nomination mark because of the frequency with which the difference between two about choosing sides and more interested in synthesizing what is best from a range of perspectives and practices. As and three nominations was due to self-nomination.) We ndings from then applied additional selection criteria to the list to we describe in the previous chapters, the fi the interview and site visit strands suggest that the fi eld of identify a set of candidates who refl ected the breadth and arts education is currently in such an expansive mood. complexity of the fi eld. The criteria included the follow- ing: representation across art forms (dance, music, visual The Interview Research Strand arts, theater, integrated arts), representation across roles We conducted 16 structured interviews of experts, (administrator, theorist, practitioner), and representation some of whom were theorists and some practitioners. A across contexts and sites (university/academic, school- list of the interviewees can be found in Appendix B. based, out of school, museums, consultant, artist-practi- The web-based interview Interview selection process. tioner). As we applied these criteria, we found gaps not nomination process yielded 465 possible interview candi- addressed by our list of 65 nominees. To fi ll out the list for dates, numerically distributed as follows: missing criteria, we revisited the total pool of nominees. The interview selection process also took into con- sideration whether nominees were also nominated in the Number of nominations literature and/or case study strands. When cross-strand Nominated once 400 nominations occurred, the three strands discussed which Nominated twice 42 strand was most likely to capture the nominee’s input best. 15 Nominated three times This process helped us achieve maximum representation 4 Nominated four times across the entire study – another reason why a simple vote 4 Nominated more than four times count was, by itself, too crude a method of selection. TOTAL 465 The interview selection process was complex and diffi cult; as such, it refl ects certain unavoidable biases. For example, to receive multiple nominations a nominee It is striking that out of 465 total nominations, 65 had to be well-known, either through published writings candidates received more than one nomination, but only or other high-visibility activities. Thus, many nominees
106 94 Methodology were likely to be older, which may under-represent emerg- analysis from the case study and literature strands, which eld. We attempted to balance the set of ing trends in the fi suggested cross-strand connections to explore more ex- interviewees, but we acknowledge that the selection pro- plicitly. Simultaneously, we analyzed all the transcripts cess could not yield a list of people who defi nitively rep- and extracted each interviewee’s main ideas in three resent all the important trends in art education. Rather, categories: (1) characteristics of high quality teaching in eld it yielded a list of fi gures whom many people in the fi the arts; (2) characteristics of high quality learning in the ed perceive as infl uential about quality concerns, modifi arts; and (3) beliefs about the purposes of arts education. by our efforts to achieve representation across art forms Based on these two initial analyses and in conversation and roles and to maximize representation across the three across the other project strands, we developed a more strands of our research. extensive list of coding categories. This iterative process Interview protocol development. Our interview pro- nal report, continued throughout the preparation of the fi tocol consisted of ten questions (which can be found in nements and changes all along the way as the with refi Appendix D), which were designed with a twofold pur- three research strands continued to identify, interpret, pose: (1) to refl ect the top- and mid-level questions that ndings. and weave together their fi guide the study as a whole, and (2) to be open-ended The Site Visit Research Strand and responsive to the interests and concerns of the inter- Site visit selection process. We sent applications to all viewees. After an extended process of development, the nominated sites. Site applications included a total of sev- protocol was pilot-tested with Fernando Hernandez, an en major questions and requested basic information about internationally-known arts educator and scholar at the the program. The questions probed how people in the site University of Barcelona and advisor to The Qualities thought about and addressed issues of quality, what in- of Quality Project. We learned that the interview could fl uences were especially important developing their ideas be conducted within 75 minutes, that the questions ap- about quality in arts education, and what specifi c chal- peared to be clear, and that the answers we obtained were lenges to quality the program had encountered. (See Ap- informative. pendix D for the application questions.) Everyone we invited to be Interview procedure. Of the 246 programs nominated, we received 120 interviewed accepted our request. The interview questions complete applications. Given our focus on quality in stu- were sent to interviewees several weeks in advance and dent-learning experiences, applications received from again immediately prior to the interview. All interviews programs focused exclusively on the professional devel- were conducted via phone by Shari Tishman, with a opment of arts educators or teachers were excluded from research assistant as a silent listener (introduced in the fi nal selections. Nevertheless, we analyzed those ap- advance to the interviewee), who later transcribed the plications to gain insight into the critical and challenging interview and assisted in the analysis of the transcripts. arena of professional development in the arts. The interviews lasted approximately an hour and We selected 12 sites distributed across the major di- fi fteen minutes. Immediately following each interview, mensions that characterize the breadth of this study – art ected on the interview the interviewer and listener refl forms, K-12, in- and out-of-school programs, and rural/ together and captured immediate impressions through a suburban/urban settings (Appendix C lists these sites). “debrief protocol,” (Appendix D) which was written up Multiple readers on our research team independently re- and included in the data set for the interviews. viewed each application and assessed areas of strength and Interview data analysis. Interview transcripts were weakness in each. Our fi rst cut selected those applications coded and analyzed through an iterative process. First, we replete with detail and specifi city about issues of quality. developed provisional top-level coding categories by ana- These characteristics suggested an ability to articulate lyzing data from the debriefi ng protocols. We compared ideas about what constitutes quality and how to achieve ndings with a similar fi these very preliminary fi rst-pass it. After this initial selection, we re-read the selected ap-
107 95 Methodology plications to identify more nuanced dimensions. Final Protocols for the site visits were not as formal as selection was based on evidence in the applications that those used in the interviews. All sites were notifi ed in the program addressed issues and challenges of quality in advance about the kinds of issues we hoped to explore their context in direct, straightforward ways. We also re- while visiting, but, out of necessity, the on-site interviews viewed various possible combinations of sites to achieve were open-ended and responsive to the particular events distribution across the dimensions noted above. We then of the visits: Questions emerged, for example, from obser- notifi ed the selected sites and advised them about the re- vations, earlier interviews, and accrued impressions dur- quirements for participation. All selected sites agreed to ing the visits. participate. Among the strands, the site visits provided the rich- These programs were not chosen as “exemplars” of est setting for direct investigation of the nature of the quality arts education. Such selection would have been decisions and decision making processes that infl uence impossible. After all, the very purpose of our study was to the character of quality “on the ground” in arts educa- determine the qualities by which such a judgment could tion. Site visits offered multiple perspectives on common responsibly be made. The selection indicates our per- experiences. For example, a conversation about a par- ception that the applicants were thorough, specifi c, and ticular dance rehearsal or session of a digital photogra- articulate in their discussion of what constitutes quality, phy workshop with students, teachers, and supervisors or how they strive to achieve it, and how they contributed administrators provided insight into the responsibilities to a whole that we felt represented the diversity of the that each participant has for the ultimate quality of the entire pool of applicants. experience. Each site was visited for two Site visit procedure. Analysis of case study data Site visit data analysis. days and at each visit, we interviewed a wide range of rst site visit. Data was began upon returning from our fi stakeholders including K-12 students, parents, teachers, initially coded according to categories suggested by our administrators, arts program board members, members of top-level questions with particular focus on capturing the business community, municipal leaders, founders of (1) interviewee’s ideas about the nature or characteristics organizations, community activists and leaders. In addi- of a quality arts learning experience, as well as (2) ideas tion we observed classes, workshops, or rehearsals. At the about how quality arts learning experiences are achieved request of The Wallace Foundation, we included in our and sustained. As a result of continued site visit research, list of sites both Dallas and New York City, where recent post-visit debrief meetings and cross-strand compari- initiatives and developments, along with the long histo- sons of fi ndings, our analytic frame and coding scheme ries at these sites of active arts education communities, evolved and expanded over time, which precipitated ad- made the opportunity to talk with practitioners in both ditional exploration of the site visit data. This iterative cities highly relevant. process continued to shape site visit analysis, throughout The site visits allowed us an opportunity to combine nal stages of the the remainder of the study and into the fi observations and interviews and to ground our conver- development of this report. sations in specifi c physical spaces, neighborhoods, and Cross-Strand Integration uence populations – all aspects of the setting likely to infl the goals, design, and practical details of the programs. In Data analysis was conducted on two levels: intra- almost every case, we were given tours of the communi- strand and inter-strand. Initial processing (e.g., debrief- ties the programs served and were introduced to people ing, memos, transcribing) was conducted within strands. who could provide details on program history. In all cases, Strand-specifi c coding schemes were developed and ap- the programs were generous and open in planning and plied to the data. At the same time, through progress hosting our visits, in whom we met, in what we observed, memos reviewed and discussed at cross-strand data analy- and in the candor of the conversations. sis meetings, the entire research team engaged in close
108 96 Methodology examination of the convergences and divergences of diverse dimensions of quality. We remained intention- ndings. their emergent fi ally alert and skeptical about the clarity of our language, Early stages of the analysis illuminated some strong coding schemes, and emerging conceptual frameworks, areas of convergence across the strands and over dimen- which was particularly challenging. Contributions of the sions of breadth in the fi eld (e.g., art forms, K-12, urban/ research assistants who participated on more than one suburban/rural). Given our interest in fi ndings of practi- strand provided critical comparative eyes in the cross- cal import for decision makers, we attended more to con- strand analysis. The opportunity to present early fi ndings vergence than to divergence at this stage. Cross-strand from the study at conferences and meetings also provided analysis was especially important for synthesizing the critical perspective on the veracity of our analysis.
109 97 Interview Strand Interviewees APPENDIX B: INTERVIEW STRAND INTERVIEWEES Eric Booth Kristin Congdon Currently a faculty member at the Kennedy Cen- Kristin Congdon’s work is largely based in the pres- ter, and director of the mentoring program at the Juilliard ervation of folk arts, feminist criticism and the role of arts School, Eric Booth is an active advocate of the arts. He education in the community. She has taught in a variety is founder and editor of the Teaching Artist journal and of settings, including public schools, correctional settings, author of articles and books dedicated to arts education treatment facilities, museums, and universities, and cur- and arts educators. In his writing, research, and teaching, rently teaches at the University of Central Florida. Booth strives to facilitate student engagement through Elliot Eisner and in the arts. Elliot Eisner is emeritus professor of Art and Edu- Doug Boughton cation at Stanford University. His work has focused on Doug Boughton is professor of art and education at art education, curriculum studies and qualitative research Northern Illinois University. His research and writing in- methodology. Originally trained as a painter, his teach- terests include the assessment of student learning in art, ing and research explore the ways in which schools can portfolio assessment and art curriculum policy. He has improve by using the processes of the arts in all their pro- worked in the United States and internationally with or- grams. Elliot Eisner’s recent writings focus on how the ganizations committed to arts education research. arts prepare students to make complex decisions inside and outside of the classroom. Rika Burnham Recently appointed the head of education at the Sara Lee Gibb Frick Art Museum in New York, Rika Burnham has spent Sara Lee Gibb is the current president of the Na- her career working in museum education as a lecture, tional Dance Education Organization and the professor educator and leader. She is committed to improving arts of modern dance and assistant dean at Brigham Young education for both students and teachers within the mu- University. She has researched dance pedagogy and cur- seum setting. riculum development for all levels of learners and is inter- ested in exploring the science, biology and technologies Ana Cardona that support the art of dance. Ana Cardona currently works as a consultant for the Michigan Department of Education where she provides Louise Music leadership for curriculum instruction and assessment in the As Alameda County arts learning coordinator, Lou- areas of dance, media arts, theatre and the visual arts. She ise Music provides networking and information exchange has a longstanding personal and professional commitment to establish and promote the role of the arts in learning to the arts, with a particular focus on issues of diversity. and to facilitate communication between the schools and their surrounding organizations. Through her work and Laura Chapman her close involvement with many local and national arts Based in Cincinnati, Laura Chapman is an independent organizations, Louise Music works to make the arts be- consultant on arts education and has authored over 25 books come an integral part of every child’s development and on the topic. She believes that arts education is essential education. for all children and through her work critically examines the school cultures that create the current state of arts education programs. Her recent interests include the use of personal experience inquiry as a pathway to understand teaching and learning in pre-K-12 visual arts education.
110 98 Interview Strand Interviewees Bennett Reimer Susan Sollins Bennett Reimer is emeritus professor of music at Currently the executive producer and creator of the Northwestern University. He has devoted his career to television series Art:21 – Art in the Twenty-First Cen- the philosophy of music education and curriculum design tury, Susan Sollins has worked as a museum educator, cu- in music education. Bennett Reimer believes that musi- rator and creator of public programming with a particular cality is inherent in each individual and that aesthetic focus on contemporary art. She is the co-founder and for- experiences in music are both possible and critical for all mer executive director of Independent Curators Interna- students. tional, a non-profi t museum without walls that develops traveling exhibitions of contemporary art to viewers all Jane Remer over the world. Jane Remer has worked as an author, teacher and freelance consultant in the fi eld of arts education. She be- Bill Strickland lieves that the arts belong in the education of all children An arts educator and entrepreneur with a deep com- and she has been involved in institutional development, mitment to providing arts education to underserved com- program design and implementation, documentation, re- munities, Bill Strickland is the founder and CEO of the search, evaluation and professional training at the state, Manchester Craftsmen Guild, a center for arts and learn- national and local levels. Her recent writings explore ing that aims to inspire urban youth through the arts and how and why the arts can be central to education in our mentored training in life skills. public schools. Cynthia Weiss Johnny Saldaña A public artist and painter, Cynthia Weiss currently Johnny Saldaña has been centrally involved in the works as the school partnerships manager at the Colum- fi eld of theater education as a teacher educator, drama ce of Community Arts Partner- bia College Chicago Offi specialist, director, and researcher. He is currently the ships, directing art programs that invite community and professor of theater and assistant chair at Arizona State school participation. Her dual identity as artist and art University. His work has focused on drama in the class- educator inspire her teaching, writing, and art. room, drama with multicultural materials, ethnotheater, theater for social change, and qualitative research in edu- cation. Lissa Soep Lissa Soep serves as the director of education and senior producer in the newsroom at Youth Radio work- ing with other staff and youth to develop, document and evaluate learning experiences in youth radio. She has au- thored publications that explore youth media and com- munity based education and has lectured widely about youth culture, language and learning.
111 99 Case Study Selected Sites APPENDIX C: CASE STUDY SELECTED SITES Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) of Appalshop – trators through professional development, and to share its Whitesburg, Kentucky work with the broadest audience possible. htpp://www. appalshop.org Arts Corps – Seattle, Washington Rebecca O’Doherty, Director htpp://www.artscorps.org Appalshop is a multi-media arts and cultural or- Lisa Fitzhugh, founder and Executive Director ganization that strives to develop effective ways to use media to address the complex issues facing central Ap- Arts Corps was founded in 2000 on the principle palachia. In 1988 Appalshop staff members founded the that all young people, not just those with resources, Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), a media training should have access to quality arts learning opportunities. program for central Appalachian youth. Using the tech- In response to many schools scaling down or eliminating nological and artistic resources of Appalshop, AMI helps the arts in curriculum, Arts Corps has become a leader young people explore how media production skills can in addressing the arts gap, placing professional teaching be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions of artists at schools, community centers and other organiza- themselves and their communities. With opportunities to tions in King County to facilitate a creative journey for have input into community dialogues, and frame those young people, ages 5 to 19. Teaching in diverse art forms dialogues themselves, young people develop the skills and and in all disciplines, Arts Corps’s teaching artists reach critical thinking abilities necessary to become leaders in several thousand students a year, providing them with creating sustainable futures for their communities. Since powerful arts learning experiences. These teaching art- its inception AMI has directly engaged over 600 young ists model creative habits of mind and have a profound people in media production. impact on the youth with whom they work. ArtsConnection – New York, New York Big Thought – Dallas, Texas htpp://www.artsconnection.org htpp://www.bigthought.org Steven Tennen, Executive Director Giselle Antoni, Executive Director For twenty-eight years, ArtsConnection has provided Big Thought is a learning partnership inspiring, programming in the performing, visual, literary, and me- empowering, and uniting children and communities dia arts to the New York City public schools. Connecting through education, arts and culture. The “big thought” is professional artists with children, teachers, and families, that a community, working together, can lift children up ArtsConnection’s goal is to make the arts an essential part and better their lives using arts and culture as tools and of education. Their programs and services have enriched catalysts. Big Thought supports community partnerships, the lives of over three million children who represent the cultural integration for academic achievement, youth de- breadth of cultural and economic diversity in the City’s velopment and family learning. ve boroughs. ArtsConnection strives to provide com- fi exible, and diverse programs that meet the prehensive, fl educational needs of participating schools, to strengthen families and communities through public and after school programs, to build strong foundations for collab- orative partnerships among teachers, artists, and school adminis-
112 100 Case Study Selected Sites Center of Creative Arts (COCA) – grams engage youth, families, and educators in exploring St. Louis, Missouri the role of the arts and culture in their own lives and in htpp:// www.cocastl.org the lives of others, encouraging youth to see the arts as a powerful means for expressing their ideas and for under- Stephanie Riven, founding Director standing the world around them. Rebecca Carson, Director of Performing Arts Shawna Flanigan, Urban Arts Director East Bay Center for Performing Arts – Richmond, California COCA (Center of Creative Arts) has been provid- htpp://www.eastbaycenter.org ing meaningful arts experiences to St. Louisans and their families for two decades. COCA has become the largest Jordan Simmons, Artistic Director multidisciplinary arts institution and one of the most At East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, in a valuable community assets in the St. Louis metropolitan neighborhood known as the Iron Triangle and distin- area. Housed in a 60,000 square foot building designed guished primarily for its chronic poverty and violence, by world-renowned architect Eric Mendelsohn, COCA young artists have, since 1968, been discovering how attracts 50,000 area residents each year. training in the arts illuminates their fullest capacity as COCA’s multidisciplinary and multicultural arts human beings. Through the creation of original music, programs include performances in the 400-seat theatre; lm, theater, and dance, and self-determined community fi educational classes, camps, and workshops serving indi- projects, East Bay Center for Performing Arts empha- viduals aged 6 months through adult; artists’ residencies; sizes the cause of social justice, the hard work needed to exhibits of contemporary art in the Millstone Gallery prepare, the skills to create, and the courage to perform. at COCA; and an extensive outreach program offered Over these past forty years, more than 50,000 student to low-income youth through our nationally recognized artists from diverse backgrounds and experiences partici- Urban Arts Program. It is the organization’s mission to pated in the Center’s programs where they have found make a COCA is a multidisciplinary community arts within themselves the means to develop skills that enable center that provides exceptional arts education through them to think, lead, and contribute to the world they see programs, performances and exhibitions. around them. City Lore – New York, New York Find Yourself at the Met, Metropolitan Museum of Art htpp://www.citylore.org – New York, New York Steve Zeitlin, Executive Director http://www.metmuseum.org/events/students Amanda Dargan, Education Director Rika Burnham, former Associate Museum Educator t membership organization City Lore is a nonprofi The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomes stu- founded in 1986 to produce programs and publications dents to a program of free classes held after school and on that convey the richness of New York City’s cultural heri- weekends during the school year and on weekdays during tage. City Lore staff includes folklorists, historians, an- the summer. Both middle school and high school students thropologists, and ethnomusicologists, all of whom spe- have the opportunity to study original works of art in the cialize in the creation of programs and materials for public Museum with instructors from the Education Depart- education and enjoyment. In addition to staff projects, af- ment. All classes ask students to be active participants in fi liated individuals and organizations work through City understanding and appreciating works of art, and to look Lore to produce independent fi lms, exhibits, and other and respond through discussion in the galleries or through media projects that are dynamic and diverse, refl ecting the creation of their own works of art in the studio. the city surrounding them. City Lore’s education pro-
113 101 Case Study Selected Sites Lincoln Center Institute – New York, New York ing methods of presentation. Students meet with museum htpp://www.lincolncenter.org staff from the education, graphic design, and exhibition design and production departments as well as curatorial Scott Noppe-Brandon, Executive Director and other departments. The student curators select from Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is the educational student artwork submissions to create an exhibition. cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1975, the Institute brings dance, music, the- New Trier High School Visual Arts Department – ater, film, visual arts, and architecture into classrooms in Winnetka, Illinois the New York City area, across the nation, and around http://www.newtrier.k12.il.us/arts/default.asp the world. In more than three decades of outreach, LCI’s Stephen Murphy, Art Department Chair approach has reached over 20 million students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and profes- New Trier High School is a public school located in sors of education worldwide. the suburbs 16 miles north of Chicago on Lake Michigan. New Trier Township is a suburban district well known Marwen – Chicago, Illinois regionally and nationally for its academic, arts, and ath- htpp:// www.marwen.org letic programs. At New Trier, art is essential to a student’s total educational and personal development. Over 4,000 Steven Berkowitz, Founder and Chairman of the Board students attend the school on two campuses, and approxi- Antonia Contro, Executive Director mately 900 students of all abilities take visual art annu- Scott Lundius, Director of Education ally. The Art Department is dedicated to the achieve- Marwen was founded in 1987 to educate and in- ment of visual literacy for all students. Art Classes offer spire Chicago’s youth through the visual arts. Chicago is opportunities for students to cultivate original thought, a city rich in history, architecture, art, and culture, and develop analytical and problem-solving skills (critical it is Marwen’s intent to leverage these resources, provid- and creative thinking), evaluate, critique, and articulate ing students with an out-of-school program that provides ideas, and learn appreciation and tolerance of different access to opportunity, while remaining highly relevant individuals, ideas, and cultures. to their individual and collective experiences. Marwen serves nearly 2,000 students annually in the 15,000 square Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) – foot facility located in downtown Chicago that houses Tucson, Arizona studios, exhibition spaces for students and alumni and a htpp:// www.omaproject.org career center. Joan Ashcraft, Director of Fine and Performing Arts Rick Wamer, Program Coordinator Museum Studies, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – New York, New York Opening Minds through the Arts uses instrumental http://redstudio.moma.org/programs/ music, opera, dance, theater and visual arts to help teach reading, writing, math and science to children in kinder- Heather Maxson, Program Administrator garten through 8th grade. Inspired by exciting, ongoing The high school Museum Studies program at the research into connections between brain development Museum of Modern Art offers New York City high school and music, OMA strives to integrate arts education with students a series of workshops addressing issues related to core curriculum. Each fully implemented OMA school has curatorial and museum work and the opportunity to orga- an Arts Integration Specialist and a team of seven artists nize an exhibition of student artwork. The program com- who work alongside classroom teachers, adapting each bines educational and practical experiences, introducing lesson to support teaching of core skills and knowledge. students to various careers in the arts while also address- In addition, children learn to play the recorder, violin, a
114 102 Case Study Selected Sites wind instrument and keyboard with the goals of fostering creative experience, and the joy of making art. Their in- creative development, improving test scores, encouraging depth programs focus exclusively on teaching children self-expression, igniting love and understanding of the how to express their experiences through visual art and arts, narrowing the gap between less privileged and more the development of imagination, expression and careful privilege students, building community, and supporting observation. the arts. Currently, over 19,000 students and 700 teach- ers in 44 schools in the Tucson Unifi ed School District Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York are participating in the OMA program working with 53 htpp://studiomuseum.org Teaching Artists. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, former Director of Education and Public Program s Sound Learning – Atlanta, Georgia The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for black htpp:// www.atlantasymphony.org/communityandeduca- artists locally, nationally, and internationally, and for work tion/educationalprograms/soundlearning.aspx that has been inspired by black culture. The Expanding David Myers, Director for the Georgia State University Cen- the Walls (ETW) at the Studio Museum is designed to ter for Educational Partnerships in Music expose youth to the James VanDerZee photographic ar- The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Georgia State chive housed at the Museum as a way of generating dia- University’s Center for Educational Partnerships in Mu- logue and art making that explore ideas of community sic, Fulton County Schools, and Atlanta Public Schools identity, history and culture. The program combines stu- implemented Sound Learning , an innovative, integrated dio and museum visits with artists, curators and educa- arts education program. 2007-2008 marks the ninth year tors, offsite exposure visits with community organizations of the program. Sound Learning enhances core curricu- that deepen the students’ understanding of the social and lum study and expands learning opportunities through the cultural history of Harlem, and a rigorous course in 35 infusion of music into all subject areas. Sound Learning mm photography. The program culminates with an exhi- allows students, teachers, and musicians to explore the bition of student and VanDerZee photographs curated by connection between music and the general curriculum, the students themselves. using the artist residencies and music curriculum mate- rials developed by the ASO’s Education Department. Teens Rock the Mic (TRTM) of the Juno Collective – Sound Learning was founded with the belief that arts ed- Minneapolis, Minnesota ucation has proven vital as a key to enhance intellectual Website no longer available development, physical wellness, and improved academic Melissa Borgmann, co-founder achievement. Teens Rock the Mic began as ensemble of urban poets and youth leaders who traveled to San Francisco Studio In a School – New York, New York for the Youth Speaks Brave New Voices International htpp://www.studioinaschool.org Youth Poetry Slam Festival in April, 2005. The mission Thomas Cahill, President and CEO of this program was to impact society by giving voice to Studio in a School provides programs to more than those without – through story, experience, and art of spo- ve boroughs. Every year, 170 schools throughout the fi ken word. These young activists and artist strove to raise over 90 professional artists devote some 45,000 hours to awareness, promote social justice and uplift the commu- more than 30,000 pre-k through high school students nity, the nation and the world. Due to a lack of fi nancial and around 2,500 teachers. Studio in a School provides resources to sustain the program, Teens Rock the Mic children with the invaluable experience and guidance of folded after its fi nal collaborative performance with One a professional artist, high quality art materials, in-depth Voice Mixed Chorus in June, 2007. However, a number
115 103 Case Study Selected Sites Will Power to Youth at Shakespeare Festival/LA – of its founding teen artists have continued on in their own Los Angeles, California organizational efforts, as young adult teaching and perform- htpp://www.shakespearefestivalla.org/education/will_ ing artists, inspiring audiences and classrooms of all ages. power_to_youth.php Urban Word – New York, New York Ben Donenberg, Producing Artistic Director htpp://www.urbanwordnyc.org Sara Adelman, Managing Director Chris Anthony, Associate Artistic Director/Director of Michael Cirelli, Executive Director Youth and Education Founded in 1999, Urban Word NYC™ (UW) exists to Will Power to Youth (WPY) serves young people in the ensure that New York City youth have a safe, supportive, dy- Los Angeles community who do not traditionally have access namic and challenging community in which to discover their to theater programs, job training, academic enrichment, or powerful voices – through written and spoken word – and other arts opportunities. 20-30 Los Angeles youth are hired use them to express their views, strengthen self-esteem and into and get paid to participate in this arts-based educational engage them in opportunities that address the sociopolitical enrichment program. During each session – 30 hours a week issues that affect them. UW provides free and uncensored for seven weeks – youth work closely with professional art- writing and performance opportunities to over 15,000 youth ists and human relations facilitators. Together, they create in all fi ve boroughs of New York City. The organization’s an adaptation of a Shakespeare play inspired by their per- workshops are designed to develop critical thinking skills, sonal experiences. WPY is designed to help its participants leadership, and to ignite a personal commitment to growth make the transition into adulthood under their mission to and learning which leads to heightened in-school perfor- enchant, enrich and build community through professional mance, and a greater interest in pursuing higher education. theatrical traditions accessible to all.
117 105 Research Protocols APPENDIX D: RESEARCH PROTOCOLS Program/Organization Application Understanding Excellence in Arts Education The Qualities of Quality: GENERAL CONTACT INFORMATION Organization or Program Name: Contact Person Last Name: Contact Person First Name: Contact Email Address: Contact Phone Number: Mailing Address Line 1: City: State: Country: Zip/Postal Code: Program or Organization Website/Web Address: le of your program or organization. Please help us create a profi Describe the context in which your program takes place or in which your organization is based. (Check all that apply) ____Out of school: Community Arts Organization ____School Program (includes programs affi liated with a school and occurring during school hours) ____Out of school: Museum ____Out of school: Other Setting ____Partnership (collaboration between multiple schools/organizations/museums/community art centers). Who are the collaborators?
118 106 Research Protocols What is the age of students participating in your program(s) or organization? (Check all that apply) ____5-11 years old (K-5th grade) ____12-14 years old (6th-8th grade) ____15-18 years old (9th-12th grade) (Check all that apply) Which art form does your program or organization offer? ____Dance ____Visual ____Art ____Music ____Theater ____New media (for example, video, sound or web-based technology) ____Other (Check all that apply) Describe the scale of your program or organization. ____Single school or site ____Multiple schools or sites ____Widespread across many schools or sites. How many? (Check all that apply) Describe the setting of your program or organization. ____National ____International ____Rural ____Urban ____Suburban Describe the community your program or organization serves, including the socio-economic background of your participants. What kind of funding does your program or organization receive? (Check all that apply) ____Public funds (supported through city/state/federal funds) ____Grant funded (supported through foundation or government grants) ____Private donations (private donors or in-kind support) ____Family supported (fee or tuition based) ____Other Who teaches in your program or organization? (Check all that apply) ____Classroom teachers (of non-art subjects) ____Art specialists ____Teaching artists ____Other What is the relationship of your program or organization to the school curriculum? (Check all that apply) ____Non-integrated (no relationship to the school curriculum) ____Integrated with school curriculum
119 107 Research Protocols Goals and Purposes What are the goals of your organization/program? How are they related to high quality learning and teaching? What do you do to identify and achieve high quality arts learning and teaching in your program or organization? What theories and practices shape your ideas about how to achieve quality? Assessment How do you assess the quality of arts learning and teaching in your program or organization? Challenges Describe some obstacles or challenges to achieving quality that your organization has faced and how you have ad- dressed them. If you are not a new program, how do you sustain quality over time and/or across changes (in leadership, funding, size, resources, etc.)?
120 108 Research Protocols Interview Protocol 1. What are your big ideas about what counts as high quality teaching in the arts? What are your big ideas about what counts as high quality learning in the arts? 2. Given your ideas about quality in arts teaching and learning, what do you think the focus, or purpose of arts educa- tion should be? 3. Given your ideas about quality in arts teaching and learning, What are some of the important controversies around what the focus of arts education should be? 4. How have your ideas about quality in arts teaching and learning evolved? Are there ideas, theories and/or experi- ences that have strongly infl uenced you? 5. Are there particular art forms and contexts you have in mind when you are responding to these questions? Do your ideas about quality in arts education differ across art forms and/or contexts? 6. With your ideas about quality arts learning and teaching as a backdrop, what do you think is especially important to keep in mind about assessing arts learning, and assessing arts teaching? 7. What are your thoughts or questions about the relationship between high quality learning and teaching in the arts and high quality learning and teaching in other disciplines? 8. What social, political or cultural factors, if any, do you think it is important to keep in mind when we think about quality in art education? 9. Think for a moment at the level of state or national policy. What kinds of national arts education policies are es- sential to insure your vision of quality arts education? 10. What do program or local level decision makers need to understand about quality in order to make good decisions about where to focus their attention and resources?
121 109 Research Protocols Interview Debriefi ng Protocol Name of interviewee Date Interviewer Listener/Transcriber Headlines? Highlights? Themes, puzzles and questions worth returning to: Striking connections & contrasts – with other interviews, literature, case studies: Immediate action plans:
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