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Who's Dancin' Now?
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Who's Dancin' Now?

primer on arts education
teaching materials
outreach & development
teacher collaborations
professional development
collaborative funding
outreach initiatives
outreach & development

In-School Collaboration

Even when an individual teacher constructs an arts curriculum, the program is still coordinated, administered, and supported at many different levels. Faculty leaders, principals, curriculum supervisors, superintendents, teaching artists, parents, and students all work in concert with one another to create a meaningful and effective arts education experience. Recognizing that different disciplines are merely social constructs and that the human mind makes connections on a wider scale, teachers will often co-construct a curriculum with colleagues who teach other subjects and/or with teaching artists. The members of the collaborating team complement and strengthen each other by bringing different skills and capacities to the initiative. Some of their roles are described below.

  • Teachers: Teachers (art teachers and/or teachers of other subjects) are instrumental to this partnership. They know the basic curriculum requirements, the developmental issues for different ages and the individual students. They work with teaching artists to construct a curriculum that includes the selection of organizing themes and associations, the establishment of guiding questions and written activities, and a method of reflection and assessment.

  • Teaching Artists: Teaching artists, or arts specialists, bring skills and talent into the classroom and focus on the production or performance of art.

  • Curriculum Instructors or Consultants: Curriculum instructors help develop, implement, and sustain partnerships and often serve as the liaisons between teachers and administrators.

  • School Leaders: Principals, superintendents and board members adopt policies that value the arts equal to other subjects, allocate resources for arts programs and professional development, and advocate the school agenda to the public.

  • Parents: Parents exercise influence on school programs by voicing their opinions at Parent Teacher Association meetings, serving on school boards, fundraising, and attending school functions such as exhibitions and performances. They further promote arts learning by exposing their children to arts opportunities in their homes and communities.

  • Students: Students learn to work collaboratively through arts education initiatives. Creating murals, dancing on stage, or performing a skit, for example, require teamwork, dedication, self-expression, and risk-taking. These values are all meaningful consequences of school collaboration.

Community Collaborations

Utilizing and partnering with the community's rich arts resources strengthens school collaborations. Art museums, cultural centers, dance companies, symphonies, local arts agencies, and historical societies provide good opportunities for children to experience and respond to art. The art exposure should involve more than just an ensemble of performers who put on an assembly or a field trip to a local museum. Activities using community arts resources should be woven into the arts curriculum so that they are contiguous with and reflective of the larger educational program goals. Many of these arts organizations assume a central role in education by working closely with teachers in crafting curriculum, developing valuable teaching materials, and providing professional development. Such school-community collaborations help extend, enliven, and deepen arts education for students. By allowing students to experience the arts as they function in society, a sense of reality, presence, and purpose permeates within and beyond school walls.

To learn about in-school and after-school arts education programs in your own community, please visit our database of art education organizations.