Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Arts Integration Teacher Workshop

Sangamon Auditorium and Springfield Public Schools are joining forces to provide professional development in the arts for area K-12 teachers.  The two entities recently became members of the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Selected because of their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of education in and through the arts, the two entities will work together to create and develop arts programs for the education of teachers. This includes expanding teachers’ abilities to integrate the arts into the curriculum using the best teaching practices and building their confidence, comfort, and enthusiasm in teaching in and about the arts. This will be achieved by providing professional development opportunities, experiences, and performances in the arts.

The first workshop event in the Partners in Education program, “Focusing on Arts Integration,” was held on Friday, September 17, 2010 at the Regional Office of Education’s Staff Development Center.  Led by Karen L. Erickson, a leader in Arts Education who has worked with schools and arts organizations internationally and in nearly all fifty states, the workshop provided a practical, hands-on approach for exploring the characteristics of arts integrated instruction through metaphor, activities, and discussion.  Participants experienced two lessons combining drama and language arts to examine arts integration and the impact of the arts on student learning.  An overview of integrative frameworks was presented along with strategies for meeting learning standards.  The workshop laid the foundation for future workshops that will more deeply explore the integration of an art form with other subject areas. 

Thirty-six K-12 educators participated in the workshop; twenty-eight were from Springfield Public Schools and eight were from outside the district.  Though open to all K-12 teachers, fine arts educators were specifically targeted for this first workshop.

Selected feedback from participants:

  • “The compare and contrast of the same lesson was excellent and very helpful in what I can take back to my principal and teachers.”

  • “Excellent presentation and presenter wonderful.  Loved learning more drama terms.”

  • “Superb.  Workshop leader is so creative – she makes it happen.”

  • “Very engaging!”

  • ”Amazing opportunities to learn from expert in field.  Real-life examples helped put process into perspective.”

  • “This was the best workshop I’ve been to in the district.”

  • “Great motivator!”

Attending educators participated in a Needs Assessment survey following the session to indicate their preferences for future workshop events.  Their responses were varied and thoughtful and included adding other arts areas to their curriculum, meeting the needs of special education students through the arts, and creating opportunities for classroom teachers to become inspired by arts teachers’ integration.  These preferences will be considered as future events are planned. 

For more information about Partners in Education, please contact Carly Shank at 217.206.8286 or or stay tuned to our website.  

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