Arts Integration as Potentiality for Professional Development for School Teachers

By Julie Borup Jensen and Peggy McCandless.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper describes and analyses a model for arts integration in Salt Lake City elementary schools, developed under the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. In Continuum, the University of Utah’s newsletter, the program identifies the benefits of arts integration in other core subjects as: "Scores of studies nationwide detail the ways in which arts programs positively impact students’ lives: better school attendance and test scores, lowered dropout rates and drug use, increased creativity and critical thinking skills. The newest buzzword is 'integration', the idea that art can perhaps best serve students if it’s woven seamlessly into every aspect of learning." The objective of this paper is, however, not direct student benefits, but rather how arts integration can potentially benefit teachers in terms of professional development. Arts integration is viewed as an experiment within an established teaching practice. The way arts integration is carried out in the program is based on three activities: collaborative planning, side-by-side teaching, and professional development. Here, an arts specialist and core subject teacher plan lessons in collaboration and carry out teaching together in the classroom. The aim is that the art form and the core subject together enhance and support different ways of learning, and that both the art form and the core subject are understood in a deeper sense by the students. We will focus on understanding arts integration as a new way of developing professional practice in a pedagogic framework based on philosopher and pedagogue John Dewey’s concept of experience. We term it the three e’s of professional development: experience, exploration, and experimentation. Preliminary findings show that there are potentialities for developing new understandings of teacher practice and professionalism by integrating arts in other core subjects.

Keywords: Arts Integration, Teacher Professional Development, Action Research, Experience-based Learning, Knowledge Creation

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 324.269KB).

Julie Borup Jensen

Ph.D. Student, Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark

I have a background in classical music, working professionally as a violin player in different Danish symphony orchestras. After this, I became a nurse, but have spent most of my time afterwards in the academic world, studying the relationship between different forms of knowledge use in professional practices, and studying the potentials for creativity and innovation in professional practices. Here, I draw parallels between music performing practices, other practices, and knowledge creation, with a special focus on aesthetic knowledge and learning.

Peggy McCandless

Clinical Instructor, coordinator, College of Education, University of Utah, Salt lake City, Utah, USA

Peggy has an M.Ed. and is a Clinical Instructor and Elementary Coordinator for the UITE (Urban Institute for Teacher Education). She is also the Art Integration Coordinator at the College of Education in the University of Utah.