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Working Together

A Case Study of a National Arts Education Partnership


Bernard W. Andrews

Partnerships among a variety of institutions – for profit, not-for-profit, and non-profit – are a relatively recent organizational development. Such partnerships link businesses, government, and social agencies. The primary reason for these relationships is to achieve goals sooner and more efficiently by building on the resources and expertise of each partner. In arts education, schools, arts organizations, cultural institutions, government agencies, and universities have engaged in joint ventures to improve the teaching and learning of the arts disciplines in their schools and in their communities. These partnerships have been particularly beneficial for teachers, many of whom have limited background in the arts but are expected to teach them in their classrooms. Arts partnerships initially focused on the goals of the participating organizations; that is, to develop artistic skills, to build future audiences, and/or to encourage young people to consider an artistic career. More recently, partnerships focus on educational goals rather than solely artistic ones. Despite the challenges and complexities of arts education partnerships, most partners believe that the benefits to students, teachers and the community outweigh the disadvantages and consequently, as the research in Working Together demonstrates, they are willing to justify the time, energy, and expense involved to improve the quality of arts education.


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Chapter 3. Partnership Issues


· 3 · partnership issues Artist-Teacher Collaboration A fundamental aspect of an arts education partnership is artist-teacher col- laboration involving the integration of artistic knowledge and skills with the curricular requirements of government-mandated education guidelines. The partners identified number and timing of meetings as indicators of the level of collaboration among the participants throughout the three phases of the arts projects, that is, planning, implementation, and debriefing (refer to appendix 1, pp. 105–109). The meetings within these phases focused on orga- nizing classroom learning, delivering instruction, and reviewing the progress of projects, respectively. The amount of artist-teacher collaboration can be placed on a continuum: Low Level of Collaboration, characterized by limited planning, usually by telephone, informal meeting, or e-mail; Moderately Low Level of Collaboration, with in-person planning meetings undertaken prior to the commencement of the arts project; Moderately High Level of Collabora- tion, characterized by planning and implementation meetings during the first two phases of the arts project; and High Level of Collaboration, with planning, implementation, and debriefing meetings undertaken throughout the three phases of the project (table 3.1). 24 a case study of a national arts education partnership Table 3.1. Levels of Collaboration. Low Level Moderately Low Moderately High High Level Limited informal communications In-person Planning Meetings Planning and Implementation Meetings Planning, Implementa- tion, and Debriefing Meetings Those projects characterized by a Low Level of Collaboration exhibited an authoritarian approach in the organization of the arts projects by the project coordinators, which resulted in limited planning among the partners, usually...

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