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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 5. Extrinsic Learning


· 5 · extrinsic learning Promotion of Intellectual Skills The artists, teachers, and project coordinators provided a number of examples of students operating at a broad range of intellectual levels: remembering, under- standing, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating1 (refer to appendix 3, pp. 120–122). The participants noted that the arts instruction promoted curios- ity and offered young people the unique opportunity to exercise their imagina- tion (i.e., visualization) and to think conceptually through the use of an artistic language (i.e., symbolization). Both visualization and symbolization represent a foundation for higher-order thinking skills, such as decision making. A project coordinator (principal) summarized this development succinctly: Project Coordinator They [the students] wrote about their experiences, we discussed it in class, and stu- dents discussed the project among themselves. … The students have experienced, they’ve applied, they’ve analyzed, they’ve thought about life … they’ve done the dance, they’ve made the costumes, they’ve eaten the food, and they’ve evaluated their work. Lina Milhaud 44 a case study of a national arts education partnership Curiosity Teachers noted that students exhibited a high level of interest in learning per se when engaged in arts learning. For example: Teacher We unearthed things within children that they didn’t know about themselves. Chil- dren developed their curiosity … it was awakened. You can’t plan on these things. It comes about as a natural flow from what you are doing … It brings to light things that wouldn’t come to light otherwise. Karla Purcell and Hedda Saint-Saens Visualization Students were encouraged to use their imagination...

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