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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 12. Coda


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This book recounts the findings from in-depth interviews conducted with 53 participants (artists, teachers, and project coordinators) in 14 sites across Canada and 3 parent volunteers. The research revealed a high level of collaboration in planning but low levels in implementation and debriefing, and an axis from discipline-based to integrated arts approaches of learning employed in teaching the arts. Intellectual and communication skills were promoted in both the artistic and nonartistic dimensions of learning. The artistic dimensions identified by the participants in the study were visualization, symbolization, critiquing, and listening to one’s inner self. The nonartistic dimensions identified by them were improved decision making, student interactions, resolving differences, listening to others, and writing effectively. Arts appreciation was enhanced by students acquiring an artistic perspective and teachers promoting an arts-friendly environment, real-life arts experiences, enjoyment, and intrinsically motivating activities. The artists, teachers, and project coordinators expressed a variety of different learning outcomes. Artists learned that school time is highly structured, students learn in different ways, and teacher enthusiasm is the key to a successful project. Teachers learned artistic expertise is valuable as it offers students different ways of learning nonarts subjects, and that using the arts and collaborating with artists opened them up ← 103 | 104 → to alternative approaches to teaching. Project coordinators noted the importance of adopting an inclusive approach to organizing the projects, effective communications among partners, and balancing workloads. They also identified the need for a high level of...

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