In The Classroom
We designed a multi-pronged approach to support arts teachers in our treatment schools.
- Technology extended instructional options by providing students and teachers with new ways to facilitate arts making, receive instantaneous feedback, document and reflect on artistic processes, access student and professional artworks, share files, and communicate about art in and beyond the classroom.
- Facilitators acted as critical friends in the classroom to help teachers interpret data, try new instructional methods, and address challenges.
- Regular off-site professional development workshops focused on the use of balanced assessment and integration of technology. Inter-visitations and retreats provided school personnel with a forum for sharing best practices.
Accomplishing all of this while administering biannual assessments to three classes in close to 80 schools was a monumental management task, involving several hundred adults serving in various capacities and thousands of children.
The ARTS ACHIEVE professional development plan was designed to support an action research cycle. Action research in the classroom involves testing a hypothesis about the results of an instructional strategy through the ‘action’ of teaching it.
For instance, if data indicates that a school’s dance students perform movement sequences inaccurately, the teacher might pose a hypothesis that providing more opportunities for students to learn dance phrases, while using a rubric for self-check, peer feedback, and peer coaching, would improve students’ performance accuracy. This instructional content and formative assessment strategy would be embedded int units of study to collect evidence of student learning over time. Well-crafted formative assessment mirrors authentic artistic processes of reflecting, critiquing and revising creative work, supporting learning while providing both students and teachers with a means to evaluate progress. By using these strategies as part of their creative process, students are practicing how to think and work like artists.