The arts are a creativity generator. They open up children’s minds and help engage them in producing academic product that is more interesting and more explanatory of the content and skills they are learning. The arts are also very good for ELA and Math teachers when integrated into core curriculums.
Research on arts integration and its usefulness to mainstream core content teachers is beginning to produce a mountain of data. The effectiveness data of arts integration on student learning is revealing how teacher use of arts integration positively effects student working memory of academic content and yields higher test scores (Southworth, 2017). Teachers are also finding that arts integration supports student equity in learning especially for students who are at risk for poverty, language and achievement (Southworth, 2017).
Research on Teaching
Our findings include documenting how “teachers learning from other teachers” leads to quality instruction. The teachers in our study learned how to integrate the arts from teaching artists who brought that knowledge into the teachers’ classroom once a week. K-6 teachers in Rochester, NY learned from these teaching artists how to integrate the arts to support their core curriculums. Students from 10 treatment schools where the arts were fully integrated into the classroom were able to perform on classroom tests and state tests at a 40% higher scoring rate than the control schools. When we asked how this happened, classroom teachers told us how much they learned from the teaching artists through job-embedded professional development (Southworth, 2017).
Knowledge about Teachers World-Wide
In our study, teachers became empowered through job-embedded professional development, where teachers learn from other teachers in the same classrooms. But job-embedded professional development is just one tool for teacher quality. Teacher recruitment, training, mentoring, retainment, and support are policy areas around the world that need our attention in order to empower all teachers to a high level of teaching quality. Recently, a new study has been published about teacher learning and quality instruction called, “Empowered Educators:”
High Quality Teachers
Washington, D.C.- There is no more important in-school determinant of student success than the quality of teaching that students experience. Recognizing this, countries around the world have redesigned their education systems to ensure that high-quality teaching occurs in all their schools.
In her new book, Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World, published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley, world-renowned education researcher Linda DarlingHammond gives readers an unparalleled view into how seven high-performing jurisdictions across four continents constructed coherent systems to recruit, develop and support high-quality teachers.
“We aimed to see how all of the small parts and pieces fit together into what we call a comprehensive teaching and learning system, producing great teaching at scale,” said Darling-Hammond. “Among other things, we looked at how these jurisdictions attract talented students who are committed to the profession of teaching, effectively prepare and induct teachers so that they are supported early in their careers, and create work environments and career pathways that encourage teachers’ leadership and professional development”
Teaching as the Learning Profession
Through this research study and many others, we are beginning to see examples world-wide about how teachers can be recruited and retained to support quality instruction and student-centered learning. As these world-wide examples begin to be well-known it is up to us to strengthen our own teaching systems through better policy for improved teacher learning and quality instruction for all students in the United States.