Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upcoming Webinar on Quality Arts Education

Americans for the Arts is hosting The Qualities of Quality: Excellence in Arts Education and How to Achieve It. Details:
December 17, 2008 at 2:00 PM EST, 1:00 PM CST, 12:00 PM MST, 11:00 AM PST
(90 minutes)
Many children in the United States have little or no opportunity for formal arts instruction so access to arts learning experiences remains a critical national challenge. Additionally, the quality of arts learning opportunities that are available to young people is a serious concern. Understanding this second challenge – the challenge of creating and sustaining high quality formal arts learning experiences for K-12 youth, inside and outside of school – is the focus of a recent research initiative, The Qualities of Quality: Excellence in Arts Education and How to Achieve It, commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and conducted by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The study focuses on the character of excellence itself and asks three core questions: (1) How do arts educators in the United States—including leading practitioners, theorists, and administrators-- conceive of and define high quality arts learning and teaching? (2) What markers of excellence do educators and administrators look for in the actual activities of art learning and teaching as they unfold in the classroom? And (3) How does a program’s foundational decisions, as well as its ongoing day-to-day decisions, impact the pursuit and achievement of quality? In this webinar, we will share the findings of this study and introduce some of the tools developed by the research team for use by practitioners committed to examining and improving the quality of the arts learning experiences they provide for young people.

Presenter: Steve Seidel, Director, Harvard Project Zero and Director, Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education 
P.S. Speaking of Project Zero, this is cute...

Not Your Typical Substitute Teachers: Super Subs Bring the Arts To Schools

Interesting group in California called Super Subs infuses the arts during day-long programs in schools.  Smart model if the teaching artists are actual licensed substitutes and can be on their own with students in a classroom--this wasn't clear to me.
If this doesn't sound like a typical class, that's because it isn't. These aren't your typical teachers; they are substitutes. And they aren't your typical substitute teachers, either -- they're Super Subs.
The brainchild of Barboza, a retired teacher, the Super Subs program is a way to bring arts and music to underserved students. Barboza recruited a group of friends -- some of whom once played together in a semiprofessional band -- to be the subs. At first, the idea was to give back to schools in the community where they all grew up. But after experiencing success at their local schools, they decided to take their show on the road.
Here's how it works: Barboza and the twenty other musicians, artists, writers, and designers he's recruited take over classes for the day. They teach their own brand of music, art, writing, journalism, and self-esteem. The visits don't cost schools a dime. The Personal News Network, a social-media Web site run by one of the Super Subs, picks up the tab, and most of the Super Subs volunteer their time. 
A teacher says:
"Our kids don't necessarily get experiences like this. You know how when you think back to high school, there were a few days when something happened that you really remember as being great? I want this to be one of those days for these kids."
But why can't they have this every day? Wouldn't it be great if all (or at least most) learning could create great, memorable, transformative experiences?