Arts Classroom Instruction|ce2e9274-049c-4e65-8a0f-15d789419782;Arts Education|d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8
While many children in the United States lack access to formal arts instruction, there’s another equally daunting challenge: enhancing the quality of arts learning opportunities available to young people in general. With that in mind, researchers at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education examined how to best create and sustain high-quality formal arts learning experiences for children and teens both in- and outside of school in rural, urban and suburban areas. Their conclusion: A complex array of factors, actors and settings must be in sync to achieve high quality arts education. Fundamental programming decisions, such as who teaches the arts and how arts learning should be assessed, form the foundation of high-quality programs. But researchers also found that good arts programs must engage learners on many levels and excellence requires focusing on four dimensions: learning, teaching, classroom community and environment. In addition, continuous reflection and discussion about defining “quality” and how to achieve it can be both a catalyst for and a sign of a good program. The report includes tools to help arts educators build their own visions of high-quality arts education, identify markers of quality in their own programs and seek alignment among decision-makers at all levels.
Points of Interest
The identity of arts education programs and the ways they pursue high quality emerge from their responses to key questions, including: (1) Who teaches the arts? (2) Where are the arts taught? (3) What is taught and how? (4) How is arts learning assessed?
A hallmark of high-quality arts education is that the experiences offered are rich and complex for all learners, engaging them on many levels, and helping them learn and grow in a variety of ways.
Access to arts learning experiences and the quality of what’s available are two great challenges for arts education. But with thoughtful analysis, constant dialogue and dogged persistence, supporters of arts education can achieve and sustain high-quality arts learning experiences for young people in and out of school.