Community of Learners for Arts Education Continues
The AEC's Community of Learners for Arts Education (CLAE) program has gotten off to an exciting start. The program participants have met twice, both times at the headquarters of the Pittsburgh Opera in the Strip District. Superintendents, directors of curriculum and special education, principals, and department chairs met on October 24, 2011 and December 8, 2011.
The group began the day on October 24 with Michele de la Reza of Attack Theatre. Michele showed the group how to translate ideas into movement. Participants choreographed and performed movement pieces; videos of the finished pieces can be found on the AEC's YouTube channel. The participants reflected on the experience and said that they could see the possibilities of movement activities in engaging all students in their schools.
Next up was a piece on research. AEC staff created a Prezi to outline the major events and research in arts education in the last 30 years. If you’re interested, you can find that Prezi here. Participants received an assignment to read 3-4 pieces of research and reflect on it using the following question: “What implications does this research have for students in your school or district?”
During the reflection at the end of the day, one participant remarked that she sees this program as opportunity to hit “reset” in her district and in education in general. She knows things aren’t working as well as they should, and the CLAE program is providing her with the opportunity to think differently about how they do business.
Jillian Bichsel and Sarah Tambucci improvise during a theatre exercise on December 8, 2011.
On December 8, the participants participated in theatre experiences with Billy Hartung. Billy showed participants how to take ideas and use them in multiple ways as part of theatre exercises. Participants then looked at multiple tools for assessing quality in the arts, including a resource developed by Big Thought and this tool adapted from The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education.
Participants said the following about the day:
- "Billy was amazing. He is creative and able, by using simple techniques, to draw people out. The atmosphere was great. The sharing of ideas was super."
- "I liked the discussion between people! I really like listening! It was great."
The assignment between the December day and the next time the group meets is for each participant to look at the arts program in his or her school/district through the lens of one of the tools we examined. Participants will gather data about the program, blog about it, and share reflections the next time we meet.
The administrator program has resulted in two successful days with great people, wonderful conversations, and engaging artistic experiences. The participants meet next at Carnegie Museum of Art in February.