Why Teach the Arts?

What You Will Find in "Why Teach the Arts?"

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Video produced by Americans for the Arts 

The Arts Educate the Whole Child

The arts form an integral foundation for living and learning: arts education authentically contributes to the development of the whole child. Human development is tracked through physical, cognitive, social, and emotional milestones as skills and behaviors emerge from birth to adulthood. From birth, human beings are neurologically wired to learn about the world through their senses and movement. The sensory input received through the body influences the developmental journey of each child: learning how objects smell, taste, feel, or sound contribute to a child's physical and cognitive development; learning to sense another person's expression, gait, or tone supports the evolution of students' emotional and social regulation.

 

Authentic arts-based experiences provide ample opportunities for children to engage and respond to these experiences. Selective arts activities can be integrated in the classroom to improve body sense, increase physical coordination, stimulate neurological activity, and expand mental and emotional attentiveness for improved performance. Singing, drawing, dancing, and pretending are organic activities that demonstrate and reinforce these developmental skills. The interdisciplinary nature of the arts helps students make connections to themselves, others, and the surrounding world. 

 

Watching students engage in the arts helps teachers identify strengths and deficits in each realm of development. Teachers can leverage arts activities to further develop strengths, nurture weaknesses, and ameliorate developmental gaps.


For example, if a child's eyes cannot track across the page for reading, the child may benefit from stress-free opportunities for visual tracking such as playing catch with a balloon in dance class, or drawing on paper with a pencil or in the air with their hand. These activities relax the body and enhance the mind-body connection by enabling the child to practice eye convergence, visual tracking, and hand-eye coordination in a low-stress environment. Arts activities can provide consistent relaxed practice of developmental skills. 

 

Observing students participating in arts activities can also reveal the effects of overwhelming stress and trauma on the ability to perform normal activities. This is evidenced when people forget words or stutter when talking to a crowd. Relaxing arts activities reduce stress, helping students feel supported and empowered during their academic and personal progression. This section describes several frameworks to help teachers understand the critical importance of teaching within the arts, partly because of their intrinsic academic value, but more importantly to activate an essential mind and body connection for sound learning and healthful living.

 

HOW DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES RELATE TO ARTS ACTIVITIES

Designed to illuminate the connections between arts experiences and human development, this resource links arts activities to the developmental milestones from birth to five years. Remember, humans are neurologically wired from birth to organically experience the world through the senses. The natural and authentic engagement of the senses in childhood is often embedded within an aesthetically-centered experience where children develop proto-skills for artistry and creativity. 

Click here to review arts connections to the developmental milestones from birth to five years. 

Develop the Brain and Body Connection

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The physical realm of development refers to the ability of the brain and body to engage in life and learning, which involve activating the senses and refining fine and gross motor skills. The activities in this section reinforce developmental skills essential to learning through potentially pleasurable physical activities, including dancing, singing, acting, and drawing. Teachers can use these activities with the whole class in a relaxed and mindful way, reducing stress and improving learning readiness for every student. By observing students' performance in these activities, teachers can identify challenges and strengths, mastery of developmental indicators, emotional regulation, and the effects of stress or trauma.  

 

The following activities can be done in 5-10 minutes as simple rituals throughout the school day. In this way, all the art forms can be used as a type of "brain break" with a focus on nourishing essential skills and massaging mastery of developmental milestones.

 

Click the icon below to download The Arts Playbook

The Arts Playbook

PENCIL PLAY

Encourage students' hand-eye coordination, visual discrimination, and fine motor skills. 

 

  • LAZY EIGHTS

    Trace the figure of the number eight laying on its side. Go around and round with a smooth, easy glide, visually tracking the movement. Relax and practice holding your writing utensil with ease and comfort, noticing the texture of the paper. Use both your right and left hand. Lazy eights can also be drawn in the air with the eyes visually tracking the movement. Use each hand individually, then both hands together.

    Brain Gym by Paul and Gail Dennison

  • DOUBLE DOODLES

    Hold a writing utensil in each hand. Simultaneously draw doodles, creating mirror images. Practice holding the writing instrument with ease and feel the texture of the paper.

    Brain Gym by Paul and Gail Dennison

  • TAKE A DOT FOR A WALK

    Play with drawing lines. Make straight lines, swirling lines, dotted lines and explore how many types of lines you can make. Vary the thickness of the line with fat lines or thin lines.

  • TORNADOES

    Shade a triangular form from dark to light. Practice applying pressure as you draw. Use the pencil pressure to create different values and contrast. Identify the light and dark sections. This can be practiced with left-right progression for visual tracking.

  • BLIND CONTOURS

    Draw an object (hand, shoe, face, etc.) without looking at your paper. Keep your focus on the object being drawn and trace the image onto paper. Make a continuous line without lifting your pencil. In a modified blind contour, the student can glance back and forth between the object and the paper. This activity helps students see details and to feel and interpret line. 

  • VISUALIZATION

    Form realistic or imaginary mental visual images, realistic or imaginary of an artistic product, desired behavior, or an image in a story being read or told. This activity nurtures cognitive development, prepares students for reading comprehension, and helps students visualize real world situations and solutions.


PLAYFUL MOVES

Foster the integration of students' motor skills and sensory input to awaken perception and coordinate movement. 

 

TOUCH

Pat, massage, and brush body parts to awaken the neuroreceptors in the skin and muscles.

 

SMELL AND TASTE

Activate smell and taste with stimuli or from memory. Use oils, food, or items from nature for smelling or exploring textures. Incorporate stories to activate the memory of smells or tastes.

 

HEARING

Listen to existing sounds found in the environment, or introduce a selection of new sounds. 

 

SIGHT

Observe details within your surroundings. Scan the big picture and visually consider each element. Close your eyes, observing what you notice internally. Mentally recall the objects that surround you. 

 

BALANCE & PROPRIOCEPTION

Balance on one foot while doing axial movement (bending, stretching, swinging, twisting, rotating, or spinning). Notice your body parts in space.

 

KINESTHESIA AND SPATIAL AWARENESS

Maintain awareness of self and general space: actively visualize a bubble of safety around you, other people, and nearby objects as you move. 

 

FLEXIBILITY

Explore your physical range of motion. Breath and lengthen muscle groups, reaching up into space or bending down to stretch towards the floor. Begin with very small movements, gradually expanding into open space as you continue to move, stretch widely, and twist in various directions. 

 

COORDINATION

Move through space with these locomotor movements: run, walk, skip, gallop, slide, hop, and jump.

 

BEAT

Move to the beat of a drum. Or, use body percussion to create a beat. Keep the beat in your feet, in your hand, in your shoulders, in your fingers; see how many places the beat can continue within your body. 

 

RHYTHM

Play a call-and-response clapping or movement game, exploring rhythm and variations of fast and slow.

 

THE BRAIN DANCE

The Brain Dance is a sequenced movement exercise built by Anne Green Gilbert based on her understanding of infant and child development, reflexes, and the potential for movement to support the brain-body connection. See the Brain Dance described on the Dance page. 

 


VOCAL PLAY

Help students find their voice, listen to self and others, and develop vocal expression as well as auditory discrimination.

 

 

THINKING CAPS

Rub your ears from top to bottom to sharpen listening, filter sound, and relax.

 

THE OWL

Squeeze your trapezius (the muscle that joins your shoulder and neck) while turning your head slowly and vocalizing a sound.

 

ENERGY YAWN

Open your jaw and massage the joint gently until you yawn.

Brain Gym by Paul and Gail Dennison

 

KEEP A BEAT

Move to an established beat made with body percussion, drums, or music. Engage in creative movement, clapping games, social dances, and folk dances.

 

ROLLER COASTER VOICES

Use your voice to imitate the physical feelings of traveling on a roller coaster by exploring a wide range of vocal sounds and textures. Individually or as a group, use a call-and-response game: a leader vocalizes a pattern; the group repeats it. Follow the leader as their hadn't moves up and down along the tracks of a rollercoaster. 

 

MATCHING PITCH

Sing a pitch and invite students to repeat it back to you. Sing two pitches, then three, as the students repeat each sequence. 

 

SING A SONG

Build community while focusing on pronunciation, diction, and articulation of sounds in a fun way. Skills rehearsed while singing can improve the quality of speaking and listening.


PEOPLE PLAY

Support your students' emotional literacy and development of social skills through verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

 

 

FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

Individually or as a group, list various emotions and express each emotion using your face. Invite students to feel and notice their faces as designated emotions are expressed. 

 

GESTURE  

Students and teachers can feel and notice the body as each person expresses and feels various gestures and/or emotions. In your body, notice which comes first: the emotion or the gesture? Experiment both directions: begin by giving students an emotion and invite them to create a corresponding gesture. Then, try creating a gesture first and identifying what emotions the gesture provokes. 

 

POSTURE AND GAIT

Feel and notice your body as you stand, walk, run, or move in various postures. What does posture reveal about a person, animal, or character? Assign students an emotion; invite them to walk according to that emotion. Next, ask students' to move how they want and ask the students to identify what emotion is communicated.

 

MIRRORING  

Place students into pairs. Each faces their partner. Guide students to take turns leading and following each other as if each is looking in the mirror, reflecting the movements fo the other person. Start with simple expressions or gestures; large slow motions are best to start with. Can students take turns leading with nonverbal cues? Change partners. 

 

FLOCKING 

Class members move together in unison, like a flock of birds does following its leader. Explore various leaders of the group. Evolve to the intuitive transfer of leadership. Allow subgroups to separate from and reconnect to the whole.

 

STORYTELLING

Create pairs or small groups of students and invite them to share stories with each other. A time limit will help learners to distill the information into the essential information. Tell a story in character, using appropriate vocal and facial expression, posture, and gestures of a selected character in a specific setting. 

Improve Cognition

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The cognitive realm refers to the development of the brain and the ability of the mind to engage in learning. Neuroscience studies the formation, structure, and function of the brain. Psychology focuses on a child's skills in perceiving, processing, expressing, and conceptualizing information that is both taught and experienced. Teachers can identify when students are cognitively prepared to learn by considering students' capacities for decision making, attentiveness, focus, reflecting, analyzing, following instructions, or staying on topic. Arts education intrinsically contributes to cognitive development because art making involves problem solving, creativity, imagination, and higher-order thinking. Observing the cognitive ability of students during art making helps teachers evaluate and strengthen students' cognitive skills. 

 

Included in this section are summaries of two frameworks that describe the benefits of arts education: The Studio Habits of Mind and 21st Century Skills. Elliot Eisner's list titled, "The Ten Lessons the Arts Teach" is also provided. 


8 STUDIO HABITS OF MIND

A team of researchers observed effective visual arts classrooms and identified eight dispositions, or what they termed habits of mind, (and four teaching structures), that describe the real benefits of an arts education and how a classroom could operate like an art studio. The 8 Studio Habits of Mind and and the Four Studio Structures provide insight into what the arts teach and how they are taught and are observed in the performing arts and the visual arts. A full description of these dispositions and teaching structures can be found in the book Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits fo Visual Arts Education. 

  • DEVELOP CRAFT

    Learning to use tools, materials, and artistic conventions, and to care for tools, materials, and space.

  • ENGAGE & PERSIST

    Learning to engage with a project on a personal level and to focus on and persevere through art tasks.

  • ENVISION

    Leaning to mentally picture what cannot be directly observed and imagine possible next steps in making a work of art.

  • EXPRESS

    Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning.

  • OBSERVE

    Learning to carefully observe the world around you and examine works of art more closely, so that you see what might not be readily or obviously visible. 

  • REFLECT

    Learning to think and talk about art by making interpretive claims and evidenced-based judgements about works of art. 

  • STRETCH AND EXPLORE

    Learning to reach beyond your baseline capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to learn from mistakes.

  • UNDERSTAND ART WORLDS

    Learning about art history, current practice, and interacting with other artists and the broader artistic community as an artist yourself. 

Click icon below to download the 8 Studio Habits of Mind graphic.


21ST CENTURY SKILLS: THE SIX C'S

Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Citizenship, Character

 

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The 21st Century Skills embody mindsets that are critical for students to develop. The ideal implementation strategy is to incorporate the 21st Century Skills into all learning experiences within the district, including across grade levels, subjects, and embedding them into each educational experience. 

 

Success and achievement in the arts demands engagement in imagination, investigation, construction, and reflection in multiple contexts. "These meta-cognitive activities nurture the effective work habits of curiosity, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication, and collaboration, each of which transfers to the many diverse aspects of learning and life in the 21st century" (19, Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning located at: www.nationalartsstandards.org/). nationalartsstandards.org

 

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills suggests, "Anyone who has ever seen a student become excited, energized, and confident through artistic exploration has seen first-hand how arts education engages children and contributes to their overall development...while each of the arts disciplines has its own unique set of knowledge, skill, and processes, the arts share common characteristics that make arts education powerful preparation for college, career, and a fulfilling life." (21st Century Arts Map.)

 

COMMUNICATION

 

Communication establishes at the heart of the arts.  Through studying the arts, students develop a vast repertoire of skills in processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating meaning. Effective communication builds collaboration and cooperation occur.

 CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

 

Critical thinking is the essential, intellectual process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information as a guide to belief and action. Through critical thinking and problem solving, that students learn the higher-order thinking skills necessary to engage in artistic processes and, therefore, begin to achieve artistic literacy. 

 

CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

 

Creative practices are essential for teaching and learning the arts. The arts are steeped in process and involve the interplay of artistic skills, individual voice, and the unexpected. Creativity is given great emphasis in the arts and requires a learning environment in which students are encouraged to imagine, investigate, construct, and reflect. The arts' natural fusion of logical, analytical, thought and playful unexpectedness provides students with extraordinary opportunities to exercise their creativity through artistic processes. Creative processes evoke deep, meaningful engagement in the arts, can be fluid, vary from person to person and project to project, and require intense cognition that can be developed through arts engagement. 

 

COLLABORATION

Collaboration is the process through which two or more people or groups work together to realize common goals. Collaboration requires that each person in the group contributes and fills a specific role. An inherent part of arts instruction, examples of collaboration may include all the students in a performing cast or ensemble; the partnership between a single artist and his or her peers and audience; or, a shared visual arts project that incorporates the ideas and techniques of multiple artists.

CITIZENSHIP

 

Students in today's schools need to be prepared to participate as citizens in a global society. Citizenship includes the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for civic virtue and active engagement in our society. Citizenship connects with arts education in numerous ways, including giving students an opportunity to exercise choice and decision making about the creative and artistic process. Citizenship engages students in the why behind the art, pushing students to engage in art making that reflects the historical, cultural, and societal issues that are often described and portrayed in artistic creations.

CHARACTER

 

In a world saturated with increasing technological advancement, it is important that youth are taught the skills required for human connectivity. Helping young people develop their character helps them authentically connect with each other by building individual dependability and expanding young people's ability to show compassion and feel concern for others. Schools, along with parents, community members, and teachers, contribute to character education by explicitly teaching and reinforcing thoughts and actions that encourage students to contribute to the way people work, play, and learn together as families, neighbors, and communities.

10 LESSONS THE ARTS TEACH

By Elliot Eisner

 

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  • How to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.

    Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, the arts show how judgment prevails. How qualities interact- whether in sight or sound, prose or poetry, dance or theatre- matters. These qualities cannot be neglected because they are the means through which the work becomes expressive.

  • Problems can have more than one solution and questions can have more than one answer.

    The arts embrace diversity of outcome. Standardization of solution and uniformity of response are not virtues in the arts. While a spelling teacher may not be particularly interested in promoting the student's ingenuity, the arts teacher seeks and cultivates originality.

  • Problems can be solved with changing circumstances and opportunities.

    Arts learning requires a willingness to surrender to unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. Art is a dialogue, a conversation, delivered by the artist through his or her materials to the work: this conversation is punctuated by surprises and uncertainty. With art, one hopes for flexibility of purpose and surprise, because the aim is more than impressing what an artist knows into a material; it is discovering what you don't know.

  • How to see and celebrate multiple perspectives.

    Exposure to and engagement in the arts broadens students' understanding of the world, celebrates acceptance of others' differences, and builds confidence in trying out new ways of thinking and being. These approaches run contrary to the status quo: multiple-choice tests celebrate the single correct answer. This narrow assessment serves some purposes and is often valued for apparent objectivity, but it's objectivity only lies in the manner in which the test is scored. These assessments, severely limit the scorer’s ability to exercise judgement and disregard the scorer's unique understanding of the learner's knowledge and comprehension.

  • The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

    Experiential knowing and believing gained through lived arts experiences often transcend the limits of spoken or written language. Minimizing the definition of knowledge to only include information that is quantifiable and literal ignores the depth of knowledge attained through experiencing literature, poetry, visual arts, music, and dance--together with the natural and relational nuances of the surrounding world, these defining in-body memories cannot be reduced to a simply literal expression.

  • Small differences can have large effects.

    The arts abound in subtleties. Paying attention to subtleties does not represent a standard manner of day-to-day perception for most people; typically, seeing and recognizing major objects is the focus of our attention. Exploring the details and nuances of the surrounding visual field is less common: try drawing the facade of your house. Notice its visual qualities (line, angle, shadow, color) and their relationships to each other.

  • How to experience the world in different ways.

    Artistic experiences illuminate self-discovery of feelings and belief. Some works of art are so powerful that minds and bodies are transported to another world. Similarly, teaching a child to read a book is not enough: encouraging learners to visualize images during reading augments the ability to perceive the world in a fully sensorial way: visually, tactically, kinesthetically, and aurally.
     

    Diverse literacy enables children to understand the world's artwork and experience the joy, delight, and insight those works of art make possible. When children perceive and understand a work of art - be it a symphony, a play, a dance, or a painting - they gain skills to perceive and understand their world.

  • How to express what can't be spoken.

    When children are invited to describe how art makes them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words to accurately convey their message and feelings.

    Talking about art makes special demands on those discussing it: what is required to describe the qualities of a jazz trumpet solo by Louis Armstrong, the surface of a painting by Vincent van Gogh, the seemingly effortless movements of Mikhail Baryshnikov, or the language of William Shakespeare? The task is to express through language the qualities that transcend words. In these moments, suggestion and association are among the strongest allies, and metaphor, the most powerful of language capacities, comes to the rescue.

  • How to think through and within a material.

    All art forms employ means through which ideas become real. In music, it is patterned sound; in dance, it is movement; in the visual arts, it is form: perhaps on a canvas, a block of granite, a sheet of steel or aluminum; in theater, it is a combination of speech, technology, movement, and sometimes song. Each art form employs materials that impose certain demands on those who use them.

  • If the school values art, the student values art.

    Without question, school curriculum shapes children's thinking. Curricular emphasis symbolizes what adults believe is important to learn in order for the young to be competent in the world, and directly communicates to children which human aptitudes are valuable to possess.


    The degree to which a school values a subject, including arts education, determines its presence in the curriculum and the amount of time a school devotes to it. The importance of a field of study is not found in school district testimonies, but in when and how often a subject is taught. Additionally, the relationship between what is tested and what those test scores mean to the overall evaluation of a student defines what schools value.

Click icon below to download a printable version of the 10 Lessons the Arts Teach.

Learn Social and Emotional Skills

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The social and emotional realm refers to the social abilities and emotional capacities that students need to learn effectively: all learning is a social and emotional experience, and competence in these areas is essential for success. Classwide engagement in arts activities in each art form can improve emotional literacy and social skills. A 2019 report from the Aspen Institute titled "From A Nation at Risk to A Nation of Hope" summarizes years of research and provides resources for teachers to improve the social and emotional skills of students.


PERSONALITY PREFERENCES

The field of psychology provides many frameworks for understanding human behavior and improving interpersonal relationships. The information below describing learner types is from Breaking the Learning Barrier for Underachieving Students by George Nelson. The Myers-Briggs research is used to categorize personality preferences to build respect for individual needs and increase appreciation and respect for various perspectives. Five principles of teaching that increase the ability to reach all students are identified as Principles of Nexus teaching. Arts-integrated teaching strategies provide child-centered activities for teaching in the nexus.  

 

Gold

GOLD LEARNERS

  • Need structure and order
  • Generally obedient to authority
  • Hardworking, responsible
  • Like clear details and deadlines
  • Motivated by good grades
  • Careful to observe rules
  • Excel at traditional paper-and-pencil tests

GOLD TEACHING STYLES

  • Create structured learning environments
  • Focus on mandated standards and objectives
  • Create neat and orderly classrooms
  • Expect students to be responsible
  • Rely on traditional grading methods

 

Blue

BLUE LEARNERS

  • Appreciate feeling centered
  • Don't care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Relationships come first
  • Dislike conflict, competition
  • Enjoy collaboration, teams
  • Intuitive
  • Like assignments that utilize their creativity

BLUE TEACHING STYLES

  • Seek to nurture students and foster one-on-one interactions
  • Focus on feelings and emphasize educating the whole student
  • Create harmonious, peaceful learning environments
  • Use creative and individualized instructional approaches
  • Find ways to grade effort as well as achievement

 

Green

GREEN LEARNERS

  • Analytical and logical thinkers
  • Competence driven
  • Often learn best in solitude
  • Like to use teacher as a resource
  • Value meaningful applications of learning, resistant to busy work
  • Independent, unique
  • Like to delve deeply in their special interests

GREEN TEACHING STYLES

  • Seek to inspire and develop the intellect of their students
  • Use scientific exploration as a means to foster deeper learning
  • Create research-based projects
  • Encourage divergent thinking
  • Strive to maintain a high level of content knowledge and/or subject competency

 

Orange

ORANGE LEARNERS

  • Seek fun and excitement
  • Learn kinesthetically
  • Competitive, like to win
  • Frequently impulsive
  • Like jokes and surprises
  • Motivated by tangible rewards
  • Need organizational support

ORANGE TEACHING STYLES

  • Create interactive and hands-on learning environments
  • Facilitate fun, engaging lessons
  • Encourage busy and varied activities, tolerate on-task noise
  • Use multiple forms of discipline including negotiation and humor
  • Often create unique own approach to required course content /grading

 

PRINCIPLES OF NEXUS TEACHING

 

 

nexus

One of the main theses of George Nelson's work on education and personality preferences is that teachers can reach the diverse needs of learners when practicing teaching in the nexus. Teaching in the nexus includes the principles listed below and addresses a specific lesson structure in the accompanying timeline.

 

1. Allow choice.

2. Enjoy the humor of life.

3. Do the unexpected.

4. Relate to the values of the students.

5. Elevate thought.

Practice Resiliency

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Creativity is resiliency in action. Creating anything involves significant trial and error coupled with multiple failures. Participating in the arts provides students with opportunities to persevere through the uncertainty embedded in the creative process, building persistence through practice. Along with learning the craft of each art discipline, students develop the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills necessary for practicing resiliency in their learning and their lives. The following statements describe how participating regularly in each art form actively engages the brain and body in unique ways to foster resilience.

 

DANCE

Dance engages the whole body in movement to increase flexibility, coordination, agility, and develops the intuitive aspects of the mind/body connection.

 

DRAMA

Drama includes reading body language and expressions, building shared meaning of experiences and eliciting empathy.

 

MUSIC

Music refines listening skills and internalizing beat rhythm and tempo, increasing synchronicity within ourselves and with others.

 

VISUAL ART

Visual art sharpens visual acuity, perception, observational skills, and the ability to interpret meaning from icons and images in the vast visual world.


THE FIVE STEP FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING RESILIENCY

In the book Teachers' Guide to Resiliency Through the Arts by Flox, Sadin and Levy, the creative process is described in five steps. Designed for application in day-to-day life to develop habits for resiliency, this five-step process can be used daily in classrooms or for large scale projects as a framework to optimize performance. 

 

When using this five-step process to address a challenge, step one and step two can be reversed if you choose. Start in the place that feels most comfortable; these five steps are also useful in implementing a previously created teaching vision for the year.

 

pair of children dancing

Children Social Dancing

ENVISION

Read, consider, and revise your vision for how you would like your life and work to be. Or, imagine how you would like to feel right now. What would you like to have happen? Breathe and relax. 

 

OBSERVE

Observe/notice/take Inventory of the current situation. Ask yourself these questions and write the answers.

  • How do I feel? 

  • What do I think?  

  • What happened?

  • What choices do I have? 

  • What am I in charge of and not in charge of?

ALIGN

Actively align the situation by asking: how can I align the present situation with my vision? Take the following steps to practice alignment.

  • Align internally: move, stretch, and move some more; dance, sing, draw, and/or act out characters.

  • Align the external world: change or move what needs to be changed or moved. Create the product as desired.

  • Whose help do you need to succeed?

  • How can you win people over?

REFLECT

Reflect on what is working and what needs to be changed. And continue working to align further.

 

CELEBRATE

Celebrate what works and move forward, acting on the new thoughts and behaviors.

TEACHER SELF-CARE

As a craft, teaching is a performance of trial and error that requires creativity and resilience. Teachers can serve students by modeling resilient behaviors and providing experiences for students to practice their own resiliency.

 

Teaching is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding profession. Teachers must self-manage with diligence to continue learning and growing, as well as to avoid burnout. Teachers are the most important factor for student learning within the classroom. In order to build relationships with many children and adapt to an ever-changing environment, teachers must manage their individual needs and improve their resiliency.

 

Many various strategies exist that foster resiliency. Mindfulness, recreational activities, art engagement, and even simple rituals, such as playing your favorite CD in your car, all contribute to developing resilience. While building skills in the arts, teachers can take time regularly to use the arts to nourish their mind and body.

 

Consider these ideas:

  •     Make a playlist of your favorite songs

  •     Sketch your favorite scenes.

  •     Tell stories with friends and family. 

  •     Design or redesign a space in your home.

  •     Enjoy a family dance party.

  •     Attend a community performance.

  •     Visit a museum.

  •     Tap out rhythms on your steering wheel.

  •     Decorate a cake.

  •     Photograph family keepsakes.

  •     Write a poem about your day.

The basics matter. Make arrangements to sleep and eat regularly. Schedule bathroom breaks as needed. (This is not always intuitive with the time demands in a teacher's day.) Move and exercise during your school day with the students. Create habits for self-management and teach self-management explicitly to students.  

 

Self-management starts with knowing what you want. At the beginning of the year, envision what you want for your life and your classroom. Clearly express your vision in your sketchbook. Describe and illustrate your vision with details in your sketchbook. Mark the pages for easy reference. (Read more about using your sketchbooks in the Becoming an Artist section.) This vision can guide your decision making during the year. When a challenge arises, use the five-step framework to relax, examine options, and creatively address the situation. 

teachers learning

Experience Academic Rigor

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Learning in dance, drama, media arts, music, literary arts and visual arts introduces essential information and cultivates lifelong abilities. Whether engaging in folk arts or fine arts activities for personal development or social interaction, or experiencing the arts as a creator or an observer, participation in the arts strengthens individuals and communities. Arts skills, habits, and dispositions transfer to success and deep learning in other disciplines and apply to additional life experiences when appropriate connections are explicitly made.

 

RESEARCH IN THE ARTS

The arts are academic fields supported by significant research-based literature that advances understanding, deepens knowledge, and improves practice. Relevant research in the arts can be found by searching specific art forms and within topics that span multipe art forms, such as creativity or literacy. Research discussing the arts in society shows specific ways that arts engagement impacts civic engagement, the economy, mental and physical health, and more. Research within each art form also demonstrates the vast benefits of arts education and arts integration, revealing improved academic achievement, cognitive benefits, and social and emotional benefits. Research is organized and searchable by keywords at the websites below. 

 

Click on the logos below to visit sites hosting research in the arts and arts education.