Volume 5, Issue 1, 2009
McKean provides a foreword to guide the reader through the multiple sections of this volume and to introduce a new "Review" section.
Arts and Technology
As the editor of the Arts and Technology section, Betts provides an introduction to the articles included and suggests additional research in this area.
This article explores the use of lyric writing in elementary science. It details an exploratory project in which elementary students and a professional musician collaborated to write and record lyrics at the conclusion of an inquiry-based science unit. What we found was that lyric writing when used as a summary reflection activity in science offers students a unique opportunity to uncover and refine learning. The collaboration among students, classroom teachers, professional musician, and sound technician greatly contributed to the creation of a unique and engaging opportunity for students to express their learning through the arts in science. Further controlled studies are recommended to determine the degree of impact on learning and long-term retention of science and music concepts.
For arts departments in many institutions, technology education entails prohibitive equipment costs, maintenance requirements and administrative demands. There are also inherent pedagogical challenges: for example, recording studio classes where, due to space and time constraints, only a few students in what might be a large class can properly observe and try out the procedures. These and other practical and pedagogical considerations when teaching using hardware may suggest that conventional studios may not provide the best learning environment. In this paper I suggest that desktop simulation may not only help to solve the aforementioned problems, but can contribute to the creation of a cooperative learning environment.
This article reports the findings of a study exploring the effects of using videoconferencing (VC) to deliver dance instruction to rural communities. The context of the study is a university community partnership run through blended live and VC instruction with elementary and middle school students in Eloy, Arizona. This research is part of a larger, ongoing study of iDance, aimed at defining instructional methods and creating dance curriculum to meet the needs of students in rural communities. VC presents unique opportunities for teaching students in rural settings. Considering the relative accessibility of VC centers makes it possible to educate rural students in a broad spectrum of dance contexts: composition, performance, technique, and analysis. Regardless of geographical limitations, community partnerships can flourish through VC technology. Addressing the literature on the use of VC in other disciplines, methods of data collection include interviews, short answer questionnaires and journaling were employed to gather participant views regarding the viability of VC dance instruction. Data revealed that students benefited from the instruction. This paper describes the discoveries of VC as a tool for supporting the teaching and learning of iDance Arizona in rural settings. The discussion section addresses the need for additional research in this area and determines the application of videoconferencing dance instruction. The use of videoconferencing in dance education has not yet been the subject of large-scale research endeavors so this research study aims to make a contribution to the field.
- 2 supplemental videos
Teaching and Learning through the Arts
As the editor of the Teaching and Learning through the Arts section of this issue, McKean provides an introduction to the articles included.
A Study of Professional Development for Arts Teachers: Building Curriculum, Community, and Leadership in Elementary Schools
This study was conducted in a large urban school district. Fifty-nine elementary schools, designated as Fine Arts Schools by the district, were organized as a Fine Arts School Network. The school district partnered with an external arts organization to deliver research-based, consistent and collaborative professional development to art, music, dance, and drama teachers over three years. This government-funded professional development initiative explored the impact of network-based intensive professional development for arts teachers in four specific areas: 1) their role in building community in their schools; their roles as community builders in their schools, 2) their role in building curriculum with non-arts teachers in their schools, 3) their role in building their own leadership capacities. The final area for investigation focused on the impact of network-based professional development for arts teachers on their home schools. Quantitative data, including surveys of participating arts teachers, and qualitative data, including curriculum projects, student work, online documentation templates, interviews and focus groups were collected and analyzed. Results indicated that arts teachers spent more time with their principals and with their non arts teacher colleagues as a result of the professional development they received. They also developed a deeper understanding of the value of an arts integration curriculum in which their own arts expertise contributes to the design of learning and teaching, particularly in the literacy areas of story elements, analytical writing, creative writing, and critique of arts experiences. The study also demonstrated how professional development contributed to arts teachers’ capacity to take leadership in their schools by serving on School Improvement teams, contributing to decisions regarding external arts partnerships, and implementing staff development. The study offered implications for schools districts regarding the importance of targeted professional development for arts specialists. Further, the study indicated roles for external arts partnership organizations in district-supported professional development, as opposed to a more familiar model of school-specific residencies. Finally, results indicated the potential for supporting arts teacher specialists in developing and implementing professional development and curricular projects in their own schools.
Helping pre-service teachers to feel competent and courageous about the mathematics they will find themselves teaching as elementary school teachers is a critical component of any math methods course. This paper addresses this aim by highlighting a process that involves pre-service teachers in creating original mathematics literature books. This process assumes a social practice theory of learning based on a relationship among one’s own thinking, the activity, and the thinking of other interested persons (Rogers, 1974). My stance is that creating such books offers ways for pre-service teachers to gain new mathematical understandings, connect the math they will be teaching to other life situations, identify pedagogical practices that support student thinking, integrate artistry into the teaching of content, and understand more deeply the multidisciplinary nature of mathematics.
Using Drama for Learning to Foster Positive Attitudes and Increase Motivation: Global Simulation in French Second Language Classes
Drama has been effectively used in many learning contexts including English as a second language classes. However, it has received less attention in foreign/second contexts. This article explores how drama for learning can impact upon the relationships among attitudes, motivation and learning in French second language (FSL) classrooms. The authors describe a second language research project done in grade 9 and 10 classrooms based on the principles of drama for learning including play and make believe, learning in context, and ownership of learning. Global simulation, the particular form of drama for learning used in the project, involves a voyage of discovery undertaken by a group involving a final destination and an itinerary. During this second language journey, students act, react and interact to create meaningful individual and group experiences and incorporate cooperative learning principles. The approach also allows the facilitators to draw on Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory in order to structure activities that maximize students’ individual strengths. The research project included development and piloting of the global simulation module, assessment of the pilot as well as assessment of implications for its future use. Data gathered for assessment included student questionnaires and teacher interviews. Results of the project indicated that there were improvements in the learning environments, including an increased level of motivation on the part of the learners involved. The teachers also expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the approach, especially because of their involvement in the development and implementation of the material from the beginning, which appeared to give them a sense of ownership and empowered them in their professional growth. Students also appeared to become more active and engaged in their learning as a result of a sense of ownership over their drama productions. In general, the results suggest that drama for learning and specifically global simulation are viable approaches for grade 9 and 10 FSL classes. This research lays the groundwork and provides direction and concrete resource materials for those who would like to experiment with global simulation in enhancing motivation among students in second language classrooms.
This visual arts project was initiated at the West Virginia University Laboratory School (Nursery School) several years ago and has assisted children in reproducing prints of famous artists. Using the principles of behaviorism in conjunction with developmentally appropriate practice has helped young children to extend their knowledge in the visual arts. The Andy Warhol project was an extension of an earlier project where children were exposed to copies of famous art prints along with guided teacher questions to provoke interest and reflection. The thought-provoking questions prepared by the teacher were specific to each print in pursuit of helping children to obtain a more in-depth understanding. The teacher conversed about the artist and included appealing tidbits about his/her techniques for painting. The teacher documented the children’s comments and attached them to the print that was hung in the classroom at their eye level for further reference. With children gaining experiences with the visual arts through careful examination of replicas of famous artworks, the teachers speculated about using behavioral approaches such as direct instruction to scaffold children’s efforts of painting replicas. The goal of the subsequent visual arts project was to extend the current one by offering children additional opportunities to closely examine the print in order to re-produce it by using acrylic paints on a canvas. This addition of painting a print helped young children to focus on a task and lead to their sense of accomplishment and further their interest in the visual arts. Currently, the four-year-olds are studying and discussing the paintings of Andy Warhol: hence the name of the reproduction project. It was inspired by reading the book, Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous visit with Andy Warhol by James Warhola. The benefits of this project are numerous. In addition to children practicing new language and improving their communication skills, they explored various art materials and media. Their skills in painting improved as overall manual dexterity were enhanced.
As editor the Medical Humanities section, Shapiro provides an introduction and discusses how the articles in this section of the journal use reflective writing in medical education contexts to explore the perspectives and priorities of a range of others - patients, family members, other health care professionals - involved in the clinical encounter.
We physicians get so focused, so specialized, we become organ doctors not people doctors. We deal with the disease the patient has rather than the patient who happens to have a disease. This is true for any illness and I suspect for the majority of specialists--though I believe family doctors and pediatricians are more aware of the social implications of a disease than we cardiac surgeons who have had ninety years of training and can only do our work in a hospital surrounded by a staff of fourteen and equipment that monitors everything including fingernail growth.
From the first days of medical school, students are socialized into the medical environment. They are trained to view patients as the “other.” The medical humanities have been introduced into the curriculum of most medical schools as a means to counteract the possible effects of this “othering.” In particular, writing exercises have been adopted to help students understand the perspectives of their patients and to consider their own responses to experiences during medical training. A writing seminar was offered to first and second year medical students that employed imaginative writing, specifically point of view narratives. Each week the students considered different perspectives of many individuals involved in patient care and then wrote stories from these perspectives. Students shared and discussed these stories. The students’ feedback indicated that these exercises helped them to empathize with the subjects of their stories and to feel more connected to other members of the class.
This review of Doing WELL and Doing GOOD by Doing ART by James Catterall summarizes the author’s seminal work on arts involvement and human development, then looks at the extension of his earlier research into a 12-year longitudinal study that follows 12,000 students from high school to age 26. Findings from this study show that intensive involvement in the arts during middle and high school associates with higher levels of achievement and college attainment, as well as with indications of pro-social behavior such as volunteerism and political participation. Of particular interest are those sections of the book that go beyond statistical analysis to provide insight into the mechanisms through which learning in the arts transfers to other disciplines.