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A Case Study of Collaboration Between A Culturally Responsive Urban High School Teacher and A Haitian Teaching Artist


This study examined the collaboration between a teaching artist and a 12th grade English teacher in an urban high school. The study was conducted to document the challenges, benefits and processes involved in the creation and implementation of a culturally responsive arts integrated curriculum. The sample consisted of one classroom of 20 12th grade students, their teacher and a Haitian visual artist. I collected data using classroom observation protocols, teacher and artist interviews, student work samples, lesson plans and other documents. Once data was collected, I used theoretical frameworks that guided the study to identify benefits, challenges and processes. I also allowed themes to emerge that were not previously considered in the literature or in theoretical frameworks. The findings from student writing and student artwork, classroom observations and the teacher and artist pre and post interviews reflect a shift in students' attitudes and behaviors. These shifts in attitudes and behaviors were demonstrated by increased engagement in the English class, improved attendance and improved overall classroom climate. Analysis of students' writings and artworks revealed that students found their focus in class through art experiences because they found in these experiences an outlet for their personal feelings and `voice'. These findings suggest that an arts integrated approach to 12th grade English coursework in urban schools could prove beneficial to students who have little or no access to arts education. Further, the findings suggest that collaborations between core content teachers seeking to engage high school seniors, might consider collaborations with visual arts teaching artists or visual arts specialists to co-create and co-teach arts integration units for the purposes of increasing student engagement, improving student attendance and improving the overall classroom climate.

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