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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Coaching by Teaching Artists for Arts-Infused Social Studies: What Project CREATES Has to Offer


One strategy used by Project CREATES to enhance the fusion of social studies with the arts was to provide various forms of professional development to artists and teachers (Montgomery, Otto, & Hull, 2007), including seminars, book clubs, and on-site Arts Resource Coaches. The purpose of this study was to describe the role of the coaches as they worked with teachers, arts educators, and community artists to infuse the arts in elementary school curricula, specifically social studies for fifth graders. Using qualitative methods over a seven-year period, data included interviews, artifacts, field notes, and observations. Themes that emerged from the analysis included four types of connections resulting in school culture changes. Two types of connections to the curriculum were found, including facilitating lesson plans that have local, state, or national content standards and the implementation of evidence-based instructional practices. Additionally, coaches assured the collaboration and connections between teachers and artists, and they were catalyst for connecting community artists and arts agencies to the schools. In so doing, the coach acted as the catalyst for change to the school culture and teacher transformation. Implications for professional development of teachers and artists are discussed.

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