Bresler_Ch._1_Qualitative_Paper - Chapter 1 Arts Education...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–8. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1: Arts Education Case Studies pr- _h"ext i? Cir-sf" J err-3r Ki”!- ‘or “Ii -‘ m— x . ._. LM-rpr-ft, *3/59! Ltd: I1”, It, '2 r? ice/swan,- 5r..:i-~..u'sir?i" 3Tb}. dress-.- .1: l__ , “a? _.1 kw .l pg” 4.; 7137' _I t 3 I! A [Err {Eff J American schools havean arts program. Till-“uh emphasis on singing and making - a -- posters. with opportunities to participate In dramatic sketches, with alter-hours activities in histrumentatmusicand crafts, the American etementaryschool student , fl». '—r.r' . is afforded opportunity to deyeiop artistic skills. Learning objectives often have been stated 'Lowriting, responsibilities programmed. Yet the specialist in arts edqu tion, community advocates orthe arts. and many parents are disheartened. In the 19303 they helped draw rhetorical attention to the arts but practitms in the schools appear larger unchanged. Within one American school system, the priority given arts education is tow. According to the National Endowment for the Arts {1938), "Basic arts education does not exist in the United States today." So it seems we Americans have a program and not much education. There is iitde need For research to establish the low priority and fragmentation of arts education to the schools. What is needed is greater understanding of the obstacles to improvement and real insight into the opportunities for arts education. Com? mu ntties surrounding the school abound with music, dance, theatre, and the visua] arts. Much of it 'a trivial, some is trash. but, even among the popular expressions, there are vast opportunities for awareness, analysis, and discriminating apprecia- tion. It is easy to be disheartened hy the school ellTort, to conclude that money is stores, that competition with the rest of the curriculum is discouragingiy difficult. Both are true but there is [more to be said. We as a peeple, we as a profession, without major reallocation of resources, without hundreds or newly trained arts teachers. ooqu do better. We have not sullicientty studied the ways to challenge old accusations. We ourselves hate failed to inspire arts education in the schools. These case studies are committed to that purpose. These are studies otoroinaryr offerings of the American elementary school, noting exposure and engagement of students In school, community, and home arthrity. The studies are part of the EST-199i) program of research undertaken by the National Arts Education Re- search Center at the Uniterstty of itlinois under funds granted by the National Endowment for the Arts. [See Leonhard, 1991}. Our sites were not selected to be technically representative oi the nation’s schools but instances of soimois [mm which we coutd learn. Unlilte the eases studied by the Rand Corporation {McLaughlin & Thomas, 1934} for the J. Paul GettyTrust. these sites were not seiected from nominations for exemplary commit, ment or instruction. We did not intend these to be award-vdnntog schools. Clur sites were selected to touch a variety of demographics but primarily because it was judged by the research team that each would he a place where the vitalityr of school arts might be studied} The hmpitaiiiy oi snimt distrLCL and teaohera. the avail- ability oficcal associates who might heip, and the complieidty ofthe arts offerings of schaots and community were given careful attention in sciecting the sites. Issu es for organizing our observations at the sites were partly those queues and cameras raised in professional and popular literature but also those puzzlements disorruered at the sites. It was important tor us to establish what is happening. both within arLs courses and activities hrut also in the many contests: curricular, ad- ministrative, fiscal, political, historical and soeiaL The qu estionswe raised were not so rnu ch "‘t’t'hat are the children learning?" but "What are the schools providing as opportunities for teaming?" Figure l is a stylized representation of the issues used for initial planning at each school site. But each site aas unique. Our interest was not in comparing them in terms of various criteria but in giving each school a chance to tell its story of arts education. ISlur curiosity as researchers focused on the uniqueness ofeaeh site1 the speeiaiways that a low teachers or advocates at that site deatt with the opportunities and barriers to arts education. Many ofthe issues ofarls education are well known and we could have organized this report around them. We believe it serves the purpose better. however, forthe reader to examine each silein itself,coming to understand LhelocaJ dynamicsr not so much as a generic concept but as a personalistic and situational instance, similar to but unlllte the others and perhaps uselul in understanding the reader's own arts education context. We have offered interpretations and general~ inatiom but have tried to leave it up to the reader to add this vital-ions eiqaerience. these special easesr to what the reader already knows. We feel that refinement of the reader‘s existing concemualizations witl he the payoff olthese studies. We presume our readers to be people concerned about education, partieularlj.r people responsible for arts education in American schools at the end: of the ninth decade ofthis century. ‘t’uhdo not expect to have any readers without already strong persuasions about what is happening in the schools and why. We hope to provide our readers wlth a carefully selected. recognisath portrayed desolption of events pertinent to certain issues, descriptions dependent on our interpretations eta-hat was happening in classrooms and hoardroonis at the end ofthe 198113. Organizing the Case Studies Immediately we faced the question. “th this research be embarrassing?" We wanted to loot: at ordinary teaching of the arts in elementary schoon around the country and he ltnew that teaching of visual arts and music is often not done well. sometimes not done at all. Many of the aduocacitts ofthe American Art Education Association and the Music Educators National Conference are unheeded. Drama and stance teaching are rare. The JDR HI Fund slogan {19?5}, "sit the arts for all the children." is seldom voiced by educators. What more of the prohlem do we need to know? Can we team how to educate try studying malpractice? in many 10m visits to sites Mode»: to be ines'pentitre. The hudch tor the research was small. about $30,033 per year, about iii-III!) per site. Field researchers. even in modest appraisals rii'ten estimate per-site coats of SIiJIElIJO as minimal. . TIIE senoott ITS CUSTOMS: ITS CURRICULUM: iTS AESIHEHC CUN- TEDC'I‘. What constitutes the formal arts edumtion altering: otsehool districts [or the arts-tainmed and for the ordinary youngster? “ti-“hit is the balance between fine and popular arts? What is the interest in and strength ot‘et'focrtc to teach the “disciplined- based" arts as nltyoungsters? Is there aesthetic vitality? . THE COMMUNITY; rI‘S CUSTOMS; 1T3 AESTHEI'IC CDNTEXI'E in the corn- muniry. when are the artsimportsnt'.‘ What are the out-df-schooierts opportunities for ordinary youngsters? Hour and how much do the schools take responsibility for using out-ol-scheol opportunities for educating their students? What is the interaction between fine and popular arts? How does the community constrain arts experience? . SCIIDDL AND EDMMUN [TEETH-ilk RESOURCES AND INCENTIVES; THEER LEADERSHIP: What are the existing and IIt'hat are the potential resoureeaoctschooi and community I'or arts education? ‘t'i'hat kinds of people are the leaders? How are arts education leaders unique? What are the incentives for teachers to teach the arts? What are the incentives for students? . THESDCIEIY: ITSCUST‘DMS'.l'I‘SEI-iERJSHINGflTSCURRIE‘ULUM: Towhat cit-tent are youngsters drawn by teachers and the society into a personal hehoiding of artistic works. or each at the elegance at certain non-arts writs. personal expeneaoc or momentary high? Howdoes"enlighlened therishing“coeur? What are the messages [including casual and indirect wages) to yotunyleta from the culture concerning knowledge about and participation in the arts? Howisthe societalsrtsagenda nilnil‘est in the experience ofyoungsters? Figs-ire I. sesame: quordirodowing fluefliflni‘fiir These mastitis-rites ways, arts education in America is embarrassing—how could our study of the ordinary school not further the embarrassment? But our years of curriculum evaluation studies led the four of us to realise that advocicy for high quality education is driven more by ideological yearning than by realistic assessment ofschoolsand classrooms. We know that educational critiques focus on the best and worsl of teaching and often fail to portray ingenious and tenacious efforts of ordinary teachers. Ordinary classrooms are understudiod. often misunderstood. We have been strong in the belief that effective reform is seldom born or goalsettin g and standards-raising out rather of intensive analysis of problet'ns and careful delineab'ori of areas susceptible to improvement {Fullan. 1982, and Ddden 3t Marsh, WET}. As consultants to schools, we do not. for example, know how to get people to behave rationally, thus rational remediation plans may be of little use. Ideology sometimes gets in the way. Voltaire said, "The best is the enemy of me goo-.1." We wanted to tookatschootsin order to identifywhat needs protection from change aswell as to ldemify opportunities for assisting evolutionary change (State. 1936}. Some readers may ttnd our accounts of arts teaching embarrassing. In those situations in which the teachers or others might be em ban-assod or jeopardized by what we saw or wrote, we anonymiaed the accounts Our purpose is not to belittle or to arouse the indignations which fuel reform. Our purpose is to improve our ccillectwe understanding ofwhat is happening in American elementary schools. Our Schools lour National Center assignment called for case study of elementary schools. We limited our sample to public schools grades K—ll and gave most of ourattcntton to grades 3-6. We looked first at a middle school. then at seven twimary-etcmentaty schools. a collection of eight case studies, even with long-term fieldwork by expert observers, cannot—in a social science sense—be representative of a large popula tion of cases. The teachers. classroom and schools portrayed in our case studies were not randomly chosen. Even if they had been, it would be too small a sample to represent properly the American school system. Our aim was not represen- tation, nor explanation, it was understanding of particular situations. [von 'Wriglit, tort]. We chose to increase our understanding of a few schools. attempting to balance east, west, north. and south; urban, suburban. and rural; schools with and withom arts specialist teachers; socioetonmnic status and ethnic mix: and comm unities with higher and lower artotientation. we deliberately sought to avoid school systems with high reputation for arts education and those where innovative new arts educa- tion projects were underway, thinking those were already being studied? We hoped t . A number of school systems will good reputations were described in Getty Center {1935}. A Rockefeller Brothers Foundation study was examining a number of influx-Elli“: sel'tooLs. to choose schools moving with the current, not ahead or behind. not sporting nor moribund. We chose schools where we found persloris. inside or outside. offering help with access to classroom and with interpretations of our observations. To facilitate early field operations. we chose Denyille. Illinois, a small blue collar city with economic woes. not dietarit from the Unisersity of Illinois In Dativille.we studied the largest and most comprehensive of the elementary schools, partly to observe the role taken by an up-and-ooming new principal. We chine a "relies coastal town. here called San Sebastian, because of acquain- lance-s there who already litoew a lot about the arts scene in both cotnmunity and schools. We looked particularly there for an ethnic mitt not only of Caucasians, Hispanics and Afro-Americans but also newly settling Vietnamese and finances. We chose two urban schools in Chicago. one to a most economically impover- ished neighborhood, an all-Afro-Ameriean elementary school. Gin our exploratory visit. we were attracted to the new principal's intent to revitalize the school through an arts orientation. Our other Chicago publieschoot was in a stately old building in a handsome neighborhood where neighbors sent their children instead to private school. Our school was. attended by students cussed from afar. The contrast between teacher culture and student culture intrigued us. We chose a middle school in Anacortes, 1viii-sshington because the arts advocate there was ill‘l'lfl‘Wll across that state to he a tireless and effective creator of looming opportunities. Then we worried that the community might be too much an arts colony. then realized that many oonu'nunities across the country are home to mail or large cadres of professional as well as casual artists. We chose a New Hampshire elementary school because colleague Nancy Ellis was supervising teacher trainees there and bad opportunity to observe classrooms regularly. Also the community was similar to many lying just outside the fringe of metropolitan areas, diminishing as centers of agricultural production, growing as centers for those who want a quiet. yet not too isolated, place to live. We more or lessblindly selected among the Philadelphia suburbs,wantiug within the Atlantic megalopotis a site where the best of resources would be available but not wanting to know in advance whether and how those resources were being used for arts education. For our eighth selection we went to California. the largest state school system. the one with perhaps the most diverse populations and probably the most sophisti- cated school reform oEl'orts. Though Californians are among the most mobile of Americans. we chose a community where many parents themsehres had once attended the school system. mid we sought aclassroom where a teacher minimally teaching the arts would be happy to show—and-tetl what he cared about asa teacher and as a person. a ninth visitation site at rural Broohwcod, Alabama, was abandoned even before started. We ran out of tone. this settled for those eight sites—"yet in a way we had is additional sites. As part of our National Center work. for over a year we sought observations and opinions of arts education correspondents in each of the Arts Education Case Studies '1' 5o states, com ments on topics of concern to us and of concern to them. We wanted Ihe views as background. to help us orient to what was going on around the country. We will quote these Fifty States conespondenls a Few times In this report. its indieateu. our sample was not designed to capture a certain itin of arts program or situation. We looked for diverse sites. found strut: agreeable hosts, tdenttfled some foreshadowing questions, and walked in with the Idea that these places had stories to tell, stories we needed to see, hear and tell ourselves (many. HTS}. We cannot make a strong argument that these eight schools represent the nation's elementary schools. There are aspects about them that are typical, others unique. To some extent, our experience with schools in general and with arts programs. extended by the assurances and cautionsofeut colleagues, invited us to work, toward certain generaiimtions—hut these should be treated both by us and by our readers with caution. We have tried In a deliberate way to provide our readers with sufficient contextual and operational detail so that, cou pied tvtth their ovm experience and understanding, they can strengthen or n'Iodify then can gen- eralisation-i about arts education [Stake lit Trumbull, tool}. We I.vish researchers had better Istays to draw generalizations than they do} At a glance, education appears more-or-Iess the some simple story Everywhere; but under sustained examination ofindividual cases, its complexities and uniquenesses are obvious. We in the social sciences have our mcendiuhtpdnctfle: you cannot simultaneoust know both the complexity and typicaiity ofa phenomenon. Statisti- cal surveys {where the same questions are asked oflarge numbers of respondents] give important but often so perfteial information about teaching and learning; case studies give in-depth information about Individual macs. N. increasing levels of corn plexitytt is utercasirtgly difficult in lrncw how typical the case is When samples are carefully drawn. the probability of a universal relationship amongvan'ahles can be estimated but the probabilities do not hold for an individual case Much of what happens in a classroom is situational. In a survey questionnaire. the complexity of I he classroom situation can he alluded to but not captured. And without the su rvcy, we cannot establish the typicality ofthe situation. linen social science uncertainties do not disturb most readers. Encountering our descriptions and dialogue, they met and match, ehottle or grouse, and often think some more. Our purpose here is to present a [the well-chosen vignettes with inierpretations. not to identify the national conditions but to aid thInlong about what Is and ought to be happening in our classrooms. Tire Research Issues Many things happen in the classroom—only some did we want to study. We identified a. small list ol issues at the outset but remained alert to other issues that might emerge as even more important. JFrom. reseaneh methods courses and. books. the generalisation seeker is seldom ade- quately told of the role of common sense. intuition. and presumption. The problems are discussed in Greene and David (1934}. Some research is driven by theory: social theory, education theory, arts theory.“ As researchers we are not oblivious to theory but. here. our studies were driven by what we found in the schools, by events, by problems. We oriented out observa- tions to certain key issues, especially teacher issues {Ethan 1933}. They were not derived from formal theory, norairned to create theory, yet constituted an evolving grounded theory, a conceptual structure for organising and ctlerdinating our work {Glaser St Strauss, 196?}. We used the diagram in Figure l as a background map and, for initial observa- tions, divided the questions into the four categories represented by the shaded areas. As we became familiar with our sites, our issues became fever, our foci narrowed. Increasineg we pursued the following Issu: 1. In our clamentary classroom, formally and informally, is there attention to aesthetics (Smith, 19H), to beauty, to intellectual understanding ofthe arts which. individuals and scdeties cherish? 2. With limited time [or arts instruction, are teachers encouraged to meet arts education needs by Integrating arts activities into the teaching of other subject matter?r When instruction is integrated in this way, are important knowledge and sldll in the arts or any other legitimate arts education goals actually pursued? 3. When significant artists and exemplary artworks are studied, are classroom teachers and the authorities to whom teachers appeal expanding arts educa- tion beyond classical European culture toward popular and multicultural arts? 4. Schoolwide emphas'aon explicit goals, prespecified instructional materials and procedures, perhannance evaluation, and various schematic views of teaching pressureteadters to feel they must beauthnritative aboutvrhatthey teach in the classroom. Does such rcsponsihillty dimin‘ah classroom atten- tion given to arts mats and experiences occurring outside the classroom? 5. In these elementary schools dowe find advocates for a more discipline-based arts education or for any other high quality arts oarriculum to replace the present mistmri?’ o. What forms of arts education leadership are to be found and how do they match the neech for leadership? Each ofthe four of us continued to modify the conceptual structure for our case studit'n not only aceordingto tvhat tvasgoing on at sehonn visited but alsoas to vrhat “Our vie-warns a bit like that of Degas. According to Paul Valery (loch), "Degas, with little tenderness [unwillingness not apt tube indulgent cleriticism. or of tltcories. Hewas ahayeresdytoassen -and later in life hcamld harpon iI -Illll there is no arguing among the Muses. Thcywoslt all day. very much on their own In the evening. Wilt finished. they get together and dance; dacydo not tallt." 5'We felt ll of primary importance to understand what constitutes a curriculum, not so much bydistrict specification but eaqaerientially [or the teacher and the individual child. See Stanley Madeja {191W}. he or she felt could be lcamod by pursuing it. Each of course in part followed personal interest and previous experience. The Researchers The team of rcscarchers worked under the auspices of the National Arts Education Research Center at the University of Illinois, first directed by Ted Zernieh and later by {diaries Leonhard and Jack McKenzie. The Center existed bcmrccn 198T and 19% as a creation of the National Endowment for the Arts. Huh Stake ditected the study. A curriculum evaluation specialist, he was the director of CIRCE. the University of Illinois Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation. From a background in psychometrits and study in many of the traditional subject matters. but neither trained our experienced in the arts, Stake bad becomeinvolved with program evaluation problems raised by CEMREL, SWERL, the JDR Il'l Fund, the Cloveland Area Arts Coo nail, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. He authored Err-retooling the Arts in Education, A ResponsiveApproech and rotated papers {see bibliography]. 'lhough professing to be a measurements spe- cialist, be frequently opposed the ways achievement tests and other indicator variables were being used to measure or evaluate education. He was recognised as an advocate of qualitative research methods, especially the case study. Liora Ereslcr, a performing picnic: and musicotogist, became involved in art education in her work as musical director at the “Ital Arr-iv Museum. Her principal conversion occurred at Stanford University working with Elliot Eisner and the Getty case study project Captivated by the case study approach, she found her musical training useful in attendlng lo rhythms. form and orchestration. At the University of Illinois, Liortt 1was an assistant professor in BIRCH and the Dopartn-rent of Curriculum and Instruction, writing about mosrc more than playing it. Her special interests were in aesthetic education, qualitative methodology, teacher training and computer mediated oorrt rnu nicatiorr, Linda Maury was a research and teaching assistant at CIRCE. rt doctoral student and Baglcy Scholar, she studied aesthetics with Ralph Smith at the Univer— sity of li[il‘tt'sis before engaging in qualitative research and evaluation. While at L‘llttIF. she conducLEd screral case studies and program evaluations, mostly involv- ing arts education. Previrnisiy, she taught in public and private elementary schools and directed religious education programs. Her background included iamiiiarity with the visual arts. musicI theater, dance and literature. Nancy Ellis was an assistant professor of education at the University of New Ha nipshire. DurhamI with interestsin arts education and professional development of educators. in 193?. after studying with Elliot Eisner and specializing in design and evaluation of educational programs. she received her doctorate in education from Stanford University. From tQ'l'tl until 1933 she had been a visual arts consult— ant and classroom teacher In the Burlington, Vermont, public schools. In 1984, she served as site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts in six states. Amdng the people who helped us conceptualize these case studies were Harry liroudy, Richard Cornell, Dale Costello, Howard Gardner, Madclernc Grumct, lt’l Chapler l'r l. i. t i Jerry Housman, and Ralph Smith. At each site we found people such as Phyllis Ennes, Pat Ianneill, Carolyn Lutgen and Mary Kay Mahry who drew us toward a better understanding of what we were seeking. Assisting us with early arrange- ments was Jonathan Block; in review of manuscripts were Eel-it nailing, Darla Cohen, Terry Denny, Janet l-iatano, Charles Leonhard, Giordana Rahitti, Debbie Rugg, and Patricia Ttaey; and with final organisation or the boolt. Leigh Little. The Research Rationale Intending to portray how. asobservers, we interacted with the happenings ofthe classroom, we might call this research constructivist case study. We thirtit of our case study findings not so much as discweries but as experiences (Stake, 1935) “such, in part,“ ourselves have constructed. We have sought notto minimize but to preserve interactions berween researcher and phenomena. We acloiowiedge interpretation in each datum. Even though the researcher strives to detriment what every observer might see, each observation is expected to hold meanings that others amid not see. StiLl, trey observations are to be triangulated (Denna, 19m), each narrative is to be trustworthy {Guba 3: Lincoln. 1989]. Dialogue and contest. tual detail are chosen not only to portray the event but to develop issue-based assertions. assertions are formed uniquely by each researclter. disciplined but drawing on personal experience and study (Erickson, 19345). the call the research naturalistic. the want to see ordinary happenings in ordi- nary settings. We use instruments including neuronnaims as little as ptaslble, for they direct activity ttmrard our laces, away lrom every-day pursuits. We cannot be on hand to see much ofwhat we want to know about, thus through interde and review of documented-re indirectly loot: at happenings we believe the happenings are best understood with a careful attention to their contexts and, partly for that reason, also thinlr of our studies as historic. We call the research servicemrt'encsa'. We not only hope it will be useful to people puzzled by arts teaching, engaged in improving programs. or setting arts education policy. We try to check out potential for use as we go along. We hope the report will be useful to quite different types of people but generally our armor is more for those close at hand, those who have most to gain and lose from a [)artieutar arts education program. We call it empathic research. It attends to the intentions of the people studied, their value commitments, their names or reference. Vil'estart with our own notions of what is imporan but inereashtgly try to highlight iroues of importance to the teachers, parents, and others closely associated with the case. We try to report things in ways that provide vicarious experience. This type of research has been supported and refined by the methodological writings of those cited so tar and other researchers truth as Herbert Glaser, Egon Guba. David Hamilton, Helen Simons. Lou Smith. and Anselm Strauss. valuable precedents were set for us in the cast: studies of Howard Becker, Eleanor Farrel, Ernest House, Alan Pcshlrin. Harry Wolcott and Barry MacDonald and his East Anglia colleagues, Clem Adehrraa, David Jenkins, Satdlie Kushnet, and Rob wat— lrer. Examples are identified in our bibliography. Arts Education (East: Studies 1] Here we have tried to emphasize the uniqu chess ofthe situation as much as the general. Every site has its own story to tell and none is adequately represcntattvc of others. Still in each, most readers sce parallels reflecting and informing about their own arts classrooms. it. special aspect of the partieu larlzal'ton in this report is out rather personalistic presentation. Many educational researchers cottsider staff and student personalities tscad which must be penetrated. We consider per- sonalities to be determining factors, dtus a central part of the stories. For all the effort to cast education into a technil and standardized operation, it remains greatly a product of spontaneity and intuition on both sides of the desk. The particulars of arts education cannot be understood, we belieie, without the per- sonnlistie dimensions. Among the several drawbacksl' of naturalistic case study are its personal in- trusivcness and risk of expose. Usually we are guests ofthc people we are studying. In some ways intruding into a space thatmrcgardlcss of funding and crowding—it by custom a private space. as cotne intending to make it public. Along the way, we asir our hosts to read drafts of descriptions not only to correct our errors but to help-us recognize their vulnerability. "lbachers and especially educators who have a purse rostrum, we prefer to identify by name, date and place, to facilitate reader understanding. But often, even when they do not asir for it, we find it best to anonymiae. Thus, several of the case studies here carry pseudonyms and a few events have been distorted to diminish recognition. Still, within their own com- munities, individuals may be recognizable to our anonymizcd amounts. We believe this risk worth taking: problems, shortctunings, and personal dismay are essential to understanding but we are pained to thihlt thatwe sometimes may leaves site having made it more difficult for the educators to carry out their responsibilities. What Do We Expect a School to Be? the frame around understanding tsexpectation. Nothing is meaningful without prewaus encounter. An encounter raises expectation for subsequent enmunter. We approach new experience with expectation. We understand the new within frameworks of pot experience. The next sctmot we encounter will surely be some- thing lilte the schools we already know. Evert when forewarned that this one will be different, the expectation ofdifference is meaningful in terms of variation previously experienced. “the will find this school in touch with the arts community." "This school is striving to deal with the technological uncertainty of the future." "This school is backing away ever so slightly from ‘me basics' toward exploratory studies." "This schoolich oriented to music than most." Advance notice isn'teanitigful onty in terms of what we already know. t'Jut expectation ofschools. like all perceptions, tends toward the concrete. We see first the shape of buildings and the scurry of people, only later the philosophies I We do not want to dc ny that case study research has, in addition to the propensity for tntntsidn, scvc rat important defects. It is costly, wordy, subjective, biased ton-ant attention to social Intblflt‘tm,flld¢m sufficiently cautious in interpretation,snd its regimen of'tt'tquiry for luck of it} is difficult to establish. Yet to probe some dimples phenomena, it can be the best way to go. offaculty and the impressions left on students. We expect the building, the faculty, and the philosophies to be a reflection of the eotltJ'Ituhity. Rich cornmu cities have ‘country club’ schoolsI ghetto crnnmunitles have ‘traslted‘ schools. Reality some- times contradicts our expectation but the stereotypes run deep. We expects school to prepare the commu nity's youngsters for college, for work, for young adulthood. “is expect a curriculum heavy on the core subjects, language skills, science, and mathr with options in vocational subjects such as office practice, food preparation, and agriculture, and the extracurricular activttics such as ath- letics. band. and computer games And we expect attention to the humanities, particularly the arts, available at least to the more talented and interested. For a century,we have expected American schools to raise the level of education of each successive generation, to provide teachers more knowledgeable than par- ents, and to make youngsters even better educated than their teachers. Hopes remain hut expectations are changing. In America today, schools are not thought to satisfyI needs for technological competence. literacy, and readiness for an as-yet- unimaginablc twenty-first century. in all the St] states, campaigns are underway to improve the schools, to raise the standards of education.1 Expectation for the success of the reforms does not run high. People are used to educators and politicians promising more than they can deliver. For the country as a whole, further disappointments are on the way. But satisfaction with local schools remains surprisingly high. Expectation is that good teachers will continue to teach, that youngsters will learn. Prevailing still is the expectation ofa healthy compromise between commercial-industrial needs and the competencies ofgraduatcs. Americans have maintained cmtsiderablc expectation that the sophistications of adults can be produced on a foundation of elementalsttills, that all children need to master certain basicsin orderto advanceto higher mental proficiencies. "One must walk before one runs." Soin the litter. and fills the aim ofschool curricula has been to teach the competencies well, to postpone the httcrpretive studies. In his book Shot-dd HhEducntc? philosopher Earl Ecreiter assessed school ability to teach basic skills and interpretive learnings, found the former attainable, the latter largely beyond our reach. The schools have not abandoned the teaching of reading cont- prehension, critical thinking, writing composition and music appreciation but these aims regularly are pratponed at least until assessments of student accomplishment show the basic skills—arithmetic computationI reading as decoding and vocab- ulary—to be attained. The states have responded to public disappointment by declaring increasingly that education is not only a local responsibility but state responsibility as well. Fonnai expression of standards has becoune more frequent and more explicit. TDefirthg curriculum components is a. rotnmon aim in planning refunn. A stmng argu- ment for better definition of arts oduntion has been made by Michael Dly (1954) and Bennett Reimer (I989), Dearly, hatter definitions E'IJ'I aid communication. But the record doesnot shwthatspecilication reguiaflylcsds toimprwcmcnt. Often it lead: cosimplistici, sometime to distention among refotrrters. In these case studies.wc sought lnstattces where poor definition of art education seemed to be an obstacle to good instructionuartd found none. implying that standards are being raised. [trial statements are worded to encom- pass almost all possible good learnings. But those statements serve mainly to raise expectation that traditional scholastic subjects will be addressed with more vigor than thc vocational. the humanities. and the extracurricular. As exemplified in Figure 2. the arts are included in many state goal statements but the regulations developed to enforce state responsibility leave definition of arts edumt'run open. wit it computer key-boarding ahd photo processing as legitimate as chorus. Contemporary recommendations of the National Endowment for the Arts [1933] include arts education for all the children: "i‘lrts education should provide all students with a sense of the arts in civilizau'on. of creainityin the artistic process. of the vocabularies of artistic corn munication. and of the criticalelements necessaryr I Message from the Superintendent of Public Instruction inherent in our role as educators is the ohligation to provide the best. most ' comprehensive education [Htssible for all young people in our state. Included in I this mandate is the necessity to include the arts—dance. drama, music, and the l visual arts—in the core curriculum. The Basic Education Act of It??? states that - the goal . .. shall he to provide students with the opportunity to achieve those skills which are generally recognized as requisite to learning. Those skills shall include the ability: ' I. To distinguish. interpret. and make use of words. numbers. and other symbols. including sound. colors. shapes. and textures- i 2. To organize words and other symbols into acceptable verbal and nonverbal ' forms of expression. and numbers into their appropriate functions; Tl. "lo perform intellectual functions such as problem solving. decision matting. goal setting. selecting. planning. predicting. experimenting. ordering. and evaluating; 4. 'In use various muscles necessary for coordinating physical and mental functions. Property taught. the arts embody and develop all ofthese skills. In order to increase the quality of leamirtg for Washington students the State Board of Education requested my agency to prepare curriculum guidelines in all content areas. These guidelines reflect the desire to achieve excellence at alllevets and in all areas. as well as assist students in developing competencies for college. work. and life. Figure 2. opening to the Introduction to Visual 3!. Performing Arts Dtrriculum— Guidelines for Washington Schools. Frank B. Brouitlet. State Superintendent of Public Instruction. 193?. to making mforrned choices about the products of the arts.“ But as visitors to the schools. our expectation is less idealistic and more immediate. Clnr expectation of schools. across the country and alreadyin Anacortes. Danvillc.and efsowhcre.is less that they will educate. more that thcywill offer courses—pretty much the courses offered early in the century. We encounter little tall: about what it means to be an educated adult but Lots of talk about the illiterate. "lb hear some discussions. it seems the most important thing a school should do is to avoid illiteracy. Expectations for School Arts We expect the schools to have an arts program. In many places.tvhat they have is a program in. nante only. An elementary school is likely to have a specialist teacher in music. According to Thomas Hatfield of the National Art Education Association. only four states have a specially trained art teacher in every school. In most places. the classroom teacher 1uvlll provide a few minutes ofart activity aweelt. Attention to drama will be confined to a performance of some kind a few times a year. These will be productions.sornethlng to be puton exhibit. The experience of participation will be esteemed. For the more talented youngster. knowledge of the arts is not expected to exceedthat ofan embryonic performer; for-the others. almost no knowledge of the arts is expected. Middle schools. junior high. and senior high seller-ole are expecled to provide regular instruction as optional enrollment for students in visual arts. crafts. choir. and band. Again the orientation is largely to perfon‘nanoe. the junior class play. synChronous movementat "halftime." makingof announcements and gifts for one's parents. The arts are participatory arts. production arts [Efland 1976]. A typical school district hires only enough teachers specially-trained in elemen- tary music to assure a weekly lesson for each child. only enough scmndary teachers to provide courses for students electing band or chorus. A typical school district hires teachers specially—trained in the visual arts to preside an occasional elective for that minority of high schoolers not committed in academics. athletics. or other avocations. Faculty help is needed to assure direction of clam; plays and holiday programs and supervision orvislts to museum and concerts. but these usually are handled by volunteer teachers and outsiders. Most school districts see little obliga- tion to employ elementary teachers with more than incidental preparation in arts education. Our fundamental eiqiecration of teacher preparation falls short of art education qualification. 1M: expect a school to help youngsters approach opportunities for further education by providing credentials of coursenork. good performances on tests. and a disposition to undertake the burdensome assignments of professional training. We carpch a school to acquaint youngsters with the arts. partly because it might be soine part of their career activity. largely because it might become avocationatly enriching. but mostly hocause it helps round out the school experience. Vie expect a school to be serious about its arts education. even about activities mainly pur- pnrrcd to reduce the strain and tetl'rurrt of other schoolde Arts Education Case Studies 15 Actress the years, within and outside the W5. there have been urgings that Ell'l educalinn be something meme. Jehn Dewey spate of art as mrperimee. Harry Brandy of enlightened Che-fishing. Eiliel Eisner of cent-ewa buggery. Edmund Feidman hf humanistic art education, the study of men through art. There are teachers in almost every school who rm'erberete to these purpclses. But the ordi- nsry expectation of school arts is for occasional, direeiien-fuilmuing, meme fililrll}'- captivating eeti‘ritjt that culminates in audience-phasing prod ueitehs. If is with such especiatlen that we viscil Anacortes. thhingmn. Wu: gr:- tn 3 middle seheei there, then to grade schools in her ether Seven sites. is Chapter l % PART TWO: Eight Case Studies ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 8

Bresler_Ch._1_Qualitative_Paper - Chapter 1 Arts Education...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 8. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online