Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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The Art of  
A Workshop for High School Teachers
the Arts

In This Program


A Music teacher with works with a saxophone player

Visual Art

A visual art teacher discusses a drawing with a student


A theatre teacher works with two students


A dance teacher and a student demonstrate a technique

Workshop 1 Principles of Artful Teaching

Watching the Program Additional Resources Support Materials
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Activities and Discussion
(45 minutes)  |  Homework

Part I: What All Good Arts Teaching Has in Common (25 minutes)

In this workshop you are joined by colleagues who teach art forms other than yours. What broad goals for students do you and your colleagues share? What teaching ideas and approaches do you have in common? The following activities are aimed at helping you identify the common teaching goals that you would most like to work toward in this workshop.

Where, in the program you have just seen, did a teacher who was NOT in your discipline inspire you the most, or remind you of a goal or a value that you hold important in your own teaching?

Look at the notes you made on the Viewing and Discusion Sheet (PDF) while watching the program. Take turns describing for the group the teaching moment that most resonated with your own practice.

As a group, try to name five or six broad teaching goals that you all hold in common. Compare your list to the seven “artful principles” above. Where do the lists agree? Where do they differ? Decide as a group which artful principles are most important to you.

Part II: The Improvisational Act of Teaching and Learning
(20 minutes)

Read the following passage about the similarities between teachers and jazz musicians:

Master teachers — teachers who teach all students well — make decisions about what to teach and how to teach it based on an ongoing conversation involving their students, the course content, and themselves, with the ever-present goal of improving learning and the educational experience. Master teachers understand that each day is an improvisational concert, a musical conversation with their students.

Good improvisational jazz musicians don't know until the music starts where the night will take them. What they play and how they play it depends on the other musicians with whom they perform, their moods, the atmosphere, and the audience. Such musicians are not seeking consistency or replicability; they are striving for magic in the moment. They create something unique by listening carefully to one another; by anticipating their fellow musicians, and their instruments; and by surprise. A welcome element of the unknown keeps them exploring new territory, discovering new possibilities making new music. Good jazz musicians are tireless learners. If they stop listening to others, stop seeking new paths, stop inviting surprise into their musical conversations, they lose their mastery. Mastery in teaching follows the same path.

Excerpted from "Jazz at the Improv" by Corinne Mantle-Bromley, Kappa Delta Pi Record 41(1). ©2004. Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education. Used with permission.

Discuss how useful the comparison between jazz musicians and teachers is to you. Are there important differences as well? Would you amend the comparison in any important way?  

Then, propose and discuss similar correlations between teachers and actors, teachers and dancers, and teachers and visual artists.  

Homework opens in a new window.

NEXT: Additional Resources



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