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[teacherartexchange] The fact is that no matter what subject, we are all teachers

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Apr 23 2006 - 09:23:46 PDT


We have all heard students use that overblown phrase "this is an art class -
I don't need to know how to spell." I think that just as students are
responsible to carry the information that they are learning from one class
to another (irregardless of the above popular misconception), teachers are
also responsible for helping students to reinforce as many skills as they
can (and as are appropriate), to the lessons that they are teaching in their
classes. For art instructors the easy tie-in involves reading and language
skills as there is a direct correlation between how the visual arts in fact
help to enhance those areas of learning which has already been well
documented through published research. Other arts areas have also been tied
into better student performance and skill acquisition in other areas as
well, in addition to higher test results in SAT scores. An arts centered
approach to learning is becoming increasingly attractive as the populations
that we are teaching are becoming more and more diverse and come from
backgrounds that are equally dissimilar and are no longer as homogenous as
they may have once been.

A very interesting and easy to read (and free to download), booklet
entitled, "Critical Evidence - How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement", is
available from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Arts
Education Partnership. It can be ordered in the hard copy form or viewed as
a PDF file at:

http://www.nasaa-arts.org/publications/critical-evidence.shtml

The booklet points out the fundamental and intrinsic importance of the arts
to all of learning. This is not to say that all of the arts areas are not
important for their own sake, but there certainly needs to be a goal common
to all teachers regardless of discipline, to be able to help increase their
students level of achievement. We can ill afford to teach subject areas as
isolated pockets of learning that are mini kingdoms unto themselves and
still expect that students will somehow magically be able to make the
connections between subject areas that will allow them to be successful in
today's fast-paced and ever changing landscape. Teachers with areas of
expertise in their own specific curriculum areas need to be able to become
resources for their students beyond the specificity of the name of the
course. At some point, it seems to me that it would be quite valuable to
create opportunities for teachers to be able to work in a cross-disciplinary
fashion with other teachers in different curriculum areas to see just what
the connections are that can be explored between their areas, and what
skills collectively can be worked on and improved by making those
connections.

Ultimately it is the success of all of our students that we need to be most
concerned with.

Kevan

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