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ERIC Number: EJ1094976
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 45
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1932-7528
A Study of Professional Development for Arts Teachers: Building Curriculum, Community, and Leadership in Elementary Schools
Burnaford, Gail
Journal for Learning through the Arts, v5 n1 Article 7 2009
This study was conducted in a large urban school district. Fifty-nine elementary schools, designated as Fine Arts Schools by the district, were organized as a Fine Arts School Network. The school district partnered with an external arts organization to deliver research-based, consistent and collaborative professional development to art, music, dance, and drama teachers over three years. This government-funded professional development initiative explored the impact of network-based intensive professional development for arts teachers in four specific areas: 1) their role in building community in their schools; their roles as community builders in their schools, 2) their role in building curriculum with non-arts teachers in their schools, 3) their role in building their own leadership capacities. The final area for investigation focused on the impact of network-based professional development for arts teachers on their home schools. Quantitative data, including surveys of participating arts teachers, and qualitative data, including curriculum projects, student work, online documentation templates, interviews and focus groups were collected and analyzed. Results indicated that arts teachers spent more time with their principals and with their non arts teacher colleagues as a result of the professional development they received. They also developed a deeper understanding of the value of an arts integration curriculum in which their own arts expertise contributes to the design of learning and teaching, particularly in the literacy areas of story elements, analytical writing, creative writing, and critique of arts experiences. The study also demonstrated how professional development contributed to arts teachers' capacity to take leadership in their schools by serving on School Improvement teams, contributing to decisions regarding external arts partnerships, and implementing staff development. The study offered implications for schools districts regarding the importance of targeted professional development for arts specialists. Further, the study indicated roles for external arts partnership organizations in district-supported professional development, as opposed to a more familiar model of school-specific residencies. Finally, results indicated the potential for supporting arts teacher specialists in developing and implementing professional development and curricular projects in their own schools.
Center for Learning in the Arts, Sciences and Sustainability. University of California Irvine, School of Biological Sciences III, Office 2656, Irvine, CA 92697. Tel: 949-824-4317; Fax: 949-824-2965; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: CFDA84351C