Final Report of the National Roundtable on Teacher Education in the Arts in Canada

Be among the first to read this new Report on the findings of the Roundtable on Teacher Education in the Arts in Canada.

NRTEA Report 2015.11.10

 

Background

 

The National Roundtable on Teacher Education in the Arts (NRTEA) is a national laboratory of ideas, a national forum for discussion and communication, and an incubator of visions, strategies and principles, concerning all aspects of pre-service teacher education and in-service professional development.  The fulcrum for discussion is always the nature of the teaching-learning encounter in teacher education. The main organizers and participants in NRTEA come from faculties of education, teacher organizations and institutions, artist organizations, and government officials from the Federal and provincial governments. They come together once a year, in a very non-partisan manner, to share, track trends, explore issues and engage in stimulating dialogue in the hope that these activities will lead to greater understanding of teacher education in the arts and help them make considered choices today that are important to them and the communities they serve. Given the unique and specific role the National Roundtable as well as its organizational structure, the engagement in advocacy or developing related action plans, is not part of its mandate.

 

Our first principle is to support the finest possible teacher education in the arts, for those involved in school classrooms and community settings. By arts, we refer to dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts, in traditional settings and in new and experimental combinations. NRTEA was founded in 2011 with the first National Roundtable held on May 25 and 26, at the National Arts Centre, in Ottawa.  All of the annual Roundtable meetings have been followed by summary/analytical reports that have been given wide national distribution.

 

Every year, a new steering committee for the Roundtable identifies and elaborates, a theme or a challenge to teacher education in the arts (TEA) that is of national significance and would benefit both participants and those reading about the outcome of the NRTEA. The focus of investigation is often an outshoot of the previous year’s work, which was identified in our conclusions or suggested as possible future directions by participants. The process of developing and planning the schedule is an organic one. The steering committee invites past participants and associates to comment and participate in the elaboration of a programme. The final programme is only finalized a month before the event.

 

This year, the focus for NRTEA was, ‘Teacher Education in the Arts at a Crossroad - The impact of demographic and social trends and structures’. Participants discussed the following 4 questions: 

 

HOW DO WE COUNTER A WALMARTIZATION OF ARTS EDUCATION?

a)  How can we work within the financial and scheduling constraints?

b)  What is taught?

c)  What kind of learning results from predetermined curriculum and outcomes?

d)  To what extent is teacher education in the arts ‘siloed’ and geared only for employment?

 

HOW DO TEACHER EDUCATORS work with GENERALIST TEACHER CANDIDATES using WHATEVER EXPERTISE THEY HAVE AND INCREASE their INTER- DISCIPLINARITY WITH ALL THE ARTS? 

a)  How do we get our students to feel the magic of the arts and be able to translate that into valuable arts experiences for their students?

b)  How do we open the hearts and minds of teacher educators to be vulnerable to artistic experience?

c)  What are the implications of requiring all professors involved any of aspect of teacher education, to have formal credentials in the arts? 

 

HOW CAN WE BETTER LEAD OUR LIVES WITH ARTISTRY THROUGH ARTS EDUCATION?

a)  What roles could be played by self-reflection arts research (a/r/tography), in the practice of teacher education in the arts?

b)  How multi-dimensional are arts teacher educators? 

c)  What does a New-Renaissance teacher, of future teachers, look like?

d)  Maybe we have a word definition (epistemological) problem- what other name could we give to arts education?

 

CAN WE STILL AFFORD TO TEACH ALL OF THE ARTS AND HOW DO WE DO THIS?

a)  How do we make use of the multidimensional properties of the arts in teacher education?

b)  How do we give ourselves permission not to be experts in all of the arts?

c)  What are the stakes to such an approach?

 

 

Methodology:

 

The 32 participants were assigned randomly into five groups. The participants, who came from across the country, represented university professors, arts consultants, arts teachers, government officials including the Ontario College of Teachers, graduate candidates and artists. Unfortunately the number of registered participants fluctuated (plus/minus 10) over the course of the event because many were presenting at other conferences being held in Ottawa during the same time period.

 

We met on May 28th and 29th at the Ottawa City Hall, the National Gallery of Canada and in adjacent parks, for our fifth annual Roundtable on teacher education in the arts. Participants spent the first day at Ottawa City Hall and the following day at the National Gallery. Participants debated at length, several seminal questions dealing with fundamental issues of teacher education in the arts (TEA) as copied above. All groups had a facilitator, usually a steering committee member, and a reporter. Discussions were followed by individual group report presentations to all other groups.

 

In order to inform and inspire the group discussions to the questions outlined above, participants had presentations from: Joel Westheimer (the arts, democracy and education); Peter Gamwell( the creative artistry potential of complex organizations); Kim Snider (an international perspective of TEA) and Caleb Abbott/Allison O’Connor (the arts and social practice). 

 

The following report attempts to capture and interpret comments made by various groups in the reports provided by group leaders. Because arts education in general is so closely related to arts education for teachers/educators, at times, some of these comments seem to target more the former than the latter.  

 

 

Responses to question 1: How do we counter a Walmartization of arts education?

The primary focus of question one, assumes that teacher education in the arts is subject to a kind of ‘walmartization’ and asks how should we counter this. This labeling uses a commonly known business practice used by many corporations that emphasizes cost reduction and delivery efficiency, ( eg. the quality of the products being offered, the slashing of costs, time constraints, limited selections, standardization, commodification, hiring out sourcing (programmes or staff) …

 

The francophone group (the green group) described arts education, as a part of our education system, however it has a very small social profile, is poorly understood and subject to political policies and funding.

 

« L’éducation des arts fait partie d’un profil de société. Même si elle transmet des apprentissages multiples, la matière n’est pas reconnue essentielle par tous les intervenants (parents, directions d’écoles, conseils scolaires) et par les consommateurs (élèves, parents, orienteurs). »

In many provinces, the group stated that we are blessed with good curriculum documents that allow a rich source of possibilities for explorations and experimentation even if the resources are not always available. School size and location matters. Teachers have learned to use their creative problem solving abilities. Large urban schools often have better access to cultural services for teacher development and their students. Resources needed are ‘out sourced’ at lower costs to community groups or other communities.

« Dans les écoles de petite taille, une forme d’art sera plus favorisée que les autres. Cependant dans chacune des matières artistiques : Arts visuels, Danse, Musique ou Théâtre, l’enseignement en classe devrait toujours permettre de faire vivre aux élèves toutes les attentes des programmes-cadres. À cet effet la formation de l’enseignant et la valorisation des arts dans le milieu, seront déterminant.»

 

Teacher qualifications in the arts are often overlooked from elementary to the 10th grade. «Au niveau de la province, il est possible de dire que l’enseignement des arts est étroitement lié à la formation de l’enseignant d’art. À cet effet donc une disparité peut exister puisque jusqu’en 10e année la matière peut être enseignée par un généraliste, pratique courante de la première à la 8e année.»

Arts education is ‘siloed’. We still have traditional subjects being taught although the new digital technologies are blurring and transforming the lines between subjects. «Pour la suite, le cloisonnement semble se réduire et se transformer avec le numérique qui fusionne les arts entre eux et les arts aux autres matières (p.ex. science) ou transforme chacun d’eux vers de nouvelles possibilités de création. »

This does lead to new job possibilities… « Cependant aujourd’hui la transformation des arts dans l’ère numérique, met sous le « spot » de nouveaux emplois à la recherche de créateurs formés aux exigences des programmes d’éducation artistique, c’est-à-dire : créer et résoudre des problèmes, analyser, penser, juger et utiliser ses connaissances pour innover »

The green group conclusion to the question, “How do we counter a ‘Walmartization’ of arts education?” was the following: 

 

« Peut-être que la spécialisation n’est pas nécessaire à l’élémentaire. L’ouverture, le lien avec le quotidien, les expériences explorées et vécues et la connaissance du ‘beau’ sont les éléments formateurs à encourager pour tous.  Ceux-ci ne sont pas limités par un financement et peuvent également moduler et optimiser les contraintes de temps.

 

Les enfants, les élèves, les adultes peuvent être séduit par les petites expériences et le quotidien de la vie. Il faut en profiter et utiliser ceux-ci pour former notre clientèle.  Ces expériences vont au-delà des attentes. Elles impliquent au delà de l’intégration… plutôt une transdisciplinarité. »

 

The purple group also stated that TEA is usually treated as non- essential. Few faculties of education, unless headed by a faculty member with an Arts background, prioritize the Arts. Retiring arts education faculty members are not being replaced, so the arts “voice” at the faculties is disappearing. Positions are being filled by ‘sessionals’ who have no arts advocacy status.  If they “stir the pot”, they are easily replaced by the institution.  A lack of job security affects a sessional’s ability to “push” for the arts. ‘  

 

This group affirmed that provincial arts education curricula are predetermined. However, its members were split on whether the outcomes were “ still quite open to allowing teacher flexibility, or too prescriptive and thus limiting innovative teaching.”  More open curricula could be too overwhelming for new teachers. It was noted that other curriculum documents in other subjects are more prescriptive than those in the arts.

 

Their conclusions, like those of other groups, were that the arts are still being taught in a traditional way and integration is being promoted in multiple universities. Generalist teachers are not expected to be subject specialists and are expected to teach all subject areas. Arts subjects are still siloed. However, innovative teachers are using strategies, in arts and other subjects, to create more trans- disciplinary learning experiences. 

 

The nature of question one prompted the yellow group to make comments directed at big business: “Big business needs to demonstrate greater responsibility and give back in some way (e.g.: 1% of profits back to schools). There is a role for business groups and banks to invest in education. However, their contributions should be subjected to the same over sight and accountability that teachers, schools and boards are held to.”

 

Unlike previous groups, this group felt that education programs are not doing the arts justice. Some of their concerns included the lack of cultural diversity in policy documents as well as the lack of aboriginal material and references. Moreover, arts programmes are geared towards the “generalist” who unfortunately are not “arts specialists” and lack knowledge and skills. They pointed out that teaching critical analysis is not given the place it should have.

 

The Yellow group concluded that countering the ‘walmartization of arts education was best achieved by: solving society’s many social challenges; working more closely with communities; allowing for accreditation outside the school system; working with partners, elders: breaking down barriers/institutional walls; documenting stories; giving a voice to students; placing the school at the heart of the community; encouraging critical thinking and reflection; and more specifically addressing the question of; how can the arts foster real change?   

 

The first statement by the blue group was, “We concluded that arts “products” are already in the education marketplace, and that arts education is being ‘out-sourced." This group asserted that teacher education does not provide generalist teachers with sufficient training or confidence in originating arts initiatives as opposed to buying such services ‘off the shelf’. They pondered the risks of using the “quick fix” solutions of using arts packages, outsourcing, grants, and other services provided to schools and classroom teachers, as opposed to developing meaningful learning activities and partnership between schools and outside arts groups. Generalist teachers are not trained nor do they have the confidence to select or “advocate for original initiatives and projects, when a “professional” (commercial?) alternative is presented.” Decision makers, “principals, board consultants and others who control funding are not necessarily making decisions about arts in the schools with input from the classroom arts practitioners themselves.” This group was concerned about “commercial enterprise outside of the school system dictating practice and influencing expenditures”.  

The practice of outsourcing to other “experts” is like “ticking the box” on report cards. “For example, if a dance artist visits and conducts a workshop, teachers and university professors might be inclined to indicate in their reporting that the dance expectations were achieved. We noted the tendency of classroom teachers who may have little confidence or experience in the arts deferring to a visiting expert, even to the point of opting out of the arts experience and sitting apart doing other work.”  

Another issue is that special interest groups are now making decisions. “Those special interests might be from a particular educator’s own bias, or from a vocal parent group or school council. Sometimes the decisions are driven by time constraints: as when decisions are made quickly by principals who are not arts savvy. Often, marketing and persuasive pitches influence decisions where those making decisions lack knowledge, or where arts policy isn’t clearly in place."

"Teacher education in the arts seems increasingly to be seen as separate, and “siloed”; rather than being an essential component of a teacher’s fundamental training, it is seen by beginning teachers, principals, schools boards and faculties of education, as something better suited to Additional Qualification status. Pre-service teachers seem to be less inclined to choose arts subjects as part of their core training; where arts courses are available, they become electives in some programs. This trend becomes a vicious circle. When fewer teachers enter the profession with arts expertise, arts education in the schools is less likely to be a part of school culture, and more likely to be outsourced 

"In secondary schools, arts education has begun to be seen as the special preserve of arts specialty high schools. Hence, there is a public perception on the part of both students and parents that arts offerings in the local high school or collegiate is of lesser quality than what the regional arts high school might offer. The group wondered if enrollment in arts courses in high schools not designated as arts specialty schools had declined since the introduction of arts specialty schools.“  This situation also leads to less of a perceived need of special art teachers at the secondary level. 

The group also wondered if the economy has influenced the choice of arts electives, at the pre-service level or the selection of arts subjects as in-service concentration. Student teachers often have the perception that academic subjects are “better” and lead to more employment opportunity at all levels.

The red group focused on the fact that, in most provinces (and around the world) curriculum is: prescribed by ministries of education; has a hidden side to it (external influencing factors); is impacted by both the ‘lived curriculum of both teachers and students. These factors need to be addressed when considering the present state of delivery of arts education and the significance of arts education for teachers.

 

Most groups were unanimous in saying that all the arts need to be taught. However, the red group did state that: ‘keeping arts-based learning or creative arts-learning sectioned off as an autonomous discipline, is harmful to the value of the arts. Perhaps we need to face the reality that in an economic based society, the arts aren't considered a priority. Creative learning can influence all disciplines and be incorporated into all aspects of the curriculum, and perhaps that is where the strength of the arts will be.’ 

 

 

Responses to question 2: How do teacher educators work with generalist teacher candidates using whatever expertise they have and increase their inter- disciplinarity with all of the arts? 

 

Question 2 addresses the challenge of teaching generalists candidates/teachers involved in pre-service or in-service training how to acquire artistic skills as well as use their own personal accomplishments/area of expertise to teach the arts.  This requires accessing learned skills and knowledge and applying them to a new area in a significant and meaningful way that will inspire, motivate and be useful to their students.

 

The green group suggested first and foremost not to threaten candidates and secondly provide them with broader skills like an open mind and a willingness to take risks.

 

« Il faut présenter aux futurs enseignants des activités dans les arts qui leur donnent des connaissances et habiletés sans les menacer.  Des activités aussi qui partent de leur vécu et du quotidien. Travailler  l’ouverture d’esprit, l’accompagnement nécessaire pour prendre des risques ainsi que l’engagement et la possibilité de trouver leur voix.

 

La spécialité artistique pour tout intervenants impliqués dans la formation  en générale est difficile à imposer. Un éveil culturel ainsi qu’une appréciation et une connaissance des formes d’art seraient important. Cependant l’apprentissage offert dans les matières artistiques doit être donné par des spécialistes. »

 

One important first step stated by the purple group was to start where the candidates are.” Again, providing a non-threatening and safe environment of trust was suggested as the ideal ambiance for deeper learning .

 

“Play, exploration, non-judgmental experiences build confidence. Candidates are allowed and encouraged to rewrite their narrative (the important role of unlearning prior learnings/teachings in the process of rewriting personal narratives/stories …especially ones that prevent us from entering the creative and artistic process more fully).  Deep learning should be linked to emotional response to be transformative.  Deep arts experiences will promote a deep connection to the arts and a deep and persistent desire to pass this on to future students.”    

 

There is value for candidates to brush up against expertise with teachers.  Master teachers are under-utilized— the laboratory model, both at the university and school levels. Perhaps, greater care needs to be taken to choose “master” associate teachers.

 

There should be stronger partnerships built between professors and associate teachers, as well as professors and community art institutions and artist teachers.  We need to make better use of the expertise available beyond what is provided personally by a single instructor.

 

There is still a disconnect between theory and practice. There is a fundamental distrust between university teaching/approaches and practice teaching experience. To have a more holistic teacher education experience, where the faculty “walks the talk”, all teacher educators need to open up to artistic experiences.  These connect to all subjects and all aspects of life and learning.”

 

This group suggested that arts experience and workshops should be offered to both candidates and all faculty members in order to offer significant learning in the arts and create confidence. Experience is key. They recommended using contemporary art as a starting point to “open up conversation and experiences because it is less “siloed” and more interdisciplinary”. 

 

Members of the yellow group suggested starting with the candidates’ own stories, their interests and cultural connections. One advantage of the arts is that there is no right way to teach and think about the arts.

 

They also concluded that it was important to give candidates a voice; build a common language; learn from one another; build community; learn from one another; and develop a strong collective knowledge base.

 

The blue group acknowledged the need for cultural sensitivity when doing arts work with teacher candidates, and in practicum settings. Arts experience should be made available to everyone. High on the list were experiences in the area of arts work for inquiry, collaboration, play, reflection and discovery.

“In order for generalist teachers, both pre-service and in-service, to enter into arts work and realize the interdisciplinary potential of learning through the arts, and gain confidence in practice, we felt the need to offer them “staged risks” in arts work. We also talked about how arts specialists might serve as a “guide on the side”. A phrase we coined, and used in our talk was that of creating a “safe vulnerability” for generalists and beginners, so that all felt welcomed, capable and inspired in exploring the arts. In addition, we emphasized the importance of these arts experiences connecting to one’s wellness and teacher identity.”

Providing a significant space and place for arts experience for generalists is very important. They suggested that TEA classes working in an alternative setting or just changing the configuration of the regular class setting could be more beneficial and add to the arts experience. “For example, we would suggest moving desks, using community circles, and moving to public spaces or outdoors for arts work.”

Encouraging our arts practitioners and classroom teachers to research and publish their findings as well as exchanges with colleagues at all levels of education, would help shed new light on new strategies and practices.

“We looked at arts learning in terms of curriculum: “covering, recovering, uncovering and discovering”, and what those words might mean for teachers integrating arts into their practice. Unanimously, we agreed that as arts educators, we have the potential to share our knowledge and expertise in play and inquiry. We believe that we could best share our approaches through collaboration and exploration with ALL generalist and pre-service teachers, and that we need to advocate for this understanding with instructors and professors in faculties of education.”

 

Responses to question 3: How can we lead our lives with artistry through arts education?

This question generally refers to the match between our philosophy of teacher arts education and our personal lives.  Living with artistry means imbedding elements of creativity and aesthetic awareness in our everyday lives, professionally and personally.  

 

On the issue of self-reflection research, many participants suggested that we need to emphasize the importance of story in all meaningful research.  Narratives play a vital role in all of our lives and therefore should gain more importance in the gathering and interpretation of research.  This challenges the traditional view of researcher impartiality. In arts education, researcher research impartiality is very difficult, even undesirable.  As with the growing body of research into phenomenology, research in arts education, including TEA, is richer through researcher self-reflection or through ‘art/o/graphy’.  An excellent research tool for this orientation is the Visual Research Notebook (VRN) that facilitates this integrated process.  All of this supports the notion of teaching/learning being primarily a collective enquiry.

    

The general view expressed on multidisciplinarity was that most professors are not only single arts in viewpoint but who in fact tend to specialize in increasing fragments of the single discipline field.  Many suggested that future developments will encourage the reverse of that trend toward greater inter-arts familiarity.  As with other institutions encouraging imagination and creativity, arts education departments in universities should emphasize the mixing of arts instructors so that all may benefit from the specialized knowledge of individuals.  We should create an ambiance of easier sharing of viewpoints and orientation to particular arts, so that a greater general picture of creativity and aesthetic experience emerges.  We should all move to making this mixture intentional in program designs and formatting.   

 

Most responded to the greater push to trans-disciplinarity that will typify all of our future dispositions.  Teachers and teacher educators will need to work at crossing generational lines for open communication and understanding.  We will need to widen our range of enquiry beyond any particular specialization toward a more holistic approach to life.  We will need to contribute to a revival of permanence in an age of flux and temporality.  An example is the heightened awareness and meaning attached to relevant artifacts.  Also, an important imperative is information management.  So, teacher educators must emphasize a greater degree of crucial analysis of the increasingly vast informational silos available through technological advancements.  There is greater pressure for teacher educators to remain current with contemporary developments in knowledge, pedagogy and emerging philosophies.  Because engagement with multiple technologies is so ingrained in the lives of most of our students, teacher educators must find increasing avenues for the integration and separation of ‘being plugged in’ and encountering reality directly.  In addition, as we as a society, rush to specific areas of expertise and experience, teacher educators need to make greater attempts to suggest a holistic orientation to all of these disparate developments.  The question emerges of ‘How do we make deep sense of this all’?  Finally, teacher education institutions need to look more carefully at parallel opportunities for graduates from our arts programs – such as the Artist in Community Education Program at Queen’s University. 

  

 

Responses to question 4:  Can we still teach all of the arts and how do we do this?

Here, respondents considered the ethics of trying to teach all of the arts to pre-service teacher candidates.  Assuming the answer to be affirmative, they then explored options available to achieve that goal in a current world of declining traditional resources.

 

The responses to this issue indicated that there is a close link between general qualities shared by all of the arts and articulated imperatives of the 21st century.  For example, the popular six ‘C’s (Citizenship, Critical thinking, Culture, Communication, Creativity, Connectivity) are embedded within all arts experience.  It may be necessary to look at alternative qualifications for teachers of the arts.  For example, the professional arts world and the potential of community colleges may offer better teacher education opportunities in the arts, than can traditional faculties of education.  Alternatively, faculties of education may need to look at different ways to program the arts within teacher education – for example, as part of a general program of creativity and aesthetic experience. (see the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa – Imagination, Creativity and Innovation Cohort at www.iciuottawa.ca ).

 

The group discussions tended toward a heightened emphasis on collaboration, time to require formally planned time built into a professor timetable and the provision of time and space to permit, indeed, to invite collegial cross-disciplinary engagement. Mandating equal instructional time for all of the arts can facilitate this process.   

 

It is clear that in Canada, there are increasingly few tenure-track positions specific to any aspect of arts education, being offered.  It is evident that arts education does not have sufficient importance within university hiring structures, to warrant the expense and commitment to tenured professor positions.  So, other options must be explored.

      

 

Conclusions:

 

  1. A.   The Problem

 

To the extent that teacher education priorities mirror those of the general education sector, it seems that teacher education in the arts (TEA) faces the same kind of ‘best business practices’  pressures that confront all of education.  Generally, arts education has a low profile in general public education.  TEA is similarly situated in priority at most faculties of education and within most delivery models.

 

The opinions expressed at Roundtable 2015 complemented most official government documents concerned with arts education and TEA.  The problems are with priority and models of implementation.  Education and TEA face the same central issue. Cost. To meet financial restraints, many faculties attempt to borrow cost saving measures from the private sector including ‘outsourcing’ program implementation to external ‘experts’ who can deliver more cheaply than internal models within each faculty.  So, for example, dance education requirements are often offered at faculties of education through hired artists and/or outside animators, at single session or group session contract cost.  This is much cheaper than such programs offered by tenured professors of dance.  The same pressure is faced by the requirements to ‘cover’ all of the arts.  Participants noted that in this model, urban centres are often better served than rural locations.  Hence, the resonance of the ‘Walmartization’ image in TEA. 

 

The financial restraint pressure is continued with the lack of replacement hiring of tenured professors to possible positions in the arts.  Instead, positions are filled by the most economical means which include sessional appointments, part-time professors, graduate candidates and part-time school board secondments.  These methods provide ‘coverage’ of those arts classes required by provincial directive, but long term commitment for program development and  input into faculty of education vision, is correspondingly reduced.  To put it simply, these hiring practices eliminate an arts voice at decision making junctures in any future program directions.  This issue has been particularly acute in Ontario in 2015 –16, as the government has radically transformed teacher education throughout the province, with much weaker arts voices at the table of change.  This has resulted in radical program change to the detriment of almost all aspects of traditional arts education implementation in faculties of education.       

 

There remains a separate concern with candidates applying to be qualified secondary specialist teachers.  In recent years, in Ontario, there has been a marked decline in applications to teach specialty courses in the arts.  This problem is particular severe in dance, where in Ontario, there is only one faculty of education offering dance at the pre-service level.  But, it also affects drama, music and visual arts. The universities feel squeezed by low registration for these courses so they simply cannot afford to offer the arts specialty courses any more.  Some attempts at integration and combining disciplines have generally met steep resistance at the secondary level, as qualifications are seen to be very specific to each arts discipline with distinct pedagogical skill sets.  It may be that at the secondary level, courses in the arts will need to experiment with common core features as do those in elementary levels.  Otherwise, separate courses may be increasingly prohibitive for faculties to offer because of cost.

 

  1. Possible Solutions :

 

So, where can we begin to address some of the above issues?  Many participants suggested structuring pre-service generalist course in such a way that candidates can feel most confident in revealing their own creative//aesthetic abilities and insights.  If these classes, regardless of subject content, are unfolded in such a way as to engender individual and collective trust, to feel individual and collective willingness to take risks and be vulnerable and to feel valued as individuals and members of the group, then opportunities for personal transcendence in creativity/aesthetic experience will much more likely happen in deep and meaningful ways.  If candidates get such rewarding rich experiences, they are much more likely to value parallel experiences for their own future students.  Hence, the door to the arts is more likely to not only be opened but for those future teachers to guide and encourage their own students to enter the world of play, imagination, creativity and the arts, collectively and specifically. 

 

To further support the above, participants recommended that greater care be taken to choose associate teachers who value creativity and aesthetic experience in their own classrooms and that greater efforts should be taken to foster mentor/apprenticeship teacher education models in the field.  Finally, it was strongly recommended that faculties of education develop closer bonds between professors and associate teachers as well as contacts with relevant community recourses.  As part of this vision, participants recommended that all faculty professors, regardless of discipline specificity, gain meaningful personal arts experiences themselves.   

 

In relation to the general question, participants emphasized the overall fusion of life to include balances between arts/social justice; partnerships with the local and wider community; greater encouragement for participation in accessible arts in the every- day world; greater participant equality in arts directed activity; engaging with community, children, parents, colleagues and local resources; seeing the arts as a unity.  We need to encourage all teacher candidates, at whatever level, to view the effective practices of the arts to be legitimate research avenues and to know that aesthetic experience in education is a valuable area of research and graduate study. All candidates must confront the arts in education, in a variety of ways, particularly to understand their value to education as a whole.  This requires professors and mentors to have a parallel skill set and to have harmonious beliefs and practices in their own work. 

 

How do we achieve the necessity of teaching all of the arts equally in teacher education?  It is a question of equity and morality.  By arts, participants meant dance, drama, literary arts, media, music and visual arts.  All alternative-funding possibilities should be explored for TEA, including community foundations, crowd funding, and contributions from the private sector featuring creative and innovative partnerships. In order to do this, we need to make the arts easily seen to be fundamental to the human condition.  This implies that all of us in faculties of education and with providers of all in-service opportunities for teachers, distill the essential elements of our increasing blur in all of life, to find meaningful moments to contemplate the manifest significance, individually and collectively, of us all.          

 

 

New Directions:

 

The following statements/questions emerge as guiding themes for consideration for future directions that the NRTEA can profitably explore:

 

1.The final activity explored at the NGC involved various groups exploring the establishment of an alternative institution dealing with teacher education in the arts. Each group was assigned a specific aspect of developing such an experience by dealing with: developing a mission statement, a mandate, a staffing policy, a budget, student criteria, curriculum….  This activity pointed to great insights but also underscored the need for more of a holistic approach to future planning in this area. By using system modelling perhaps we could develop new insights into what variables would have the most impact and offer the most possibilities for better teacher education in the arts.

 

 

2.  We need to explore alternative delivery vehicles to the traditional faculty of education for pre-service candidates.  For example, what roles might be played by a co-ordinated utilization of teacher-artists, community institutions, both arts and others, as well as other partners such as master teachers, teaching internship schools and other intern models?

 

3. What alternative models exist in faculties of education that seek to embed the arts into foundation teacher education programming in different orientations to the traditional TEA structure?

 

4. Are there more imaginative ways to fund TEA at pre-service levels?

 

5. What are the fundamental principles of all arts education that could be offered in imaginative ways with different relationships to other teacher education concepts?