Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Dancer or the Dance?

A recent article in Education Week trumpets "Schools Integrate Dance into Core Academics".

Hurrah...I think.

I mean, yet again, we are presented with a shining example of Teaching Artists working extremely hard to prove the art's worth and value as a tool to augment a failing educational system’s “core” curriculum.

But Arts Integration works! 


If we can change nothing else, I propose we at least change the term “arts integration” to ARTIST INTEGRATION.

Let's give credit where credit is due.

Is it the art, or the ARTIST that makes the difference?

Is it the DANCER or the Dance?

Is it our art-form that increases levels of student engagement and makes for a better learning environment, or is it us?

Maybe these Teaching Artists are just good teachers?

Perhaps our habits of mind, and the fact that art is a form of communication, make some of us really effective in the classroom?

If the thing formerly known as arts integration is effective, then perhaps  students in teacher training programs should be studying how Teaching Artists operate? We could model best practices.

Also: US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urges states to cut expensive masters degree bonus programs from the budget. According to an Associated Press article  “Duncan told the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday that master's degree bonuses are an example of spending money on something that doesn't work.” At the same event, billionaire Bill Gates said "My own state of Washington has an average salary bump of nearly $11,000 for a master's degree - and more than half of our teachers get it. That's more than $300 million every year that doesn't help kids.”

OMG. I thought they wanted us to enter the world of higher education. I'm so confused!

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