A national Arts & Education Forum: Arts Integration and Teacher Change held in the UTC University Center brought together 50 professional development providers from 12 states, including K-12 and university teachers, administrators, and artists. The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) hosted the event.
“It was a rare opportunity to brainstorm on important issues with teachers and administrators having such a broad array of experiences. I will be incorporating several ideas into our operations,” said Oren Slozberg, Executive Director, Visual Thinking Strategies, New York City.
Participating organizations included: Hamilton County Schools, Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, San Francisco Symphony, Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC, Young Playwrights of New York City, Visual Arts Thinking Strategies of New York City and Young Audiences National Administration. Those present considered dilemmas encountered in providing effective professional development in arts integration.
“The dilemma discussions were constructive and insightful. It was truly an educational retreat. I loved my first visit to Chattanooga and look forward to returning,” said Frances McGarry, Director of Instruction, Young Playwrights, New York City.
Persuading and enabling teachers to change their practice involves understanding how adults learn best and how they embrace or resist change. Keynote sessions were led by Katie Dawson, Bridget Lee, and Dr. Stephanie Cawthon from The University of Texas at Austin. They reviewed research, issues, and strategies for adult learning and teacher change applicable to arts integration.
The Forum differed from conferences where program overviews and success stories are showcased. Instead, educators shared personal narratives describing situations and problems they have encountered in designing and implementing professional development. SCEA directors Kim Wheetley, Susanne Burgess, Joel Baxley, and Marissa Nesbit posed questions to frame discussions and concluded sessions with summaries of key points that participants might incorporate into their practice.
A reception was held Friday evening at the Hunter Museum of American Art, providing participants with an opportunity to view the Museum’s diverse collection.