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Examining Our Own Teaching Practices: How much classroom time is being taken up by "Teacher Talk?"

Have you ever sat through a course or in-service training where the instructor or facilitator talked at you for the majority of the time? How long did it take for you to zone out? How much of the information do you think you retained? That answer will vary depending on where you are stronger in the Multiple Intelligences. If you are stronger in linguistic intelligence, then you may have gotten something out of it, but if you are stronger in spatial or bodily-kinesthetic, then you may have gotten little or nothing from it.

Now think of this in terms of your own classroom. Are you teaching to the different intelligences of the students who are sitting in your room or are you primarily teaching to the linguistic?
Thomas Armstrong in his book Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom cites John Goodlad's "A Study in Schooling" project which puts "teacher talk" at taking up "nearly 70 percent of classroom time." Something to ponder as we move forward.

One of th…

References for Rationale

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Diaz, D., & McKenna, M. B. (Eds.). (2004). Teaching for the aesthetic experience: The art of learning. New York, N.Y.: Peter Lang.

Edwards, L., & Nabors, M. (1993, March). The creative arts process: What it is andwhat it is not. Young Children, 77-81.

Frostig, K. (2006). The permeable classroom or the tilted arc revisited. Journal of Social Theory in Art Education. 26 (1), 174-196.

Goldberg, M. (1997). Art as knowing: A methodology for learning. Boston: Pearson Education.

Jensen, E. (2001). Arts with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Verlee-Williams, L. (1983). Teaching for the two sided mind. Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster.

Rationale: Part Three: Why We Should Teach the Arts

Why teach the arts in our schools? Why is it essential that school systems as well as individual classroom teachers make the arts an integral part of the curriculum for students at all grade levels? In short, an important outcome of education is for students to be aware of, to be enriched by, and to appreciate the shared human experience within the diversity of a multi-cultural world. That is, the desired outcomes of education must go beyond simple recall and identification. Rather, students must be trained to be independent, critical thinkers and problem solvers who can tap their creative and imaginative potential. Such outcomes cannot be realized if the arts modalities are not used in teaching. After all, the visual and performing arts, music, and literature teach us most profoundly about the human condition. Using the arts to teach children of all ages makes sense because the arts appeal to the multiple intelligences, the arts are a universal tool for communicating, the arts encour…

Rationale Part Two: Awakening Imaginations and Energizing our Classrooms

Another reason for integrating the arts is that they appeal to all of the multiple intelligences. They are a method of getting away from the one size fits all teaching mentality of simply focusing on the linguistic intelligence and branching out to reach all students. Teachers must reach “beyond the text and the blackboard to awaken student’s minds” (Armstrong, 2000, p. 39). This idea connects to the earlier argument regarding teaching to the whole child. It is not difficult to find out which intelligences are stronger in each child in a classroom. This can be done through simple questioning, or trying varied activities. It can also be discovered through watching how students “misbehave in class. The strongly linguistic student will be talking out of turn, the highly spatial student will be doodling and daydreaming, the interpersonally inclined student will be socializing, the bodily-kinesthetic student will be fidgeting…” (Armstrong, 2000, p. 21) and the list goes on. The point is th…

Rationale Part One: The arts let you "see inside of somebody."

It is clear that our schools need to do a better job of educating the whole child. In that vein, there is real need to move away from a content-based approach and focus on a student-based approach. We, as teachers, need to get to know our students from all sides so that we can tailor our teaching directly to them. As a young student named Noel says in Cohen and Gainer’s 1987 book Art:Another Language for Learning “Art lets you see inside of somebody” (as cited in Edwards & Nabors, 1993, p. 80). This is a statement that really lingers for me and colors my teaching methods. Through integrating the arts, we get the chance to really see our students, and they get the chance to really see themselves and others in the class as well as us.

We need to get away from overloading our students with content; the day has long passed when one person could know everything there was to know in the world. As Eric Jensen says in his book Arts With the Brain in Mind, “Filling the brain with knowledge…