I have conducted a survey in my school district on arts integration and have discovered that there is a real interest in it! I invited all elementary teachers to participate and as of this blog date, 31 have completed the survey. At this point, I can account for the results as only a “dipstick” of the attitudes and practices of the arts in our district.
There are some roadblocks, however… the top two being time (71%) and curriculum demands (61%), followed by money (45%).
My colleagues, I am proud to say, see and understand the importance of the arts. The vast majority of the participants considering the arts, in general important (85%) and each individual art form questioned (visual, movement/dance, music, poetry, drama, storytelling, technology/media), was also seen as important by the majority. At the top of the list was music (79%), visual arts (72%) and poetry (76%). No art form was seen as unimportant and the only ones that were even considered as “somewhat unimportant” were movement/dance, drama and technology/media all ranging at a mere 3-4% in that category. All other percentages to be accounted for were in the “somewhat important” category.
As for integration, my colleagues who participated in the survey again showed their belief in at least some arts integration by reporting that a majority conduct all of the arts (except drama) on a weekly or daily basis. However, the percentages are not astounding: Visual Arts (48% weekly), movement/dance (27% weekly), music (45% daily), poetry (31% weekly), drama (24% monthly), storytelling (35% weekly), technology/media (41% weekly).
My colleagues are also interested in professional development opportunities in the arts! The majority were interested in opportunities in all art forms, but the highest percentages were for visual arts and music (76%) and poetry (72%). The other options were “no interest” or “not sure”. A couple of participants took the time to comment that the reason for indicating that they were disinterested in these opportunities was TIME – either because of other curriculum demands or personal obligations outside of school.
When asked, “If you were given time to collaborate more this other teachers in the area of arts integration, would you?” The majority replied YES (72%), the rest said Maybe and no one said no! (There is opportunity here!!!)
Please note that this survey time frame is not over and once I have more completed surveys, I will update the information.
Also,along with surveying classroom, special ed, and reading teachers, I conducted a separate survey for arts teachers and specialists. These results will be reported in a separate blog…
I am an artist in residence at an elementary school.
I have funding to offer the program free to the school.
The principle has emailed all the teachers inviting them to contact me.
It has been several weeks and none have.
I wonder if you have any suggestions for jump-starting my program?
I understand that the teachers are busy and may feel reluctant to take on what may seem like a time commitment to them.
I taught at the school last year to create school wide year end performance with all the classes and also did several programs with a few willing teachers.
All feedback was really great. The principle is very complementary of my work.
I look forward to any guidance you may have to offer.
It sounds like you have all the ducks in a row – even funding, but it’s just that the teachers are concerned to invest the time. As a teacher I know how hard it is to commit to something especially when there are new initiatives all the time. Here are some of my suggestions.
~ Follow up, follow up, follow up! It seems like the teachers all know you and respect you and your program. Sometimes emails, etc get forgotten and a reminder is all that’s needed.
~Go visit. Doing some follow up in person may be great. If you already have a rapport with the teachers they will gladly welcome you. Give them a heads up first, of course. Maybe you could visit during lunches if you think you might be too intrusive visiting classrooms.
~Wait until after the holidays. I don’t mean don’t contact them for the next few months, but maybe have some start date in January with a information meeting earlier sometime in early December. You could hold it before school, right after school, during a lunch period or even at night (with dinner/snacks?). This time of year is CRAZY for everyone, so respecting that is crucial.
You know that what you did was a positive experience and certainly all the teachers will remember that. It’s all about pressure and time. Teachers always feel under the gun to meet standards and complete assessments. The more you can do to make it easy for them to participate, the better. Once you get a core group, though, things will certainly start to soar.
Good luck and PLEASE let us know how things progress!
P.S. Are you able to say where you are working?
I would love to see your survey questions. I am working on my PhD with my dissertation titled Teacher’s perception of arts integration and am working on a survey for my data results.
I would love to share the questions with you! Here is a link to the Survey Monkey I used: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NT2T79R I hope you let us know how things go and if you are interested in writing a post for The Inspired Classroom detailing your experience and findings, that would be great. Just let me know!