Federal regulation such as No Child Left Behind is placing heavy pressure on teachers to help students pass standardized tests, and many educators are concerned that including arts instruction in school may take precious time away from such preparation. The result: a decrease in arts education.
To help address this problem, this year's Arts Express Summer Conference for Elementary Educators, “The Reflecting Pool: Assessment in the Arts,” will be held at Timberland Middle School in Alpine, Utah, June 14 and 15 hosted by the Brigham Young University ARTS Partnership.
Teachers, parents, administrators and school volunteers are invited to hear keynote speaker Deb Brzoska, a performing artist at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center and a nationally recognized leader in arts assessment, to learn about some of the issues involved in elementary arts education. Arts instruction and integration classes will be offered in dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts.
In addition, the conference will welcome acclaimed pianist Jon Schmidt for a guest concert featuring his original compositions. For more information, call Cally Flox at (801) 422-6146 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, visit education.byu.edu/arts.
Without the arts, students will lose opportunities to connect to deeper feelings and emotions, say conference organizers.
“Society changes so quickly that children are being prepared for jobs that don’t yet exist,” said Cally Flox, arts director for CITES, the BYU Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling. “Creativity, innovation, and problem-solving are the most important skills we can give them for their futures. The arts provide a practical way to develop those skills.”
“Our conference gives teachers practical strategies and skills for providing arts instruction and integration in their classrooms,” Flox said. “We’re meeting a critical need for children to have access to the arts.”
The BYU ARTS Partnership, which is sponsored by BYU's David O. McKay School of Education and the College of Fine Arts and Communications, was formed to ensure the continuation of arts education in schools by (1) exposing students to arts experiences and (2) integrating the arts into curriculum.
The ARTS Partnership encourages educators to help students see the beauty and creativity in the fine arts, thus increasing their understanding and appreciation for their culture. Developing arts skills at an early age creates opportunities for developing excellence in fine arts and for expanding and personalizing other curricular areas through experiencing arts integrated into a variety of contexts.
Go to education.byu.edu/arts/arts_express/past.html for a review of past conferences, including video.
Writer: Roxanna Johnson