Educators - High School

List of Studies

Professional Outcomes

  • Increased Instructional Capacity. Studies find that high school teachers at arts-rich schools display more dynamic approaches in their teaching. In the A+ schools in Oklahoma, for example, teachers’ teaching became more effective and innovative when implementing arts integrated instruction in their classrooms (Barry, 2010). They employed creative and focused instruction in an environment that was flexible and supportive of the integration of the arts. In another study, through partnership with teaching visual and performing artists in their classroom, high school English language arts teachers enhanced their capacity to engage English language learners and help them to develop literacy skills (Stevenson & Deasy, 2005).
  • Professional Learning. Research finds that long-term, in-depth, arts-based professional development increases high school teachers’ skills and knowledge in the arts. In two studies, for example, teachers who experienced this kind of professional development acquired new perspectives on teaching, explored new media, made connections to prior experiences, and increased their willingness to take risks (Bellisario & Donovan, 2012; Upitis et al, 1999). Studies also find that teaching artists who collaborate with teachers to implement arts integrated instruction, experience positive impacts on their own artwork. In one study, their participation in arts integrated instruction not only strengthened their individual studio practice, but also changed their beliefs about the benefits of the arts for students and broadened their perceptions of the issues teachers face in their work (Upitis, 2005). 

Personal Outcomes

  • Teacher Engagement and Retention. Research finds that high school teachers who teach in and through the arts are more engaged in their teaching and experience increased enthusiasm for their profession leading to their decreased absenteeism. Studies find that teaching through the arts pushes and enables teachers to try new things resulting in increased excitement about and joy in teaching. In one study, the arts-based professional development provided in the A+ arts-centered whole school reform model increased teachers’ self-efficacy and confidence and led them to be happier in their profession (Barry, 2010). Research also finds that teachers and artists who engage in cultural partnerships in schools derive happiness and satisfaction when engaging in arts activities with students. In one study, teacher-artist partnerships led to meaningful and reciprocal teaching and learning experiences for both teachers and artists (Cote, 2009). Both felt enriched on multiple levels when encouraging cultural growth and understanding with students.
  • Self-Awareness. Teachers who participate in long-term arts-based professional development and integrate the arts into their curricula discovered qualities and capabilities about themselves which over time led to their ability to make personal connections to prior experiences through art, help them to develop new ways of seeing, and in some cases, lead them to pursue their own art work (Upitis et al., 1999). In another study, through arts-based professional development, teachers discovered unknown artistic capacities, developed the ability to see social issues from multiple perspectives and became inspired to reinvent themselves as teachers (Bellisario & Donovan, 2012).
  • Risk-Taking. At arts rich schools, teachers provide more creative and focused instruction and take risks in their classrooms. In some cases, inspired by in-depth arts-based professional development, teachers pursued their own art and took risks by sharing their work with their class, a move that inspired students to pursue their own art (Barry, 2010; Upitis et al., 1999).