Evaluation of professional development in the use of arts-integrated activities with mathematics content: Findings about program implementation
Ludwig, M., Song, M., Kouyate-Tate, A. F., Cooper, J., Phillips, L., & Greenbaum, S. (2014). Evaluation of professional development in the use of arts-integrated activities with mathematics content: Findings about program implementation. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 10(1).
Researchers designed a qualitative study to evaluate the program design and implementation of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Arts Institute for Early Childhood Learning’s professional development (PD) program. The program prepares pre-K and kindergarten teachers seeking to infuse their mathematics instruction with the performing arts in an approach known as arts integration, and consists of summer institutes led by trained teaching artists and school year residencies that pair teachers with artists for coaching and collaborative instruction. Researchers found that the Wolf Trap program demonstrated features of effective PD and did so with fidelity to its planned model.
Researchers found that the Wolf Trap PD program demonstrated six features of high-quality PD that have been previously shown to influence teacher practice and student learning.
- Form: The program included training for teaching artists, a summer institute, and coaching.
- Focus on content: The program built on teachers’ pre-existing mathematics and early childhood education expertise by focusing primarily on infusing arts-integrated strategies into mathematics instruction.
- Active learning: The program allowed teachers to engage in six elements of active learning: observing demonstrations, practicing what they’ve learned and receiving feedback, leading group discussions, leading demonstrations, developing and practicing using student materials, and reviewing student work or scoring assessments.
- Coherence: The program was consistent with district mathematics standards.
- Duration: The program included 101 hours of PD per participating teacher per year.
- Collective participation: The program opened participation to all Pre-K and K teachers at participating schools, although not all eligible teachers participated and some did not continue for the entirety of the program.
Researchers also found that the program exhibited a high degree of fidelity to its planned educational model thanks to a strong collaborative relationship with the district, a culture of continuous improvement, and ample training and support for the teaching artists.