When teachers become musicians and artists: Teacher transformation and professional development
Upitis, R., Smithrim, K. & Soren, B.J. (1999). When teachers become musicians and artists: Teacher transformation and professional development. Music Education Research, 1, 23-35.
This study describes the results of two Canadian teacher professional development programs designed to improve participants’ artistic knowledge and skills. One professional development program was a school-based model in partnership with performing arts organizations and museums, and included a summer institute, workshops, and a teacher research project. The other professional development program was in partnership with local musicians and included all staff from a school who participated in music and visual arts workshops and conducted individual learning projects. Researchers analyzed data collected over a period of two years through surveys, observations, focus groups, and research reports. The researchers analyzed data using a research-based matrix that mapped the conditions necessary for the program to have impact on the teachers. Findings show that both programs affected participants’ skills and knowledge of the arts and helped some teachers (but not the majority) experience a deep transformation that affected their personal and professional lives, and will likely be sustained.
Researchers developed a “transformation matrix” with three primary categories: (1) necessary conditions for transformation, (2) potential for sustained transformation, and (3) operationalized long-term transformation. Both professional development programs helped some teachers experience a deep transformation that affected their personal and professional lives, and will likely be sustained. However, consistent with the literature, this was not the case for the majority of teachers. For the school-based model, four of 20 teachers were classified as having a long-term transformation; transformation data for the other model was not provided. Although not all teachers experience such a long-term transformation, both professional development programs increased teachers’ artistic knowledge and skills. The effects of the program were still evident in some participants two years after program participation.