Typhani Harris | November 2016

Arts Education: Philosophy vs Practice

Why do you teach the arts? As an Instructional Coach, I try to remain unbiased when coaching teachers; I understand that philosophies differ and therefore my coaching must be tailored to each individual.  Recently, while coaching a new Arts teacher, I encountered the juxtaposition of Arts Education: Philosophy vs Practice, and it made me curious as to how often we consciously align our philosophies with our practice.  Thus began this research.

Join us as we embark on a little research journey on Arts Education: Philosophy vs Practice

I am curious as to how we can determine and ensure that our arts education philosophies are present in our arts education practice.  For the next couple of weeks, we are going to take a look at our personal philosophies and analyze the influence of these beliefs on our practice.

So far, in my research of art education philosophies, I have yet to come across the philosophy of merely creating the next great artistMost philosophies encompass ideas of helping students to:

  • share their thoughts and feelings,
  • live fuller lives,
  • create their own definitions of beauty,
  • thinking and feeling for others,
  • believe in the impossible.

Of all the philosophies I have read, there has been nothing pertaining to sole mastery of the skill.  Arts educators find value in the transfer of artistic concepts and beliefs into a better understanding of our world.  We need the best way to articulate these ideas as it is no secret that we are often pushed aside.  This led to my curiosity of how this plays out in the classroom and what we can do to encourage these philosophies.  I further question:

  1. Do arts education and art educators consciously align their philosophy with their practice?
  2. How can art educators ensure they align their philosophy with their practice?

Next, I began a search to find quantitative or qualitative tools that can help us to determine our personal philosophies and then another tool that will help us to determine whether or not we follow our philosophies within our practices.  Unfortunately, I could not find adequate tools to decipher this information, so as any artist would…I have decided to create my own.

To begin this research, I would love to know your philosophy of arts education.  So, this week I am asking for brave souls to share their philosophies with our arts education community.  Please share your thoughts below, they will not be made public without your permission, but they will help me decide the direction to take next.  Please also share with fellow arts educators, the more input the more accurate our findings.

Next week we will share some of these philosophies and discuss what this would look like in practice.

The following week, everyone will be invited to complete a survey to help define your arts education philosophy.  It is so important to know your beliefs so that they can become the foundation of your work.

Finally, I will share the results and make some conclusions, as well as provide a tool that will help you to align your philosophy with your practice.

I ask that you share this journey with the art educators in your lives in hopes to build strong arts educators across the country.

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Chief Academics Officer, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.