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Educators gather for Arts Integration workshop

by Adrienne Teague, University Relations Intern

Teachers and school administrative personnel from all over the eastern United States were met with enthusiasm at the annual workshop of the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA), held recently at Battle Academy in Chattanooga.

Karen Hesse, award winning
children's author, leads the
teachers in a discussion on
children's literature.

SCEA, located at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has pioneered research in discipline-based dance, music, theatre and visual art education. Its mission is to get teachers excited about arts education.

Kim Wheetley, SCEA Director, and his staff of acclaimed field directors hosted a captivating educational experience for teachers. The SCEA workshop is designed to instruct teachers and administrators how to build and administer the learning experience in the classroom using arts integration.

“This workshop is amazing. A lot the teachers here are first timers to the arts integration process, and being here really opens your mind to the creative arts environment you need to have in the classroom,” said Robert Foster of Durwoody Springs Charter in Atlanta, Georgia.

From left: Brenda Wheat from The
University of North Carolina, and her
partner join their classmates in a
"Follow the Leader" movement exercise.

Arts integration is a complement to traditional arts instruction that affirms relevance of the arts in the school curriculum. Students are able to apply the knowledge learned in one area to challenges in another. By combining the knowledge from different disciplines, students perform better academically, on standardized tests, and in life.

Millicent St. Claire (middle) and
partner are coached by SCEA
Dance Instructor, Kathy
DeJean (right), on the art of
teaching dance in the classroom.

The workshop was split into four classes each day, consisting of visual art, music, dance, and theatre. Teachers were able to become the students during these classes. They participated in activities ranging from musical score accompaniments to children’s literature, interpretive movements in relation to character emotion, theatrical still life depiction of illustrations, and contrasting drawings of characters’ points of view.

“It is so beneficial for teachers to become the students so that we can experience what our students have to go through. It is essential that educators understand the process of being educated,” said Susanne Mikalsen, music teacher at Durwoody Springs Charter in Atlanta.

Becky Young, Mineral Springs Middle in
Winston-Salem, NC and partner Jodi Brown,
Filmore Central Middle School, practice
mirroring exercises in their dance class.

The group was also treated to a guest appearance from Newberry Award- winning author, Karen Hesse. Workshop presenters devoted an entire day to integrating the arts using several of Hesse’s books for young readers. Such works as C’mon Rain and The Music of Dolphins were the topics of discussion in the dance and music classes.

In addition to a Karen Hesse autograph, teachers were able to take away valuable tips that will aid them in their classrooms. “I have learned a lot of useful advice, and I am going to take it back and use it in my classroom,” said Sean Hogan, a teacher at Wallace A. Smith Elementary in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

Mary Byars, Allen Elementary
School, is busy sketching a
scene from a children's novel.

Before teachers and administrators parted the workshop with anticipation for the coming school year, SCEA Music Director Susanne Burgess reminded them that the arts enhance the process so that there is meaning to the product, giving students something to say.

“Until we give our children the act of expression, we have only given them another activity,” Burgess said.

SCEA workshop presenters were: Joel Baxley, SCEA Director of Visual Art Education; Susanne Burgess, SCEA Director of Music Education; Kathy DeJean SCEA Workshop Dance Facilitator; and Scott Rosenow, SCEA Director of Theatre Education.

For further information about The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, contact Kim Wheetley, or call (423)425-5205.

June 24, 2005

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