Karen McClellan, Director and Artist Educator,
Arts Can Teach
Arts Can Teach offers a program in schools that facilitates artist-teacher collaborations in all subject areas. The artists are in dance/creative movement; puppetry; drumming; visual arts; music. Arts Can Teach also partners with local organizations to develop programs to engage and support newcomer Canadians as well as Windsor Essex multicultural and francophone communities. Karen’s vision for Arts Can Teach recognizes the importance of collaborative efforts between teachers and artists to incorporate and expand students’ classroom experience to include the arts across various subject areas.
Fautley and Savage (2010) observe that teachers have “found cross-curricularity to be a vital, driving aspect of their work in recent years” (p. 1). Moreover, Cope and Kalantzis (2002) state, “multimodal channels of meaning [are] now so important to communication” (p. 2). When teachers engage their students in multimodal means of teaching and learning, it allows them to engage in topics more deeply and from a variety of angles. For example, introducing dance in a literacy or science classroom can help enable students to think about movement as a mode for storytelling, or it allows them to think about their body as a fluid system that allows various movements during dance. In addition, working with an artist to introduce dance in the classroom encourages teachers and students who may be shy or feel like dance is outside of their comfort level to actively participate in a classroom environment that bridges between dance literacy, written and oral storytelling, and spatial literacy.
Karen also speaks about introducing and using music in literacy classrooms. Music is a mode of literacy that can inspire stories and enhance storytelling. Together, music, writing, drama, and dance are some of the possible modes that when combined can be illuminating and exciting and give learning new dimensions. Listen below as Karen articulates the benefits of artist-teacher collaborations within schools.
Check out Arts Can Teach website link here: https://www.artscanteach.ca/about/