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Building ArtsSmarts' Research Capacity: An Interim Report

December 1, 2007

In 2006, the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) created an initiative to build Canada's capacity to conduct research on learning, inviting not-for profit organizations to apply for Researcher in Residence grants. ArtsSmarts was one of the successful grant applicant organizations. Saad Chahine was hired by ArtsSmarts to take on the researcher-in-residence role. Several meetings resulted in the development of a work plan (Appendix A) and an outline of the various activities to be carried out by the researcher-in-residence. The work plan was approved by CCL, and the residency commenced in June 2007. What follows is an interim report on the residency, documenting what has been accomplished since June 2007, and providing direction for continuing to build ArtsSmarts' research capacity going forward.

Developper la capacite de recherche de GenieArts: rapport provisoire

December 1, 2007

En 2006, le Conseil canadien sur l'apprentissage (CCA) a mis sur pied un programme en vue de developper la capacite du Canada d'effectuer de la recherche sur l'apprentissage, invitant les organismes sans but lucratif a demander un financement de chercheur en residence. GenieArts a compte parmi les organismes dont la demande de financement a ete retenue. GenieArts a embauche Saad Chahine comme chercheur en residence. Plusieurs reunions avec la directrice generale de GenieArts, Annalee Adair, et sa directrice de these de doctorat, Lorna Earl, Ph.D., d'Aporia Consulting Ltd., ont donne lieu a l'elaboration d'un plan de travail (annexe A) et a un canevas des differentes activites a realiser par le chercheur en residence. Le CCA a approuve ce plan de travail et la periode de residence a commence en juin 2007. Le texte qui suit constitue un rapport provisoire sur la residence, documentant ce qui a ete realise depuis juin 2007 et indiquant l'orientation a adopter pour continuer de developper la capacite de recherche de GenieArts.

Deconstructing Engagement: A First Generation Report on the ArtsSmarts Student Engagement Questionnaire

October 12, 2007

During the school year 2006-2007, ArtsSmarts representatives collaborated with Karen Hume to design a questionnaire to measure students' engagement before and after ArtsSmarts programs. The questionnaire was administered to a large number of students who were being taught by an ArtsSmarts team comprised of an artist and a teacher. ArtsSmarts uses an innovative approach to arts integration, by allowing the self construction of programming in classrooms; and by acting as a facilitator in providing resources for artists and teachers teams develop programming for students in their classrooms. This programming develops a context where student learning and engagement in tasks and activities can take place. ArtsSmarts does not dictate this creative process; rather, it plays a supportive role in acting as a reference point for the teacher-artist teams to rely on. This approach not only allows for the innovation to evolve organically from the generation of the artist-teacher teams to student interaction, but also excites the creative learning process within the classroom. This report is a summary of the results from this first administration of the ArtsSmarts Student Engagement Questionnaire (i.e., first generation). The overall purpose of this report is firstly to examine student engagement, and secondly to examine the quality of the questionnaire, for further refinements. This report has three areas of focus: 1. To summarize the responses of students who completed the questionnaire.2. To compare student engagement before and after intervention.3. To identify strengths and weakness in the questionnaire for further revisions.

Engaged in Learning: The ArtsSmarts Model

February 5, 2007

Approximately a dozen internal research studies into student learning and program effectiveness were conducted during ArtsSmarts' first eight years. In the spring of 2006, we compiled the results of those studies, along with a like number of reports by outside researchers, to create a synthesis of possible directions for future work. Although we used a small sample of available outside studies, it was immediately and glaringly evident that the arts and educational communities are hungering for research that will "help us understand what the arts learning experience is for children, and what characteristics of that experience are likely to travel across domains of learning" (Deasy, 2002:99). It was equally evident to all ArtsSmarts partners that, while future ArtsSmarts research could be taken in any number of directions, it made the most sense to identify and build from ArtsSmarts' own strengths and successes. We also felt the need to align the research direction and the methods of data collection with our intended audiences.Different groups would find different aspects of ArtsSmarts compelling, and distinctly different types of data would be required for each. Partners identified educators (teachers, administrators, and senior Board office personnel) as the audience they most wanted to reach.With that in mind, the decision was made to develop a theory of learning that would serve the dual purposes of explaining ArtsSmarts' impact in Canadian classrooms and framing the research work of the next few years. We felt that establishing an ArtsSmarts theory of learning would help to answer the question, "If ArtsSmarts didn't exist, what would be lost?" Further, a theory of learning would assist teachers, artists and partners in identifying key, essential components of the ArtsSmarts experience, and would also prevent ArtsSmarts from being viewed as a pleasant but unnecessary add-on to classroom activity. The paper that follows develops an ArtsSmarts theory of learning centred on the concept of student engagement.

Walking Tall in the Hall: A Mapping Review of ArtsSmarts Projects in Aboriginal Settings Across Canada

December 1, 2006

The objective of this mapping review is to provide a 'snapshot' of the impacts of a variety of ArtsSmarts projects on teachers, students, and communities in 15 off-reserve Aboriginal communities. Research was conducted between April 1 and August 30, 2006 using surveys, interviews, focus groups, document review and selected site visits. The projects themselves were undertaken at both the elementary and secondary school levels and varied considerably in numbers of participants (8 -- 185), length of project (1 day -- 6 months), number of teachers involved (1 -- 8), and art forms explored. All projects received ArtsSmarts funding, averaging $4,405 (excluding one large grant of $89,000). These projects have taught a number of important lessons about ArtsSmarts as an intervention. They are centred around four broad questions: What works for schools?What are the indicators of and contributing factors to success?What are the components of successful classroom partnerships?What can be done to transfer or expand success to other schools?

Evaluation de la strategie de GenieArts: Impact et viabilite

December 1, 2003

Le present rapport vise a : 1) presenter une analyse des conclusions d'une enquete, d'entrevues et de groupes de discussion sur des projets GenieArts finances par la Fondation de la famille J.W. McConnell au Canada, en 2002-2003; 2) appuyer les activites de representation visant a obtenir un financement a long terme et a assurer la viabilite de l'approche GenieArts. Le rapport est axe sur l'impact des projets sur les eleves, le systeme d'education, la collectivite et le milieu des arts touchant ainsi les 'spheres d'influence' cles du systeme d'education.

Evaluation of the ArtsSmarts Strategy: Impacts and Sustainability

December 1, 2003

The purpose of this report is to provide: 1) an analysis of findings from a survey, interviews and focus groups regarding ArtsSmarts projects funded by the J.W.McConnell Family Foundation across Canada in 2002-2003 and 2) to support advocacy work to obtain long term funding and support for sustainability of the ArtsSmarts approach. The report focuses on the impact of the projects on students, the education system, the community and the arts community addressing key "spheres of Influence" in the educational system.

Le programme GenieArts: Description et evaluation synthese

October 29, 2002

ArtsSmarts is a national program that promotes the teaching of arts infused curricula and the invaluable lessons that artistic practices can contribute to self-awareness, creativity, empathy, and community. The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation funds the ArtsSmarts program, and the Canadian Conference of the Arts acts as the ArtsSmarts Secretariat. Organizations from across Canada have been chosen as ArtsSmarts Partners to oversee projects that meld the program objectives with localized needs, resources, and visions for learning through the arts. More than 125,000 young people, 2,500 artists, and 4,500 teachers and community members have participated in Phase I (1998-2001) of the ArtsSmarts program. The evaluative research into Phase I of ArtsSmarts has shown that the program is meeting its goal of promoting collaborative efforts that bring the arts to schools and communities. Artists are bringing new insights and skills to learning, while passing on their passion for the arts. Teachers and administrators are expressing gratitude for the infusion of the arts into their teaching, their schools, and their community centres. Young people are enthusiastically engaging in art making and showing consistent signs of gaining new understandings of curriculum subjects, of themselves, and of their communities. Parents are volunteering time to the implementation and support of the projects. Whole communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of having the ArtsSmarts program in their midst and are providing venues, media coverage, collaboration, and, in some case, additional funding for the projects. ArtsSmarts is embarking on Phase II of its programming, in which it will continue to support existing projects, expand the reach of ArtsSmarts to other Partners and communities, and identify strategies that will ultimately allow localized projects to become self-sustaining. The ArtsSmarts program is providing both leadership and opportunities to ensure that the arts remain a vital component of the lives and learning of Canadian young people.

The ArtsSmarts Program: Description and Evaluation

October 25, 2002

ArtsSmarts is a national program that promotes the teaching of arts infused curricula and the invaluable lessons that artistic practices can contribute to self-awareness, creativity, empathy, and community. The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation funds the ArtsSmarts program, and the Canadian Conference of the Arts acts as the ArtsSmarts Secretariat. Organizations from across Canada have been chosen as ArtsSmarts Partners to oversee projects that meld the program objectives with localized needs, resources, and visions for learning through the arts. More than 125,000 young people, 2,500 artists, and 4,500 teachers and community members have participated in Phase I (1998-2001) of the ArtsSmarts program.The evaluative research into Phase I of ArtsSmarts has shown that the program is meeting its goal of promoting collaborative efforts that bring the arts to schools and communities. Artists are bringing new insights and skills to learning, while passing on their passion for the arts. Teachers and administrators are expressing gratitude for the infusion of the arts into their teaching, their schools, and their community centres. Young people are enthusiastically engaging in art making and showing consistent signs of gaining new understandings of curriculum subjects, of themselves, and of their communities. Parents are volunteering time to the implementation and support of the projects. Whole communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of having the ArtsSmarts program in their midst and are providing venues, media coverage, collaboration, and, in some case, additional funding for the projects.ArtsSmarts is embarking on Phase II of its programming, in which it will continue to support existing projects, expand the reach of ArtsSmarts to other Partners and communities, and identify strategies that will ultimately allow localized projects to become self-sustaining. The ArtsSmarts program is providing both leadership and opportunities to ensure that the arts remain a vital component of the lives and learning of Canadian young people.