Arts Working Group: Exploring the Element of Teaching Artistry

Arts Working Group: Exploring the Element of Teaching Artistry

Date: April 23, 2015
Location: Joffrey Ballet

*For details regarding the development and purpose of the Arts Working Group, check out our session #1 blog post or the working group tab.

On April 23, 2015 CIS of Chicago hosted the third of a series of Arts Education Working Groups for community partners to explore the new Elements of Effective Arts Education Programs.


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Essential Highlights:

      • The three elements of effective teaching artists are:
        • Background (Life experience, credibility, authenticity, and integrity)
        • Skills and knowledge (Understanding content, fidelity to organization’s approach, affirming language, code-switching, strong presence, creating a learning community)
        • Professionalism (Active communication, time-management, appropriate dress, courteous, self-aware)
      • Jordan LaSalle from CPS Department of Arts Education engaged the working group in a discussion around authenticity, adaptability, relationship-building, and cultural competency.
      • Lynne Pace Green from Chicago Community Arts Partnership at Columbia College facilitated a discussion around building learning communities and understanding fidelity to arts organizations’ educational approach. 


Community Arts Partners gathered at Joffrey Towers in the 3rd floor studio to examine the elements of effective Teaching Artists. After a brief review of Program Model (the element discussed at our last working group), participants were presented with various concepts, case studies and strategies inviting them to reflect on the recruitment, training, practices, and retention of Teaching Artists within their organizations.

These discussions were framed by a variety of essential questions for guided reflection and practical inquiry:

  1. How do you make space in Teaching Artist preparation/support to discuss entrance, attitude, overall philosophy and approach, while still giving credence to content?
  2. How do you prepare both Teaching Artists and classroom environments for an atmosphere of risk-taking and attentive listening, which may vary greatly from the atmosphere of that same room other parts of the day?
  3. How do you prepare Teaching Artists to serve as arm of your organization, while still being true to their art?
  4. In what ways does fluency of stakeholder language benefit Teaching Artists? In what ways do you model this as an Arts Administrator?
  5. How do you make space in Teaching Artist preparation/support to role play potential scenarios? How are Teaching Artists given room to share stories and practices?
  6. Is there room for Social-Emotional Learning training and standards in your artists’ training, curriculum, and documentation?
  7. How do you develop training models that help artists understand and successfully demonstrate the values of your program?
  8. How do you create space for authentic curricular design and/or artists’ unique skill sets and yet maintain consistent quality and integrity to your program?
  9. How can teaching artists partner with classroom teachers to build a reciprocal learning community?
  10. How can teaching artists build a culture where students are supporting each other in their own learning?

Materials from Event:

Google Presentation

Participating Organizations:

Changing Worlds
Chicago Children’s Theatre
Chicago Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP)
Chicago Public Schools, Department of Arts Ed
Crooked Door Storytelling
Design Dance
Emerald City Theatre
Foundations of Music
Hyde Park Arts Center
Ingenuity Incorporated, LLC
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Northlight Theatre
Old Town School of Folk Music
South Chicago Arts Center


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