Tuesday, September 7, 2004

GPB Education Focuses on Arts

Georgia Public Broadcasting Education recently held special focus groups on Arts in Every Classroom: A Video Library, K-5 and Arts in Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers, two of the Annenberg/CPB professional development courses we offer to Georgia educators at no cost. The purpose of the focus groups was to develop educational strategies derived from the two series; the strategies generated will eventually be developed into arts education professional development trainings to be offered by GPB Education to educators statewide.

Nearly 30 educators responded to the call to participate in these work groups, representing membership in The Georgia Theatre Conference; Dance Educators of Georgia (DEGA); Georgia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (GAHPERD); Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA); and Georgia Association of Arts Educators (GAEA). Teaching experience in the groups ranged from Elementary through Middle, High School and University levels. In addition to those local to Atlanta, educators drove from all parts of the state to participate- Camden County, Rabun Gap, Richmond County, Gwinnett County, and Gainesville. We were pleased to have an independent dance consultant and performer along with representatives from the Atlanta Ballet and the Gainesville Ballet in addition to the dance educators and university professors.

Educators were arranged according to specialty into the dance, theater arts, music, or visual arts group. They then spent the day viewing selected episodes of the Arts in Every Classroom programs to identify essential questions, key concepts, and vocabulary. Lively discussions led to the identification of instructional strategies and best practices in arts and education along with questions about how these series could benefit professional development and student achievement in Georgia.

Now the work of the focus groups has been completed, GPB Education staff will review and organize the four groups' suggestions around the themes of advocacy, content, professional development, and instructional strategies. Each of the educators who participated in the focus groups will receive a summary of his or her work along with a contact sheet for the other group members so that they can continue the encouragement and professional peer dialog established here at GPB throughout the coming school year.

For more information on this project or to arrange for arts professional development for teachers, administrators, staff and parents, contact Barbara O'Brien @ bobrien@gpb.org or 404-685-2545.