Title

Stage-to-Page: Performing Arts Education and Academic Identity Development for Students-at-Risk

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 8 (Scarbrough 3)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

Stage-to-Page: Performing Arts Education and Academic Identity Development for Students-at-Risk directly addresses the Academic Achievement and Leadership and Social and Emotional Skills strands of the conference. This presentation provides research-based evidence which demonstrates that structured school and community-based performing arts engagement opportunities strengthen academic performance, enhance school experiences and improve school climate for students in high-risk settings. Additionally, this presentation provides participants with examples of how to implement such strategies to improve student achievement and promote positive classroom and school environments.

Brief Program Description

This presentation proposes using the performing arts to improve academic identity development among students in high-risk settings. Upon completion, participating attendees will be able to:

  • define performing arts education
  • understand academic identity development
  • recognize how performing arts engagement enhances academic identity development
  • use the performing arts to enhance the academic identities of students at risk

The target audience includes educators and arts program facilitators.

Summary

Why are students in high risk settings often denied opportunities to engage in structured performing arts learning experiences? What would happen if students who attend high-need schools were given increased opportunities to learn in and through the arts? The presentation Stage-to-Page: Performing Arts Education and Academic Identity Development for Students-at-Risk provides participants with a framework for understanding the positive impact performing arts education opportunities have on academic performance and school experiences for students who are at risk of failing or dropping out of school.

This presentation begins with a detailed examination of 20 years of research which demonstrates that performing arts engagement improves academic performance and school experiences for the general population of students. The presenter's discussion then addresses research which reveals how performing arts learning experiences improve academic performance and enhance school experiences for students from at-risk populations, including students from low income backgrounds, African American students, students of color and students from other marginalized groups.

The demonstration moves into an examination of a practical definition of academic identity development and addresses how this concept influences students' academic performance and school experiences. Additionally, this discussion identifies specific ways in which performing arts engagement enhances students' cognitive development, improves performance in specific content areas, and facilitates positive student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships.

From Stage-to-Page moves into a demonstration of several, specific arts-based teaching and learning strategies that can be employed in classroom and community-based settings to improve student engagement and enhance academic performance for students from high-risk backgrounds. To conclude the workshop the presenter will provide ideas and suggestions for implementing and integrating arts-based learning experiences into daily instruction, and for expanding access to arts-based learning opportunities to students in high-need settings.

Evidence

Stage-to-Page: Performing Arts Education and Academic Identity Development for Students-at-Risk is based on 20 years of research-based evidence which demonstrates that performing arts education enhances academic outcomes for the general population of students and for students who may be at risk of failure or of dropping out of school. Two decades of research identifies positive correlations between arts engagement, cognitive development and enhanced academic achievement for the general population of students in U.S. schools (Cannatella, 2015; Caterall, 1998; Gazziniga, 2008; Hetland & Winner, 2004; Ludwig, Marklein, & Song, 2016; Rose & Magnotta, 2012; Todhunter-Reid, 2018; Whisman & Hixson, 2012). More recently, a growing body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of performing arts learning experiences for students from at-risk populations. Robinson identified drama integration as an evidence-based measure for increasing disadvantaged populations’ performance in reading, math, social skills, receptive/expressive language and creative thinking (Robinson, 2013). Dance integration is a practice which correlates with improved basic reading skills like consonant sound recognition, vowel segmentation and phoneme segmentation (McMahon, Rose, & Parks, 2003). Arts integration programs improve students with disabilities’ performance in reading and math, expressive and receptive language, social skills, memory, attention, risk-taking, self-efficacy and learner ownership (Yorke-Viney, 2007; Durham, 2010; de la Cruz, 1995; Smith & McKnight, 2009; Jacobs, 2005). Furthermore, arts integration facilitates school environments that are caring, collaborative and inclusive for students with disabilities (Magee, 2009; Aulgur, 1997). Moreover, proactive practice within arts integration domains facilitates differentiated instruction and encourages different ways of sharing knowledge (Magee, 2009; Aulgur, 1997).

Recent research has revealed positive correlations between arts engagement and improved outcomes for African American males. Thomas (2011) revealed positive correlations between African American males’ involvement in school music programs and achievement on standardized assessments of English/language arts and mathematics skills. Kazembe (2014) proposed using a Black Arts curricular framework to promote critical literacy and enhance academic engagement for African American male students. Walton and Wiggan utilize existing research to propose using the arts as a model for reducing race-based disproportionality in special education placement rates, and identify Readers’ Theatre as an effective strategy for improving African American males’ reading comprehension skills (Walton & Wiggan, 2010, 2014). Studies which explore the relationship between performing arts engagement and African American males’ school performance may encourage the development of school based arts programs that induce positive academic identity development and enhance academic outcomes for African American males in K-12 school settings (Kazembe, 2014; Thomas, 2011; Walton & Wiggan, 2010, 2014; Walton, 2015).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Calvin Walton currently serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Elementary and Special Education at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus. As a lifelong Special Education teacher, Dr. Walton has taught and supported middle and high school students in Baltimore, Maryland, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Los Angeles County, California. Additionally, he has substantial experience training and supporting urban teachers through partnerships with Johns Hopkins University and UCLA. His research interests include performing arts education and Black male student achievement, improving academic outcomes for children in poverty, and culturally responsive teaching. Dr. Walton has a BA in Communications and Black Studies from Oberlin College, an M.Ed. in Special Education from Coppin State University and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from UNC Charlotte.

In addition to his background in education, Dr. Walton has an extensive background in the performing arts. He has over 30 years of experience acting on stage and independent films. Most recently, Dr. Walton played Troy Maxson in a well-received Charlotte, NC-based production of August Wilson's Tony Award winning play Fences.

Keyword Descriptors

Academic Identity Development, Arts Integration, Culturally Responsive Instruction, Educational Equity, Performing Arts Education, School Climate, School Experiences

Presentation Year

March 2019

Start Date

3-6-2019 9:45 AM

End Date

3-6-2019 11:00 AM

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Mar 6th, 9:45 AM Mar 6th, 11:00 AM

Stage-to-Page: Performing Arts Education and Academic Identity Development for Students-at-Risk

Session 8 (Scarbrough 3)

This presentation proposes using the performing arts to improve academic identity development among students in high-risk settings. Upon completion, participating attendees will be able to:

  • define performing arts education
  • understand academic identity development
  • recognize how performing arts engagement enhances academic identity development
  • use the performing arts to enhance the academic identities of students at risk

The target audience includes educators and arts program facilitators.