Teaching in and through the arts, far from detracting from literacy and numeracy, should be seen as an enabler to driving up standards in academic prioritiesProfessor Dai Smith, Arts in Education in the Schools of Wales, 2013
How the arts help develop literacy and numeracy skills
There is a strong body of evidence that using the arts as a vehicle for quality teaching and learning increases motivation and improves performance. The arts can also be a great enabler in terms of developing pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills offering a range of lively contexts and engaging approaches through which to explore these skills in a natural way with your class. Take a look at some of the Rich Activities and Case Studies in this toolkit for inspiration.
Whether it’s reading a novel or poem; debating whether graffiti is art; writing a film review or listening to an interview with a composer, the teaching of the arts provides a rich vehicle for developing literacy skills. Opportunities to apply numeracy skills through arts activities don’t always present themselves as readily but many of the creative activities shared in this toolkit demonstrate how the arts can offer meaningful contexts within which to explore and develop numeracy skills. From learning about shapes and patterns in visual art and dance at Foundation Phase to measuring time frames in a film clip at Key Stage 2 to costing and budgeting for an arts event at Key Stage 3, there are countless imaginative ways to bring numeracy to life in real contexts through the arts.
How Artists and Arts Organisations can support your work in school
Whether you’re a specialist teacher of the arts or not, you’ll find a vibrant arts and culture sector outside the school gates keen to use their creative expertise to support you address your current teaching and learning challenges. So if you’re after fresh inspiration to deliver aspects of the LNF or would benefit from specific support in an arts subject, take a look at the directory of arts organisations in the resources zone to see who’s near you.
From short, half-day visits to sustained partnerships over an a term / academic year, arts organisations and artists can offer an array of provision and support to schools in response to your needs. Here are some examples of the different ways that you could work with artists:
What are the Benefits of Partnership Working?
Working in partnership with an arts or cultural partner can bring a variety of benefits to schools:
Benefits to students include:
Benefits to teachers include:
Benefits to the school:
Benefits to the artists and arts organisation:
Partnership working can also offer other areas of mutual benefit, such as the sharing of skills between school and arts organisations, including pooling resources.
Excerpt from ‘Partnerships’, Section 4 of A New Direction’s Teachers’ Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help you and your school more effectively use and promote the arts and cultural education as a critical component of a balanced, exciting curriculum, and can be downloaded here