Milissa Gavel, Ann Kipling Brown, Lisa Lenkart, Norman Yakel
This study examined the preparation of teachers in the professional development process on preservice teachers, involving students and faculty from the Arts Education program at the University of Regina and students and teachers and community members from the City of Melville. Traditionally the preservice teachers in the Arts Education program are involved in two activities: Professional Learning as Community Experience (PLACE); and a school placement. PLACE involves three days during which the students spend time in elementary and secondary schools, attend community events, visit significant historical and cultural sites and leaders of the community. Placement involves a week in an elementary classroom where students practice teaching, guided by cooperating teachers and university faculty.
The alliance between two schools in Melville, the City of Melville and the Arts Education program began in 2006 when a graduate of the Arts Education program invited students and faculty to Melville, specifically to Davis and Miller elementary schools. Subsequently PLACE extended to include Placement in the two schools for an eight-day residency during which preservice teachers worked with cooperating teachers, community leaders and artists and taught in small group and classroom settings. Additionally, time was organized for university faculty and teachers to examine their supervisory roles and consider the implementation of the arts education curriculum.
Funds from the Dr Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research provided opportunities for all to examine their practice related to their role in the delivery and support of the preinternship experience during PLACE and Placement. Cooperating teachers valued the time spent on professional development and engagement with arts education, preservice teachers appreciated the opportunity to develop their teaching skills and learn from experienced teachers; children enjoyed working with preservice teachers and artists from the community; and university faculty were encouraged that the experience benefited faculty, teachers, preservice teachers, community members and children.