Beeson SUAVE Presentation 6339

Teaching English
Language Learners
through the Arts:
A SUAVE Experience
Written by: Merryl Goldberg
Report by: Rebecca Beeson
Goldberg, Merryl. (2004).
Teaching English language
learners through the arts: A
SUAVE experience. Boston,
MA: Pearson Education.
Chapter 1: Arts Ain’t Fluff
• What is art?
• “Art is an attitude and way of being in the world. It is also a series of
products—painting, sculptures, songs, dances, poems, dramas,
performances” (p.10).
• Learning through the Arts
• Different form of communication
• Alternative assessment
• Bridge to different cultures
• Who are English language learners (ELLs)?
• Teachers as role models
• Art encourages risk-taking
• Art encourages a child’s natural sense of wonder
• Art as a way to explore our passions
Chapter 2: The Professional Development
Program: SUAVE
• What is SUAVE?
• “Socios Unidos para Artes via Educación”
• Weekly classroom coaching
• Artist and teacher with “professional-professional” relationship
• “Both teacher and artist assume the role of expert as well as learner”
• No scripted curriculum
• Two year program (different coach every year)
• 10 teachers per school participate
• Expansion
• Pilot year: 1994-1995 (3 schools)
• Eighth year (current as of book’s publishing: 2001-2002 (10 schools, 11 mentor sites, 3 special
contract sites)
• Benefits
• Shifts in teacher beliefs about cognitive abilities of students
• Improved motivation, self-esteem, self-worth among students
• Students more engaged in learning as exploration
Chapter 3: Loving the Logistics: An Arts
Administrator’s Experience
• Funding partners
• California Center for the Arts
• California State University San Marcos (CSUSM)
• California Arts Council
• Locations
• Originally in 3 schools in Escondido, CA; expanded to 6
• Developing curriculum kits for use in other schools and
• Advice for implementation
• “The intent was and is to bring the arts back to education, to
support educators, and to inspire the love of learning in young
people. Be clear in partner responsibilities, develop a strong
yet succinct mission, and enjoy yourself” (p.32).
Chapter 4: Principal as Advocate, Leader, and
• Advice to other principals
• Stay informed about the arts (professional associations!)
• Remember the arts are 4 areas: drama, music, dance, and visual arts
• Teachers need access to tools, materials, and trainings to
incorporate art
• Require teachers to use art in their curriculum—it shows the teacher
and the students that art is important in education
• Use art as a way to break down language barriers
• Require stimulating visual classroom environments
• Example: Van Gogh as artist of the month
• Warning: Make sure everything has a purpose (consider ADD children)
• Yes, TIME is an issue but “…hopefully this will give teachers a way of
doing some of those standards and true arts lessons and of seeing
that they can not only accomplish the same thing but do it better”
(p. 40).
Chapter 5: The Many Languages of Art
• Eduardo Garcia, SUAVE coach (guitarist)
• Objective: “…to open up the bridges connecting the places of
departure and arrival so that these different languages,
learning styles, and intelligences feel comfortable in the
classroom and learning becomes dynamic and charged with
excitement, passion, and joy” (p. 44).
• Instructional ideas
• Math and movement: skip counting multiplication
• Singing as vocabulary development: “Yellow Submarine” +
ocean unit
• Origami as math
• His puppet show in India:
art and music as common ground
Chapter 6: Teacher Change in Professional
Development: Impacting Teachers’ Culture
through the Arts
• “Changing scripts” = adding creativity to classroom culture
• “Constructing meaning own meaning using prior knowledge”
• Art as a way for ELLs to communicate ideas
• Teacher: “I think [having an artist in our classrooms is] teaching
ourselves to be freer to explore. Saying to a teacher it’s okay to
do—it is not a waste of instructional time, it’s valuable time the kids
need, no one ever taught us is not a rush rush curriculum. It
is a cultural thing—it is a process rather than an end product” (p.
• The importance of taking risks—
• it’s okay to make a fool of yourself
• Teaching is a cultural activity
we improve
Chapter 7: Forty Years of Teaching and We’re
Still Learners: A Practical Guide to Incorporating
the Arts into the Curriculum
• Teaching with the arts…
• Embeds the information into students’ memories
• Motivates and engages students
• Acquiring a language through the arts
“Ranting” (rap and chant)/ singing
Movement! (act out new vocabulary words or concepts)
Draw concepts to demonstrate comprehension
Use puppets for students embarrassed to perform in front of others
• Sample lesson plans
Parts of a Flower, any grade (p. 80)
Directed Draw, K-2 (p. 81)
Scarecrow in a Pumpkin Field (p. 82)
Puppet Play, Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox, 1st grade (p. 83)
Chapter 8: Experiencing Science through the
• Sample lessons
• Grade 1: Learning about Weather Vocabulary through Drama (p. 92)
• Grade 2: Experiencing Life as a Bat (p. 88), Learning about the Water Cycle
through Movement and Music (p. 93)
• Grade 3: Learning about the Solar System through Music (p. 94)
• Grade 4: Experiencing Life as an Animal (p. 89)
• Grade 5: Learning about Animals and Their EnvironmentsMoon, Moon in the
through Origami and Storytelling (p. 96)
• Improving risk-taking & self-esteem
• (especially important in science)
(to the tune of “Row,
Row, Row Your Boat”)
Moon Moon in the
What are you made
I am made of dust
and rock
And I have craters,
Chapter 9: Uncovering an Artistic Identity While
Learning to Teach through the Arts
• Case study: Rita (a changed perspective teacher)
• Refined teaching philosophy & classroom culture to incorporate the arts
• “…[Rita] learned how to think like an artist, take risks like an artist, and
believe in herself like in artist…this admission reflected her broadened
view of the arts as ‘another form of communication’ and an artist as
anyone who ‘finds a new way to express themselves’” (p. 100).
• Learning in SUAVE—teachers learned too!
• All learning as identity development (Wenger, 1998)
• Artistic techniques and activities
• 3D Pyramids
• Portraits
• Mask design
• Rita developed her own self-esteem as an artist
Chapter 10: The Mirrored Selves as Once
Echoed by Duke Ellington: Practicing and
Professional Development
• Coaching meetings as practice/ “jam sessions”
• Two hours every week
• Need for reflection on every session
• Brainstorm ways to better work with teachers (i.e. co-teaching difficulties)
• Importance of risk-taking as a positive learning experience
• Trying something new without certainty of the results
• Attempting beyond the realm of what is known to the person
• Practicing to reduce anxiety, difficulty, nervousness from risk-taking
• Build trust and confidence
• Grow security and support
• Coaching and artistic expansion
Chapter 11: Artists in the Classroom: The Role
of Resistance in Positive Change
• Transformation of teaching beliefs as demonstrated by a contentious
coach-teacher relationship: Lani (teacher) & Fernando (coach)
Two-way bilingual fourth grade (Lani teaches English)
Fernando has no formal arts training/ “folk artist”
Lani had “incongruent expectations” (wanted to be led, not work together)
But resistance and struggles can sometimes lead to more powerful
• After struggles…Positive results
• Teacher’s notion of who is an artist expands
• Teacher’s understanding of the artistic process broadens [new focus on
process not product]
• Teacher applies the artistic process to academic learning by experimenting to
understand concepts
• Teacher develops her personal appreciation of art
Connection to Bilingual Content Class
• Students as independent learners
• Using the arts as a way to communicate with
beginning ELLs
• Learning as a process, not a product
• Improving students’ self-esteem & self-efficacy in the
• Lacks an overall narrative (hard to read at times)
• Examples of student input, reflection
• Now that we have an ethnographic study, time for a
quantitative study…
• STILL…I recommend this book.
• A well-written addition to the ELL library
• Diverse array of narratives from various teachers,
coaches, and administrators
Chamot, A.U., Barnhardt, S., El-Dinary, P.B., & Robbins, J. (1999).
The learning strategies handbook. New York: Addison Wesley
Longman, Inc.
Walter, T. (2004). Teaching English language learners: The how-to
handbook. New York: Longman.

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