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Tech Report  September 1, 2008

An Unfinished Canvas: Teacher Preparation, Instruction Delivery, and Professional Development in the Arts

SRI Authors Katrina Woodworth



Guha, R., Woodworth, K.R., Kim, D., Malin, H., & Park, J. (2008). An unfinished canvas. Teacher preparation, instructional delivery, and professional development in the arts. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


Among the major barriers to arts education in California that An Unfinished Canvas identified is the lack of trained and qualified arts specialist teachers, particularly at the elementary school level. In the absence of dedicated arts teachers at that level, arts instruction is often left to classroom teachers who rarely have adequate training and support to provide standards-based instruction in all four arts disciplines. The study also found that few classroom teachers receive professional development in the arts. At the secondary level, the study found that schools and districts seldom provide sustained, content-based professional development for arts teachers. Moreover, questions emerged regarding secondary arts teachers’ preservice training, particularly in dance and theatre, and their use of California’s Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards (VPA standards).

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