How do you feel when someone whom you deeply respect stops
in the rehearsal hall to observe before the show has opened? Are you craving useful feedback but
also worried you’ll be judged before your process has blossomed?
how I feel right now about the Next Generation Arts Standards Project. Since October I’ve been serving as AATE
and EdTA’s Chair of the Theatre Writing Team and although the National
Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is still many months away from
releasing a draft of the new national voluntary theatre standards, we are far
enough along in the process that it’s time to invite you to "observe a
rehearsal” to see how the Big Production is shaping up.
The Framing Committee of NCCAS charged the Writing Chairs
from the five disciplines (theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and media arts)
to propose a conceptual framework to guide the scale, scope, content, and form
of what will materialize. I could
go on at great length about the rigorous two month process it took, but, to
continue my analogy, that would be like making you read the daily rehearsal reports
from the Big Production: while informative, they still don’t really give you a
feel for the tone and tenor of the rehearsal process.
The important thing is that we have a Draft Overarching Framework
that has been publically released.
(You can view it below and view all the current NCCAS documents on the NCCAS website) It’s a
tiered one-sheet chart that will serve as the skeletal starting point for the
Theatre Writing Team Members (as well as the other writing teams) who will begin
creating the new Standards during the next phase of the project.
As members of AATE, what should you know about the Framework? What will be the key anatomical features
of these 21st century Theatre Standards?
Here’s a guide to how the new
Standards’ are being envisioned, based on the fundamental elements of the
Statements:, The Standards will contain bold statements defining what the
Arts are at their very essence. More than just rationale, these declarations
articulate the core values and beliefs we use daily to help others understand
the powerful role the Arts play through out our lives.
Lifelong Goals: The Philosophical Statements serve as
the launching point for establishing meaningful Arts Education goals. Collectively, we work towards
creating a country of artistically literate citizens. The Standards will state the anticipated outcomes if our
students and communities commit to meeting these Lifelong Goals.
Artistic Processes: Building on the model established in
the 1997 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Standards will
use the three artistic processes of Creating, Performing/Sharing, and
Responding to identify how we go about meeting those Lifelong Goals. The term "Sharing” is a new 2012 addition
to the basic CPR model, with the intention of allowing a broader, more
inclusive definition of the learning that takes place at this stage of the
art-making process. Theatre will also be designating a fourth artistic
process: Connecting. Connecting can be defined as the
process artists use when they employ multiple ways and types of thinking to
perpetuate their work and add significance to their life experiences. It will include cognitive acts like
inquiring, discovering, and valuing to reinforce the connecting artists do both
during and between Creating, Performing/Sharing, and Responding.
Strands and Components: Each discipline will be represented by
its own Strand within the Artistic Processes. The Strands will identify the actions (Components) that
serve as the building blocks for Creating, Performing/Sharing, Responding, and
Connecting. These Components are
non-linear and perhaps simultaneous actions that result in a purposeful learning
experience in each of the Processes.
and Enduring Understandings:
To help guide instruction in the Arts, each Component will be
accompanied by our content’s most engaging questions and lasting concepts. Through the spirit of inquiry and the
resonance of fundamental statements, it is hoped that an expansive, inclusive
spectrum of Theatre knowledge and skills will emerge elegantly for the users of
Evidence of Learning: Within the Standards each discipline
will provide Cornerstone Assessment Models that root learning in the actual
doing of the art form. These examples
are illustrations, not prescriptions,
of what classroom instruction might look like using high-quality sequential Learning
Plans, informed instruction and reliable and valid assessment procedures. Outcomes will be demonstrated through recognizable
indicators of student success, including exemplar examples. The knowledge and skills needed to
produce evidence of authentic learning will also align and be strengthened by
Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings.
So that’s it:
from Philosophical Foundations to Evidence of Learning. I wish I could present the parts of what
will be dynamic, interactive web-based Standards in something more than a list
of terms and a 2-dimensional chart.
But, in fact, that’s where we are (with plenty of vision and plans for
innovation waiting in the wings).
our effort to be transparent and inclusive in this endeavor, better to share
our ideas sketched out like this than not at all, right? After all, you are theatre people and
you know what it means to be in the midst of a process. The Big Production will bear only a
faint resemblance to this early rehearsal. Stay tuned for more on the Work in Progress.
Rachel Evans is serving as Chair of the Theatre Writing Team
for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, proudly representing the
membership of AATE and EdTA.