Supporting and fostering collaboration within a community of practice around the pedagogy of arts integration
Drawing on a wide variety of literature from social constructionism, communities of practice and knowledge management this study brings to light the kind of support teachers will need in order to be able to use a knowledge construction model to develop a continual learning process for arts integration. Arts integration is a highly effective instructional strategy that brings active engagement, problem solving and higher levels of cognition to students. However arts integration is not easy work. It takes a great deal of planning and collaboration. In this action research study, I take the perspective of a social artist, a facilitator, who offers a framework for a group of teacher participants to dialogue, collaborate and share ideas and skills to develop arts integrated products to share with others. Utilizing a mixed methodology approach, the findings of this action research study revealed that the intervention had a positive impact on the participants. Though there were some set backs, participants reported more dialogue and shared experiences about arts integration on a daily basis, more dialogue about new arts integrate ideas, and an increased sense of collaboration in developing arts integrated products. Furthermore, the Knowledge Construction Model (KCM) concept had strength as a potential professional development model for teachers and schools interested in growing their arts integration practices.