Project Stages

Stage 1 (Project result 1): Pedagogical framework for online and blended learning for arts education

While distance learning degrees have seen an incredible growth in the last 20 years (Allen & Seaman, 2017; Valverde-Berrocoso, Garrido-Arroyo, Burgos-Videla, & Morales-Cevallos, 2020), the access to arts education in Higher Education has not really widened. On the one hand this is attributed to the few fully online or blended bachelor degrees in education (Becker, Gereluk, Dressler & Eaton 2015). On the other hand, it is attributed to the centrality that the experiential component has in the disciplines of arts education (visual arts education, music education, theater/drama education and dance education) which for some is in dissonance with the very nature of eLearning (Baker et al. 2016). Up to recently there were very few pieces of literature or research discussing online or blended learning in the context of preservice teacher training in arts education (Cutcher & Cook, 2016) or of online or blended master degrees in arts education (Buhl & Ejsing-Duun 2015) or of online or blended continuous teacher development training courses. This has changed recently due to the COVID-19 lockdown that had a global effect to the way education has been carried (Azorìn, 2020; Harris, 2020; Rapanta et al, 2020; UNESCO, 2020). Higher Education Institutions moved quickly to emergency remote teaching. However, not all arts educators were prepared to teach in an imposed distance-learning environment that became inevitable due to health and safety measure. Arts Education Academics’ perceptions of eLearning and teaching in primary education degrees or master degrees in education need to be addressed in order to respond to their concerns regarding quality in their teaching (Baker et al. 2016).

Project Result 1 (PR1) aims to respond to the above needs of academics in the disciplines of arts education. The project result innovates aims in developing an innovative pedagogical framework specifically for their needs thus preparing academics to deliver quality arts education under normal or emergency conditions by making appropriate use of fully online or blended modes of learning. The expected impacts will benefit arts educators/academics across Europe, students-teachers and in-service teachers attending courses/degrees/training programs in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as the mode of the course development will offer better learning educational experiences to learners and high quality of education. Provision has be taken for the framework's versatility and transferability as it does not focus on a single art education discipline (e.g. visual arts education) but on all different disciplines in the arts. Further transferability potential relates to degrees of study other than education (e.g. arts' relevant degrees such as graphic designer). Moreover, the PR1 has the potential to transfer knowledge into online learning in primary and secondary education when emergencies arise. The same framework may be applicable to these levels of education. Also primary and secondary educators that will be educated through it (when student-teachers or during an in-service training program) will be able to utilize it in the teaching practice, if needed.

Stage 2 (Project Result 2): Curricula for local teacher training programs

This output contains a state-of the arts literature review about education through the arts, including experiential learning and critical pedagogy in emergency - or normalcy-contexts, curricula of teacher education courses and training materials. The content of the teacher education courses will be connected with the principles of critical pedagogy and sustainable development, especially the social and cultural aspect of it. Arts can enable education to approach challenging socioeconomic, cultural and environmental issues that twenty-first century humankind has to address through the use of expression as a means for action that informs and raises personal and public awareness. Education for Sustainable Development is education for the 21-century as it seeks to prepare learners for the varied and interrelated environmental, social, and economic challenges they will meet as they confront the changing world. It emphasizes systemic and critical thinking for a better awareness of the present, along with future thinking, values and strategic planning that will enable learners to unlock their creativity and flourish in a more sustainable economy (Bell 2016). It sets goals, addresses all 21- century education priority issues and offers solid means (principles, philosophy and pedagogy) for the educational transition needed to meet these goals. Foremost, it is transformative education and holds the potential for supporting our transition towards a sustainable future. It enhances Arts Education, supports the establishment of links with real-life issues and leads to action. The infusion of sustainable development into Arts Education has implications for the educators’ role and the education they receive. These are important but marginalized aspects within the current arts practice in primary education. The curricula of teacher education courses are intended to demonstrate different ways in which the transformative pedagogical framework for online or blended learning in the arts education can be used to address the needs of different contexts/countries. These will address either undergraduate or postgraduate students in HEIs (studying to become primary school teachers or studying to receive a master degree in education with different backgrounds but no arts specialization) or in-service primary school teachers or in-service secondary school teachers with no arts specialization who want to participate in a professional development training program. The target groups will depend on the partners and their accessibility to different target groups. Having slightly different target groups, will contribute to
demonstration of the versatility of the framework for arts education. Overall the different courses/training programs will take into account different outcomes by placing an emphasis on a diversity of social, cultural and environmental contexts. The social, cultural and environmental particularities of the different participating countries (Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Poland) will provide a rich sense of biodiversity that will promote intercultural learning (learning about one's own environmental challenges as well as those of others). While specific challenges (for example, those related to urban over-development, marine pollution, refugees' crisis, etc) will help to contextualise these courses/programs, a series of common goals and advocacy issues will ensure a consistency to the project's main research aims. Along with the innovative design of the curricula, innovative training materials will be developed by each partner. One of the significant goals of this output - which also contributes to the project's originality - will also be the promotion of local artists' works and ideas across borders. The participants/trainees will be exposed to artists from other countries who are dedicated to sustainable development goals such as the reduction of inequalities and living together in peace.

Stage 3 (Project Result 3): Teacher education delivery (case studies)

This project result intends to provide evidence-based support of the benefits of digital transformation in arts education that adopts the philosophy of socially engaged arts, and how these were utilized in the different countries for different needs. It responds to the needs of the target groups as presented in the previous two project results. This project result will highlight the flexibility and value of the transformative pedagogical framework for online or blended learning in arts education developed in PR1 and the philosophy of education through the arts agreed in PR2 in different contexts.

PR3 will present the case studies of the delivery of teacher education courses developed by the partners. It will include the results of the implementation of the courses/ training programs. These case studies will enable partners to argue about and demonstrate the transferability of the pedagogical framework for the course delivery mode along with the philosophy of the content of the delivery to other contexts, such as programs of study of arts disciplines in HEIs, delivery of arts education in primary and secondary schools or other contexts. Case studies are expected to demonstrate how pre-service and/or in-service teachers can develop their arts producing and arts responding skills along with pedagogical competences and reflective competences within an online or blended learning environment.
Trainees will have the opportunity to engage in creative and innovative uses of digital education content. Further the case studies will demonstrate how pre-service and/or in-service teachers can have a greater understanding of how to connect arts with real life issues, and have a greater understanding and responsiveness to social, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity and consequently be able to develop arts units focused on sustainable development goals, embracing common values, civic engagement and participation. Examples of socially engaged arts will be utilized to develop an awareness amongst teachers about the relevance of the work of contemporary artists whose work revolves around issues of social change, collaboration and justice. The participating students/ teachers - at least those who will participate in the fully online courses/trainings will receive an 'arts in the box' package which will further contribute to the quality of their training and the experiential aspect of their training. Further on, training the teachers and teacher students as agents of change with multiplier potential, will increase the project's
transferability and impact to their students and peers. 

Stage 4 (Project Result 4): Professional Learning Communities

Case studies of Professional Communities of Learning (PCLs) will be created, reporting on in-country and inter-country findings from the project. The CARESS project has a spirit of collaborative learning at its heart and, importantly, we view the PCLs as including both project participants (academics and teachers) and project partners (researchers, academics, trainers). Indeed, we hope that the CARE/SS project as an entirety will be a vibrant and productive PCL of people interested in quality arts education. Within the umbrella of the main CARE/SS project PCL, there are likely to be many PCLs of differing sizes, including very small PCLs where perhaps two or three students/teachers collaborate closely within an individual course/school. PR4 will shed light on these PCLs. It is anticipated that, through their involvement in the project, academics and teacher participants will form cooperative and collaborative working relationships with peers and learn with and from each other. These learning opportunities will take place in face-to-face (in-country) and virtual (in-country and inter- country) contexts. For instance, we intend to explore the potential of connecting teacher participants from different countries, as well as usefully keeping an electronic record of interchanges. We are interested in exploring innovative techniques to both facilitate and research the teachers’ professional learning, using, for example, visual/audio methods such as blogging, vlogging, photography, and journaling (book-based or electronic). Through a cycle of action and reflection these methods will be evaluated by participants and researchers/ trainers and modified, when required. As arts education is a key focus of the project, we will look to maximize the potential of creative, artistic methods for training and research purposes where these can effectively meet the project’s aims and objectives. In addition to data collected for the sole purpose of this research project, data will also be drawn from other research projects in order to construct the PCL case studies, as appropriate. We aim to investigate the opportunities and challenges that the project’s PCLs present; what social and physical factors foster or hinder communication, positive relationships, teacher confidence and competencies and perceptions of success. The PCL case studies will provide detail about places, people and processes in the CARE/SS project and will usefully highlight similarities and differences. The PCL case studies report will present our research findings and recommendations to policy makers, educational authorities, pedagogical institutions and any other key stakeholder who is interested in how online or blended teacher training in arts education might best be facilitated. The intention is that the PCL case studies will be communicated to different audiences in both academic and non-academic forms, in both full and summarized versions, in order to enhance the impact of the CARE/SS project’s findings. The project website will have a pivotal role in dissemination.

Stage 5 (Project Result 5): Handbook for Academics

This Handbook includes educational/pedagogical materials for academics. It is designed especially to address academics/tutors/trainers' needs and considerations as described in earlier project results. Further it responds to the needs of policy makers/educational authorities/training organizations/etc. who are interested in widening access to quality arts education by means of online or blended modes of learning. For example, Greece has a large number of small islands where educators are deprived of opportunities for continuous professional development in the arts. The Handbook intends to be a practical and easy to use document, providing guidance and support to academics/tutors/trainers on how to implement online or blended teaching-learning activities based on the innovative aspects of CARE/SS. It will offer, among others, principles for teaching and learning lesson planning and principles for assessment. Additionally, it will include examples of best cases as identified during the implementation of the teacher education delivery, the micro-teaching and the arts units in schools or even raise issues of concerns and highlight cases where things did not go as expected. Further the Guide will include an adapted, if needed, transformative pedagogical framework for online or blended learning in arts education based on the lessons learnt during the implementation of the case studies. In other words, the guide is intended to facilitate academics/tutors/trainers' needs, enable them to implement innovative arts education that will be attractive and relevant to the lives of teachers and their pupils (or future pupils) and thus ensure the sustainability and transfer of the project outcomes to the target groups, taking into account their needs and different backgrounds. Provision has be taken for the framework's versatility and transferability as it does not focus on a single art education discipline (e.g. visual arts education) but on all different disciplines in the arts. Further transferability potential relates to degrees of study other than education (e.g. arts' relevant degrees such as graphic designer). Moreover, the PR1 has the potential to transfer knowledge into online learning in primary and secondary education when emergencies arise. The same framework may be applicable to these levels of education. Also primary and secondary educators that will be educated through it (when student-teachers or during an in-service training program) will be able to utilize it in the teaching practice, if needed.

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