• Arts Instruction

    Arts Instruction: Learning Fine Arts Knowledge and Skills

    Arts Instruction broadly refers to all opportunities in which students learn the knowledge and skills needed to participate actively and creatively in the fine arts.

    Houston ISD has approved curriculum to support rigorous instruction in the four approved fine arts disciplines of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts (kindergarten through 12th grade) that is updated annually.  The curriculum for each fine arts discipline is tightly aligned with the fine arts TEKS and the four strands of instruction that each follows:

    Strand 1: Foundations
    Strand 2: Creative Expression
    Strand 3: Historical and Cultural Relevance
    Strand 4: Critical Evaluation and Response

    Data confirms that consistent, well-designed, standards-based instruction in fine arts leads to increased achievement in foundation courses,[1] but this is hardly the only reason fine arts instruction is important to the development of the whole child.  The Texas Education Agency states that:

    [The fine arts] disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.[2]

    In addition to regular, academic instruction within each fine arts discipline, a student should have opportunities to create and showcase their work, to extend learning outside of school hours, and to pursue advanced studies in preparation for college and potential careers in the fine arts.

    Certified fine arts teachers are the fine arts leaders on their campuses and are the primary party responsible for delivering Arts Instruction, while foundation teachers, arts organizations and teaching artists provide additional learning opportunities to students.  Campus leaders and district support provide the infrastructure for collective success.  (See Arts-Rich Ecosystem for more information.)

    [1] Yinmei Wan, Meredith J, Ludwig, and Andrea Boyle. (2018). Review of Evidence: Arts Education through the Lens of ESSA. American Institutes for Research.

    [2] 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117, 102a1, 202b1, 302b1, and other places. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/index.html.