||MERN Forum 1, Concurrent Session 2E
||Jerry Ameis, University of Winnipeg
||The effect of the Learning through the Arts program on mathematics teaching and learning
||The Learning through the Arts (LTTA) program currently operates in the St.James School Division. The program involves professional artists (e.g.: song writers, story tellers, musicians) working with students after discussing learning outcomes with teachers. A particular artist conducts three LTTA sessions in a classroom (once a week for three consecutive weeks). During each session, the artist implements activities that incorporate an outcome(s) from a Manitoba curriculum. In the case of the six classrooms involved in this study, the activities incorporate mathematics outcomes (e. g.: geometry through the visual arts, multiplication through song writing). This set of three LTTA sessions occurs in the fall, winter, and spring, with a different artist involved for each set.
This study investigates the effects of the LTTA program on the professional development of Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 teachers in relation to their mathematics teaching practice and the effects on the mathematics learning and engagement of Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students. Two LTTA schools are involved, a school in a low-socio economic neighbourhood and one in a high socio-economic neighbourhood, with three LTTA classrooms (a Kindergarten, a grade 1, and a grade 2) selected from each school.
The research consists of four main components:
1. Themathematics achievement of LTTA Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students compared to that of non-LTTA Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students.
2. The effect of the LTTA program on the mathematical learning and engagement of selected Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students.
3. The nature of the mathematics engagement provided by LTTA artists.
4. The effect of the LTTA program on the mathematics teaching practice of participating Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 teachers.
Component 1 involves comparing the post mathematics achievement of the LTTA Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students from the six classrooms to the post mathematics achievement of non-LTTA Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 students, using a paired t-test. LTTA students will be paired with non-LTTA students on four matching variables: (1) entry level in mathematics achievement, (2) entry level in literacy, (3) engagement style of teachers, and (4) family income (an indicator of socio-economic status).
Components 2, 3, and 4 involve observing and interviewing participants. Two students have been selected from each participating LTTA classroom, with one student exhibiting high mathematics achievement and the other low mathematics achievement as determined by the students¹ classroom teacher. These students are observed and interviewed with respect to their mathematical learning and engagement during LTTA sessions. The artists are observed and interviewed with respect to the nature of the engagement strategies used. The teachers are interviewed with respect to the impact the LTTA strategies have on their approach to teaching mathematics.
Because the research has only recently begun, there is little to report yet. It is expected that results and conclusions will be available in the fall of 2004.