Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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The Art of  
A Workshop for High School Teachers
the Arts

In This Program


Theatre teacher applauds students in a classroom

Visual Art

Two visual art students explain masks they made


Student musicians in band practice


A dance teacher works with two students

Workshop 3 Addressing the Diverse Needs of Students

Watching the Program Additional Resources Support Materials
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Activities and Discussion
(45 minutes)   |  Homework

Part I. Learning Styles and Teaching Methods (25 minutes)

Read the following passage about learning styles:

Students take in and process information in different ways: by seeing and hearing, reflecting and acting, reasoning logically and intuitively, analyzing and visualizing steadily and sporadically. Teaching methods also vary. Some teachers lecture, others demonstrate or lead students to self-discovery; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding.

The idea is not to teach each student exclusively according to his or her preferences, but rather to strive for a balance of instructional methods. If the balance is achieved, students will be taught partly in a manner they prefer, which leads to an increased comfort level and willingness to learn, and partly in a less preferred manner, which provides practice and feedback in ways of thinking and solving problems which they may not initially be comfortable with but which they will have to use to be fully effective professionals.

From ?Learning Styles? by Richard M. Felder,

Use the Learning Styles and the Arts Worksheet (below) to chart connections between your arts curriculum and students' different learning styles.

The worksheet has some boxes already filled in. These represent some of the most obvious fits between art forms and learning styles. Go down the list for your art form, and identify places in your curriculum where you address the less obvious learning styles — or where you might try to do so.

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Visual learners better understand what they see.


Reading music




Verbal learners get more out of written and spoken words.





Sequential learners gain understanding in linear steps, which follow logically from the previous one.

Dancing patterns



Global learners learn in large jumps, absorbing material without seeing many connections, and then suddenly "getting it."


Analyzing artworks


Sensing learners like learning facts and solving problems by well-established methods.


Reading and playing music



Intuitive learners prefer discovering possibilities and relationships.




Kinesthetic Tactile

Kinesthetic learners retain and understand information best by doing something active with it.




Reflective learners prefer to think about things quietly.


Writing a play


* Developed from “Learning Styles and Strategies” by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman, http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/ILSdir/styles.htm

As a group, discuss which learning styles people think are easiest to address, and which are hardest to address. See if by sharing strategies across art forms, participants can gain a larger repertoire for addressing challenging learning styles.

Part II. Accomodating Students With Special Needs (20 minutes)

Read and discuss the following passages about the arts and disabilities:

Marcel Proust wrote: “Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees. ” When we see art as the universal language that has the ability to unite all people, we understand the importance it has in the lives of people with disabilities. For a person who cannot speak, a dance performance may clearly communicate even the most complicated message. For a person with a mental disability who cannot communicate effectively through words, a painting rich with color and life may say more than verbal sentences ever could. And, for a person who has limited mobility, a song sung with emotion and spirit may elicit movement toward a state of clarity and joy. By engaging in the arts, people with disabilities are able to contribute to our workplaces and communities, help extinguish old stereotypes regarding disability, and create a global culture truly representative of all people.

From Access and Opportunities: A Guide to Disability Awareness ? Value of the Arts to People with Disabilities, VSA arts

All students deserve access to the rich education and understanding that the arts provide, regardless of their background, talents, or disabilities. In particular, students with disabilities, who are often excluded from arts programs, can derive great benefit from them for the same reasons that studying the arts benefits students who are not disabled. As in any area of the curriculum, providing a sound education in the arts depends in great measure on creating access to opportunities and resources.

From National Standards for Arts Education. Copyright © 1994 by Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Used by permission. The complete National Arts Standards and additional materials relating to the Standards are available from MENC ? The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191.

Use the Special Needs and the Arts Worksheet (below) to discuss how your arts program provides access and opportunities for students with special challenges.

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Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairments affect a person's independent movement and cause limited mobility. They may take the form of paralysis, muscle weakness, nerve damage, stiffness of the joints, or lack of balance or coordination.



Blindness and Visual Impairments

Visual impairments include conditions such inability to read with glasses, tunnel vision, and color blindness. People who have congenital blindness have been without sight since early childhood or birth. People who have adventitious blindness lost their sight later in life.



Deafness and Hearing Impairments

For people who are deaf, the major issue is not their inability to hear, but the challenges they experience in communicating with hearing people. Persons who are deaf choose to communicate in a variety of ways, including speaking, sign language, lip reading, cued speech, and writing.



Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are manifested by significant difficulties in listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, and/or mathematical ability. The primary problems do not involve collecting information (as in sensory disabilities), but in interpreting, translating, or recalling information.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD or ADD is a persistent pattern of inattention, hyper-activity, and impulsiveness.



Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities include brain injury, autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and other neurological impairments.



* Developed from “Access and Opportunities: A Guide to Disability Awareness,” VSA arts, PDF http://familieslead.org/files/2614/1281/0328/Access_and_Opportunities.pdf

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