Professional Development: The Arts are Left Behind

By | 2016-10-29T11:35:24+00:00 November 12th, 2014|

One of the reasons we are so passionate about the resources we offer here at EducationCloset is that they help stop the gap that is happening for teacher professional development.  When it comes to PD, arts-focused educators get the short end of the stick. While there are hundreds of thousands of arts educators, professional development that is meaningful to arts-focused work is nearly impossible to find at the school-level.  This is where online learning can play a huge role and why we choose to offer so many of our resources virtually, including our classes, resource guides, live events, and the ONLY online conference dedicated to arts integration and STEAM.


Professional Development: The Arts are Left Behind


Given that this is national distance learning week, we wanted to share with you some facts that you may not know about arts-focused professional learning:

K-12 teachers indicate that teachers believe the arts are important in education, but use them rarely. They are hindered by a lack of professional development and intense pressure to teach the mandated curriculum.”  (Oreck, 2004)

“Arts-integrated professional development provides an important sense of community and respect among arts teachers, classroom educators and administration in schools.” (Burnaford, 2009)

“Online teacher professional development has the same effect on student learning and teacher behavior as more traditional face-to-face models.” (Fishman, Konstantopoulos, Kubitskey, Vath, Park,  Johnson, and Edelson, 2013)


The following national professional arts organizations ALL offer some sort of online professional learning:

National Art Educators Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Dance Education Organization, and American Alliance for Theatre and Education.


Online Conferences are catching on in the arts!  Here are some organizations that offer virtual conferences specific to arts educators:

Virtual Music Education Conference 

Virtual NAEA Conference

Whole Child Virtual Conference 

And of course, we offer the semi-annual Connectivity STEAM Conference which is completely virtual as well.


Online learning is definitely something that we can leverage for all areas, but especially the arts, as we look for more personalized, meaningful growth and networking opportunities.  How do you leverage online learning to meet your needs?  I’d love to hear about what virtual opportunities you are utilizing!




About the Author:

Susan Riley is the founder and President of She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.

Email Susan