The Power of Arts Education and Mentorship with Erica Halverson

Mike Palmer picks the brain of Erica Halverson, a theater artist turned education professor at the top-ranked University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s also the host of the Arts Educators Save the World Podcast. Halverson passionately makes the case that the arts should transform how we approach teaching and learning across all disciplines.

Drawing from her background running an arts education non-profit and her current artist residency program called Whoopensocker, Erica stresses the need to uplift and center arts practices in education. She argues this will better prepare students for an uncertain future where skills like innovation, creativity, and comfort with failure will be paramount.

Halverson advocates moving away from the model of arts as a separate “specials” class and toward fully integrating an artistic, maker mindset throughout the curriculum. The process of creating and revising creative works can be applied to enhance learning in subjects like math, science and beyond.

Key Takeaways:

  • The experiences of art-making should be centered as core to what it means to be human and to care about education. Arts are not just “nice-to-have” but fundamental to teaching and learning.
  • The arts allow a learner asset-focused approach rather than just skills-focused. Making and creating artifacts surfaces expertise and misunderstandings – the essence of learning.
  • Practices like improvisation, collaboration, and embracing failure are vital for good teaching and preparing students for an unsettled future of work.

Don’t miss this insightful discussion on integrating the arts into education at all levels and advocating for transformative, arts-based learning experiences.

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