New Teaching Performance Expectations on Visual and Performing Arts, Arts Integration

By Merryl Goldberg

Introduction by Joe Landon: On Thursday, June 16, 2016, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing took a bold step towards recognizing the importance of visual and performing arts as well as arts integration as components of the newly adopted Teaching Performance Expectations of California. What follows is a blog by Dr. Merryl Goldberg, Professor, CSU San Marcos, who was instrumental in the advocacy effort leading to these new guidelines, detailing what the changes are and what they mean for teachers and students in California.

If you are reading this blog, you probably need no convincing of the power of the arts as a discipline and pedagogical tool in our schools.  Well, now the State of California agrees with you.  The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has moved to strengthen and streamline its accreditation system, update teacher preparation standards and improve performance assessments by adopting new guidelines for the preparation of multiple subject teachers (K-8).  These new guidelines specifically call out the role of arts and arts integration in meeting the needs of learners. The California Alliance for Arts Education was actively involved in this effort along with many higher education partners and professors, including a convening within the California Council on Teacher Education in advocating for the inclusion of the visual and performing arts as well as identifying arts integration, directly in the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs).

After a lengthy review process (beginning in October 2014 and concluding in June 2016), TPEs for multiple subject teachers were adopted that now intentionally include the role of arts in engaging and supporting all learners, as well as the use of arts integration in understanding and organizing subject matter for student learning.  According to their process, a task force identified several areas to review to ensure TPEs (Teaching Performance Expectations) “reflected the field’s evolving set of expectations for teacher knowledge and ability,” and was “research-based and aligned to national teaching standards expectations.”

With the adoption of new TPEs and Expectations for the Teaching of Visual and Performing Arts, the Commission’s Preliminary Standards Task Group specifically identified  “integrating the use of visual and performing arts across content areas to support teaching and learning” as integral to the education of all learners. 

The adoption of the new TPEs and Expectations will drive important changes in the delivery of teacher preparation programs.  Programs will need to incorporate the arts more specifically throughout their curriculum.  The Commission does not dictate the delivery of curriculum, thus teacher education programs may develop their own methods of integrating the arts into teacher preparation.  This may include stand-alone classes on the arts disciplines and/or arts integration, or it may be woven throughout interdisciplinary programs.  Several CSUs, for example, have stand-alone classes on arts integration already geared toward future teachers.  And, most universities have general education classes on all of the arts.  Efforts to focus those classes for future teachers will take some attention.  Again, there are many universities with courses already geared toward this goal.

Getting into the weeds: The arts are woven through 2 of the 6 general areas of TPEs and have a stand-alone section on the expectations of teaching with, through and about the arts in a multiple subject classroom.

TPE 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning Elements Beginning Teachers

TPE 2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning

TPE 3: Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning

TPE 4: Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students

TPE 5: Assessing Student Learning

TPE 6: Developing as a Professional Educator

TPE 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning Elements Beginning Teachers

“Beginning teachers use a student's background and assessment of prior learning both in English and the home language, if applicable, to differentiate instruction and to select instructional materials and strategies, including the incorporation of visual and performing arts, to support the student in comprehension and production of Standard English.”

Specifically, TPE 1.7 states, “Provide students with opportunities to access the curriculum by incorporating the visual and performing arts, as appropriate to the content and context of learning.” 

TPE 3: Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning Elements 

“Beginning teachers provide multiple means for students to access content such as linguistic supports; technology, including assistive technology; elements of UDL; integrating other content areas, such as the arts; and accommodations and/or modifications to assessments and instruction.”

Specifically, TPE 3.3  states, “Plan, design, implement, and monitor instruction consistent with current subject-specific pedagogy in the content area(s) of instruction, and design and implement disciplinary and cross-disciplinary learning sequences, including integrating the visual and performing arts as applicable to the discipline.” 

Further discussion of the role of arts and arts integration throughout multiple subject classrooms is outlined in more detail in the part of the document addressing expectations for the visual and performing arts (quoted below).  In this section one can discern the connection between arts as text alongside of word-based text.  This matches the essence of the Common Core standards, which also call upon works of arts as texts.  If the state moves to adopt the National Core Arts Standards (anticipated it will), then inclusion of Media Arts should be added.  In any case, arts and technology, or Media Arts are fundamental to the arts as a whole and should be recognized as teacher educators revise their programs.

Expectations for Visual and Performing Arts 

Teaching Visual and Performing Arts in a Multiple Subject Assignment 

Beginning Multiple Subject teachers are responsible for instruction in the four arts content areas, per the California Education Code. They demonstrate the ability to teach the state-adopted academic content and applicable English Language Development Standards for students in the four arts content areas of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Beginning teachers understand that students gain from sequential instruction in each art content area, which extends student learning in the specific art discipline and students' realization that learning in these content areas builds transferable college and career readiness skills. Beginning teachers understand that learning in an arts discipline supports students in other academic subjects, fosters engagement in school and motivation to learn, and builds students' skills in collaboration and communication and in navigating and understanding the diversity of the world needed for success in college and career. Beginning teachers assure that students at various English proficiency levels have the academic language needed to meaningfully engage in the content. Beginning teachers: 

  • Understand and teach the foundational academic content of each arts discipline within the standards. 
  • Facilitate students' literacy development in the art form as well as in English. 
  • Craft a progression of complexity within each of the four arts content areas. 
  • Know the difference of discrete and interdisciplinary approaches and how to craft instruction in each arts discipline within multiple subject settings. 
  • Assess student learning in each art content area to promote student learning. 
  • Provide students with opportunity to see the value of arts learning and skill development for their future schooling and careers. 
  • Collaborate where possible with single subject arts teachers and/or community arts resources. 
  • Facilitate students' abilities to identify the aesthetic qualities of works of art and artistic performances. 
  • Assure that students are provided access to works of art that are broadly representative of cultural diversity.

Next Steps

Sponsors of teacher preparation programs will be expected to revise their programs in response to the revised program standards, and adopted TPEs.  

Needs addressing: Media Arts (in National Core Arts Standards)

Though the arts are woven through two of the TPEs and have their own stand-alone section, we believe they are also crucial in the other general categories of the TPEs.  We would encourage teacher educators to be mindful of the power and potential of the arts within the other TPEs as well.

There are no “arts education police” in the state to ensure compliance within programs – especially in school districts where our teachers land up.  Attention to statewide compliance and sharing of best practices might be of particular use and importance at this juncture.

Expectations for single subject teaching of art and music (high school) are also addressed in the TPE document.   We look forward to the future inclusion of theatre and dance (TADA!) if/when those credentials come onboard in the state as well.

A connection between the goals/practices of Title I and teacher education should also be recognized as universities move forward in implementing the new TPEs and Expectations.  Throughout the US educators are recognizing the role of arts in meeting the goals of Title I, i.e. improving student academic achievement, student engagement, school climate and parent involvement.  There is considerable vetted research accessible with a few clicks that make the case for administrators that the arts are powerful tools in meeting Title I goals.  See below for the link to the Title I arts website.

The TPE document in full (51 pages) can be found here:



Goldberg, M. (2017) Arts Integration: Teaching Subject Matter through the Arts in Multicultural Settings, 5th Edition, NY: Routledge (out in July 2016)