HEARTS Higher Education, the Arts and Schools: An Experiment in Educating Teachers

Dick Downing, Emily Lamont, Mike Newby

01 May 2007

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HEARTS (Higher Education, the Arts and Schools) project was established with the intention of strengthening the arts element of initial training of primary school teachers. During the academic years 2004/6, six HEIs were given financial and practical support to introduce new programmes of arts work into their curricula.

Key Findings

  • Increased collaborative working was a key outcome of HEARTS for staff in the HEIs. Despite time constraints within the context of initial teacher education, the project demonstrated that there could be greater professional dialogue between tutors, and efforts should be made to enable this more widely.
  • The current cohorts of student teachers have only studied under the national curriculum and have largely experienced teaching to pre-determined outcomes. They expressed some surprise and even delight that it is possible to enable pupils to explore and find their own creative outcomes.
  • Trans-disciplinary and cross-curricular learning, with the arts as a central focus, were a feature of all of the HEARTS projects and were examples of how subject areas can come together meaningfully, for both teachers and learners.

Sponsor Details

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation