By Dana Powell Russell, Ed.D., lndependent Evaluation Consultant, and the Institute for Learning Innovation.
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Summary: The Asian Art Museum’s Bridge Program is a series of initiatives to update and expand the museum’s educational resources and programs. This report summarizes a teacher needs assessment commissioned by the Asian Art Museum and written in a collaboration between Dana Powell Russell, Ed.D., Independent Evaluation Consultant, and the Institute for Learning Innovation. An online survey and focus groups of teacher needs for curriculum and programs on Asian art and culture helped the museum understand how current materials and programs are perceived and used by the K-12 community. Interim and summative data will also be collected as the Bridge Program unfolds, with the intent of measuring progress against the baseline results and toward program goals and objectives.
About the Bridge Program
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco received a major grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to launch its new Bridge Program, a series of initiatives to update and expand the museum’s educational resources and programs with an emphasis on K-l2 teacher and school programs, new outreach programs to teens in the local community, and an expanded website. The museum seeks to position itself as a major resource for teaching about Asia. This study is the first step in defining the course of action needed to fulfill this vision. The Bridge Program will be implemented over a 4-1/2 year period, and aims to serve thousands of local, regional, statewide, and national stakeholders in the arts, education, and Asian Studies communities.
As the global impact of Asia in the 21st century continues to grow, new resources are needed to help teachers provide quality education about Asia in the nation’s schools. Yet, due to lack of funding, instructional materials and up-to-date professional development opportunities, teachers often have little support and few resources to enrich their curriculum. In fact, a study published by New York’s Asia Society entitled Asla in the Schools: Preparing Young Americans for Today’s lnterconnected World ( 2OO1), revealed that although many schools incorporate Asia into their curriculum, instructional materials on Asia “is outdated and superficial or, even worse, distorted and inaccurate” (2001:7 ). The study also found
that although teachers often strive to incorporate teaching about Asia into their curriculum, “they must do so without adequate background [information]” and there are few professional development opportunities to update and enhance their knowledge (National Commission on Asia in the Schools, 2001:7). That said, museums–having increasingly positioned themselves as educational resources–have the potential to fill the gaps left by the inadequate resources on Asia in schools throughout the nation. The Asian Art Museum seeks to spearhead efforts to fill these gaps through its Bridge Program.
Purpose of the Study
The Asian Art Museum hired two independent evaluators to design the online survey and facilitate focus groups to gauge teacher needs for curriculum and programs on Asian art and culture, and to discover how the Asian Art Museum’s current materials and programs are perceived and used by the K-12 community. The study will inform the museum on how it can strengthen the reach, usability, and impact of its educational programs and resources through its Bridge Program. lnterim and summative data will also be collected as the Bridge Program unfolds, with the intent of measuring progress against the baseline results and toward program goals and objectives.
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