Pandemic Impact on Arts ed

Results from a survey conducted Dec. 2020-Jan. 2021


The global pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused a significant impact on nearly every aspect of life, including arts educators and their students. After months of altered patterns of instruction, changes in scheduling and sometimes shifting methods of delivery, MAAE wanted to learn from arts educators about perceived changes to teaching and learning which may require support. To help gain this information, Missouri arts educators were invited to take a survey - measuring their perceptions about the pandemic’s impact on their teaching, their student's learning and on arts education.

100 respondents from varied arts disciplines and years of teaching experience volunteered to share their perceptions about several aspects of teaching and learning. Over 90% of the respondents taught in a K-12 setting. The majority of teachers identified as music or visual arts teachers (89%) with limited representation from theatre, and dance. 58% of the 100 respondents were veteran teachers with more than 16 years of experience.

Questions about enrollment, instructional time, student engagement, potential learning loss, and teacher workload were answered. The option of sharing anecdotal comments was offered after each question, and overall trends within the comments are outlined below:

  • A majority (57%) reported a decline in enrollment - It may be important to note that there were multiple interpretations of the term “enrollment” reflected in the comments given.

  • 68% reported concerns with student engagement - Contributing factors included:

  • Patterns of instruction

  • Technological issues

  • Parental/home influence

  • An increase in teacher creativity was noted

  • 62% reported a decrease in instructional time - contributing factors including:

  • Pandemic protocols

  • Demands of quarantined students

  • Cleaning and sanitizing

  • Tech troubleshooting

  • Student wellness checks

  • Altered schedules

  • Altered instructional methods through a digital platform

  • Utilizing “in-person” time in less efficient ways

  • 94% reported a heavier workload; 67% described the workload as a lot heavier. Staff workload increases took the form of additional time commitments for

  • PD, tech training and safety protocols

  • Creation or adaptation of non-virtual instructional materials

  • Changes in assessment increased grading duties

  • Cleaning and sanitizing

  • Student contact and shifting student groups

  • Providing dual instruction

  • 93% of the respondents shared concerns about student learning and skill development. Respondents shared specific concerns including student engagement through virtual delivery methods as students move in and out of quarantine situations, and shifts in course content. There seems to be a general belief that learning is happening, that concepts are being addressed, but teachers have concerns about the extent of the learning, concerns about the future and some do not feel supported by those in charge of scheduling and resource allocation. Measurement of learning loss was not addressed.

Respondents were given the option of sharing successful arts activities during the pandemic. A few stated that “nothing” was successful, while the majority of the twenty-three respondents listed virtual concerts, virtual art shows and virtual field trips, among other specific classroom successes.

Respondents were also given the opportunity to share what they believed would be most helpful to them. Concrete suggestions included funding for training, technology and time for planning, support for teacher mental health and well-being and desire to have the arts treated in a similar manner to other subject areas.

Respondents were offered an incentive of a chance to win a $50 gift card for classroom supplies to entice very busy people to fit the survey into their schedule.

In conclusion, the pandemic had a significant impact on teaching and learning in the arts in several key areas. As our nation continues its recovery, and our schools begin to return to an as yet undefined new normal, we should begin building support at the local level to ensure that the needs of Missouri’s arts educators and their students are considered, that learning losses in the arts are addressed, and the benefits of a rigorous and robust arts education are enjoyed.

View Full report here.