September 27, 2021

Arts in Education Glossary

Reading Time:   10 min

Thank you to Monisha Bhayana for developing this resource!

AELs (Arts Education Liaisons) ~ individuals designated by each school’s principal who serve as conduits for arts learning and help all students meet NYS instructional requirements for arts education; liaisons serve as the arts point person for their schools, facilitate all communications around the arts, assist in arts programming, and establish relationships with arts organizations and cultural institutions[1]. Click here to see the most recent list of Arts Liaisons.  

Applied Theatre ~ use of drama and theatrical techniques in non-traditional settings and contexts, such as in education, politics, community centers, prisons, and museums, typically with a focus on social change[2]

Art ~ a visual object or experience created through an expression of skill or imagination that expresses ideas, feelings, or emotions[3]

Artistic Disciplines ~ branches of knowledge and instruction in the arts, including dance, media arts, visual arts, folk arts, music, and theatre[4]

Arts Administrator ~ individuals responsible for the day-to-day operations of cultural organizations, including marketing, public relations, fundraising, and staff management, as well as fulfilling the organization’s long-term goals, vision, mission and mandate[5]

Arts-Based Curriculum ~ curriculum focused on developing knowledge and skills in a particular art form; arts are the core subjects and other subjects are taught through use of the arts, blending arts across all curriculum areas[6] [7]

Arts Committee to the PEP ~ committee composed of educators and representatives from arts organizations throughout New York City which advocates to the PEP for arts education in schools

ArtsCount ~ initiative designed to create greater accountability for arts education in schools by incorporating arts metrics into measurement of school performance; provides annual Individual Arts Reports for schools and the Annual Arts in Schools Report, an aggregate system-wide arts report publication[8]

Arts in Education ~ the inclusion and incorporation of arts in mainstream education, often through partnership of students and teachers with artists, arts, and/or cultural institutions[9]

Arts in Schools Report ~ annual report including data about arts teachers, arts budgeting, space for the arts, partnerships with arts and cultural organizations, and parent involvement in elementary, middle and high schools; aims to show how schools are progressing towards offering universal arts education to all students[10]

Arts Integration ~ approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form by incorporating the arts into the core curriculum; students explore connections between an art form and another subject area (e.g. social studies), gaining a greater understanding of and meeting learning objectives for both[11]

Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts ~ a curriculum framework for what students in grades K through 12 should know, understand, and be able to achieve in dance, music, theatre and visual arts; standards-based approach to teaching the arts in New York City[12]

Borough Arts Directors ~ employees within the OASP assigned to school districts in each borough who focus on providing high quality arts programming to all students, culminating in the annual Borough Arts Festival[13]

Borough Arts Festival ~ year-end events held in each borough of NYC to celebrate the creativity of students and teachers through arts exhibitions and public performances, highlighting achievement in the arts[14]

CASA (Cultural After-School Adventures Program) ~ initiative funded in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council that supports after-school arts programming in public schools in all five NYC boroughs through partnerships with cultural organizations[15]

Certified Arts Instructor ~ an arts instructor/educator who is certified to teach by the state

Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Pedagogy ~ teaching framework aimed to help educators create student-centered learning environments that: affirm racial, linguistic, and cultural identities, prepare students for rigor and independent learning, develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference, elevate historically marginalized voices, and empower students as agents of social change[16]

Curriculum ~ knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, including learning standards or objectives, units and lessons taught, assignments and projects given to students, course materials, and assessments[17]

Devising ~ the act of creating or inventing something new, often done collaboratively or using improvisational techniques

Improvisation ~ the act of doing something (i.e., creating, performing, producing) that is not previously planned or prepared

Learning Outcomes ~ measurable statements that describe the knowledge or skills students should acquire by the end of a particular assignment, activity, class, course or program[18]

Lesson Planning ~ creation of an educator’s road map of what students need to learn, how it will be taught, any learning objectives, and how learning will be assessed

MLL (Multilingual Learners) ~ students who speak several languages; sometimes referred to as English Language Learners (ELL)

Multi-Disciplinary ~ combining or involving many disciplines

Multiple Intelligences ~ the theory that there are different types of intelligence and therefore different ways to learn and acquire information; traditionally refers to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences which includes spatial, naturalist, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, intra-personal, interpersonal and logical-mathematical[19]

National Core Arts Standards ~ process that guides educators in providing a unified quality arts education for students in grades pre-K through high school in the disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts through integration of the processes, skills and knowledge, sample assessments, and criteria for successful learning into a single system[20]

NCCAS (National Coalition for Core Arts Standards) ~ alliance of national arts and arts education organizations dedicated to ensuring quality standards-based arts opportunities for all students; creators of the National Core Arts Standards[21]

NYS Learning Standards for the Arts ~ set of learning standards and expectations for students in grades pre-K through 12 in New York State designed to develop artistically literate citizens in the disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts[22]

OASP (Office of Arts and Special Projects) ~ office within the Office of Curriculum Instruction and Professional Learning (CIPL) focused on providing public school students universal access to high-quality arts education by supporting arts educators, school leaders and students through curriculum development, professional development, partnerships with cultural organizations, and by providing professional platforms for students to share their work[23]

Pedagogy ~ the method and practice of teaching

PEP (Panel for Educational Policy) ~ fifteen member governing body of the NYC Department of Education, with five members appointed by each borough president, nine appointed by the mayor of NYC, and one appointed by the Community Education Council Presidents[24]

Reflection ~ the process of assessing and considering the learning process and what was learned in the lesson, class, activity, etc.

Residency/Artist-in-Residence ~ a series of sessions with a qualified teaching artist in which students are immersed in a particular art form, often used to teach a core subject area through use of the arts[25]

Sensory Storytelling ~ method of storytelling which incorporates interactive sensory moments that activate each of the senses (touch, smell, sight, taste, touch, spatial) [26]

Social Emotional Learning ~ process of developing and applying social and emotional skills, including the core competencies of self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness[27]

SU-CASA ~ community arts engagement program funded by the New York City Council that places artists and arts organizations in residence at senior centers across NYC’s five boroughs; provides grants to artists and organizations for the creation and delivery of arts programing for seniors, including a public program component, such as readings, performances or exhibits, open to the surrounding community[28]

Summer in the City ~ free interactive arts and cultural classes provided over the summer for NYC public school students by a coalition of over 40 arts and cultural organizations[29]

Summer Rising ~ free summer program providing a combination of academics and school-based enrichment programming for NYC students in grades K through 8 and academic and work-based experiences for NYC high school students (unique to Summer 2021)[30]

SWD (Student with Disabilities) ~ students with a physical or mental impairments who may participate in special education services and have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)[31]

Teaching Artist ~ a practicing artist who has also developed the skills and experience of an educator, who can engage participants in learning experiences, in, through, and about the arts in schools and communities[32]

TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) ~ branch of theatre that is created for and attended by children and families

Workshop ~ a hands-on educational experience that emphasizes the development of skills and techniques[33]


[1] Arts Education Liaisons. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/teachlearn/arts/artsliaisons.html

[2] Jackson, A., & Vine, C. (2013). Learning Through Theatre: The Changing Face of Theatre in Education (3rd ed.). Routledge.

[3] Art. (n.d.). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/art/visual-arts

[4] Glossary of Arts and Education Terms. (n.d.). Grantmakers in the Arts. https://www.giarts.org/article/glossary-arts-and-education-terms

[5] Arts administration. (2020, December 22). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_administration

[6] What is Arts Integration? (n.d.). The Kennedy Center. https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/resources-for-educators/classroom-resources/articles-and-how-tos/articles/collections/arts-integration-resources/what-is-arts-integration/

[7] Glossary of Arts and Education Terms. (n.d.). Grantmakers in the Arts. https://www.giarts.org/article/glossary-arts-and-education-terms

[8] ArtsCount. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/teachlearn/arts/arts-count.html

[9] Glossary of Arts and Education Terms. (n.d.). Grantmakers in the Arts. https://www.giarts.org/article/glossary-arts-and-education-terms

[10] Annual Arts in Schools Reports. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education InfoHub. https://infohub.nyced.org/reports/academics/annual-arts-in-schools-reports

[11] What is Arts Integration? (n.d.). The Kennedy Center. https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/resources-for-educators/classroom-resources/articles-and-how-tos/articles/collections/arts-integration-resources/what-is-arts-integration/

[12] NYC Department of Education. (n.d.). ArtsCount: A Guide for Principals. https://www.weteachnyc.org/media2016/filer_public/00/72/00722669-5051-4b19-9744-4cae979a1932/arts_count_principals_guide.pdf.  A copy of the Blueprint and accompanying tools are available on the OASP website and at this link: https://www.weteachnyc.org/resources/collection/blueprint-for-teaching-and-learning-in-the-arts/

[13] Borough Arts Festivals. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education InfoHub. https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/arts-education/arts-education-school-programs/borough-arts-festivals.  Contact information for Borough Arts Directors is available here: https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/arts-education/arts-education-school-programs/office-of-arts-and-special-projects-contacts

[14] Borough Arts Festivals. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education InfoHub. https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/arts-education/arts-education-school-programs/borough-arts-festivals

[15] New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. (n.d.). Fiscal Year 2021 Cultural After School Adventures (CASA) Initiative Guidelines. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dcla/downloads/pdf/casa-guidelines.pdf

[16] Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework. (n.d.). New York State Education Department. http://www.nysed.gov/curriculum-instruction/culturally-responsive-sustaining-education-framework#:%7E:text=The%20Culturally%20Responsive%2DSustaining%20(CR,lines%20of%20difference%3B%20elevate%20historically

[17] Curriculum Definition. (2015, August 12). The Glossary of Education Reform. https://www.edglossary.org/curriculum/

[18] What Are Learning Outcomes? (2015, August 19). Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation. https://teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching-support/course-design/developing-learning-outcomes/what-are-learning-outcomes/

[19] Marenus, M. (2020, June 9). Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/multiple-intelligences.html

[20] National Core Arts Standards. (n.d.). National Core Arts Standards. https://www.nationalartsstandards.org/

[21] National Core Arts Standards. (n.d.). National Core Arts Standards. https://www.nationalartsstandards.org/

[22] Arts Learning Standards. (n.d.). New York State Education Department. http://www.nysed.gov/curriculum-instruction/arts-standards-implementation-resources

[23] About OASP. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/teachlearn/arts/about.html

[24] Panel for Educational Policy. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/leadership/panel-for-education-policy

[25] Glossary of Arts and Education Terms. (n.d.). Grantmakers in the Arts. https://www.giarts.org/article/glossary-arts-and-education-terms

[26] Sensory Storytelling Resource. (n.d.). Different Planet Arts. https://differentplanetarts.org.uk/sensory-storytelling-resource/

[27] What is SEL? (n.d.). Casel. https://casel.org/what-is-SEL/

[28] Creative Aging – DCLA. (n.d.). NYC Cultural Affairs. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dcla/programs/creative-aging.page

[29] Summer in the City. (n.d.). Summer in the City. https://www.summerinthecity.nyc/

[30] Summer Rising. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/summer

[31] Special Education in NYC. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learning/special-education/preschool-to-age-21/special-education-in-nyc

[32] Booth, E. (2020). The History of Teaching Artistry. Eric Booth. http://ericbooth.net/the-history-of-teaching-artistry-revised-2020/

[33] Workshop. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved May 19, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/workshop