Arts Integrated Learning – The Chicago School Reviews

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Arts Integrated Learning

    Arts integrated learning is defined as an approach to education that     employs the use of the fine arts, both visual and performing, as a     primary path to education in main subjects, such as science,     English, and mathematics – and, in turn, uses these subjects to     enhance learning of the arts. Not all forms of arts in the classroom     can necessarily be referred to as art integration. Arts education,     in the traditional sense, is art class. Students gather together     with an art, music, or dance teacher whose primary purpose in the     school is to teach lessons focused on the arts, separate from the     aforementioned major subjects. In this case, art is the curriculum     and it is viewed as supplementary to the core subjects.

    Many teachers have been enhancing their curricula with the arts for     years. Arts enhancement, while valuable, is also distinct from arts     integration. Arts enhancement creates scenarios where students can,     for example, listen to music from the geographical location that     they are learning about while they work on social studies projects,     or illustrate a story that they are writing in English class. Arts     enhancement is a useful tool for educators but, again, is not the     same as arts integration.

    Arts integration ideally does the work of seamlessly tying together     traditional classroom instruction and art instruction. According to     Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), “it is essential     that arts instruction integrate with academic instruction.” This     organization believes that art education and traditional classroom     education belong together, because by “teaching the skills     necessary to make a work of art … the art making becomes a richer     experience by exploring complex, challenging non-arts subjects.”

    When art making and classroom education are integrated, both are     given equal importance. CAPE asserts that teaching children about     art-making techniques and theories can and will actually enhance     their knowledge of core subjects, giving them the language and     analytical skills to approach their academic work from new creative     angles. CAPE also believes that “art made from an integrated     curriculum is more compelling” because the academic and artistic     schoolwork are constantly in dialogue with each other.

    One of the most important parts of an arts integrated curriculum is     the sheer enjoyment of it. Study after study has proven that kids     are more willing to learn when their interest in the subject is     greater and they retain more knowledge when they are actually having     fun in school. When students are learning, for example, math through     dance, or history through writing and performing a play, they face     new challenges. Young people have to think hard, work together and     individually in new ways, and think out of the box.

    For more information explore the following sources about arts     integrated learning: