Arts integration should be utilized in school systems today. Art integration involves learning through art while content is simultaneously incorporated alongside. In the education system today, new concepts and ideas are being implemented into classrooms where they are seen fit. Art is not a new or advanced idea, but complete classroom integration is somewhat new. The time, funding, and preparation often stray educators away from successful art integration, however it is achievable. There are numerous benefits that come along with art integration such as higher order thinking, shifted mindsets, and overall art appreciation.
The outcomes of art integration confirm the need for a fully integrated educational setting across the school system. While some people do not approve of arts integration, I believe arts integration is a necessary element for successful educational experience. Art integration is often times overlooked in a classroom because some critics believe general education teachers do not have the knowledge or understanding that certified art teachers possess. Some feel that a fully art integrated classroom would take away from educators’ preparation periods due to the extra time and planning of new lessons.
If art is required to be integrated into a classroom, it has the potential to become devalued and washed down by regular education teachers. Other critics argue art incorporation in schools might be perceived as art only educational systems, which is not the sole focus in education. While there appear to be initial limitations to art integration, the overall learning from the integration process benefits students and educators alike. Success does not necessarily happen the first time; through practice, arts integration can lead to academic and cognitive achievements. Art integration should first be considered for the main focus of rt itself. “Students will have the opportunity to explore art and learn to appreciate its multiple forms. Arts integration provides students with opportunities to express themselves while actively engaging in the material they are learning, thus enhancing their creative problem-solving processes” (May, 2013, p. 5). The Artist Habits of Mind handout discusses a way in which art understanding is formed. The development of art is done through personal experience and eventually through worldly experiences. This idea of art is formed through observing. making, feeling, and using our bodies’ senses to develop an understanding of art.
Much like anything else, learning and selfreflection are essential for fully understanding something. Art is used to to help better understand certain ideas and concepts in school, and “when art and other content knowledge is authentically encountered and assimilated … it stands to reason that such knowledge is more memorable and its availability for transfer to other disciplinary endeavors is therefore greatly enhanced” (Franco, 2014, p. 31). Art is a powerful tool that should be further engaged in the classroom today. ” I think Lankford said it best as to why art should be appreciated for what it is or what its function may be.
He said: Art is valued for many different reasons for the pleasurable experiences it provides; for its economic worth; for its emotional impact; for its social criticism and political clout; because of sentimental associations; for its abilities to beautify, surprise, inspire, stimulate the imagination, inform, tell stories, and record history; for the insight it provides into the human condition; for the technical accomplishments it displays; for its characterization of national, regional or cultural spirit; for the status it affords its owners, and so forth’. Lankford, 1992, p. 19) His definition of captures the benefits humans experience when immersed in an artistic mindset. Art can come in all forms, whether it be music, performance, visual art, painting, poetry, photograph; it should be acknowledged for its efforts, meaning, and feeling that it gives off to people (Rasmussen, 2017). The advantages of art in combination with standard curriculum could strongly impact the mind. The development of an art appreciation will be incorporated alongside school curriculum, and thus transfer over into other subjects.
Regular content material is looked at in different ways through different strategies gained from the art experience. The mindset and thinking used when delving into art does not leave a student once art is removed, but transfers into other areas of thinking. When the arts are integrated with other aspects of the curriculum, students are required to use higher-order thinking skills and aesthetic qualities to gain further understanding of a particular academic concept. Critical thinking is involved when arts are integrated into a lesson.
This thinking is developed through the creative process by how we observe, engage, reflect, understand, or express our daily lives. Along with critical thinking, students are afforded the aspect of collaboration. In a classroom, collaboration is essential because it is a time for students to communicate their ideas off each other, offering new ways of thinking or interpretation. Besides a discussion based collaboration, students can also collaborate on works of art such as murals, comic strips, or short skits. With this collaborative process comes the skill of empathy.
Empathy is needed to understand and accept diverse points of view and value unique ideas. Various pieces of art or art collaborations do not always express a clear meaning to all people, thus it is crucial to understand other points of view. These skills gained in an art integrated setting are thus useful academically as well as socially. In order for successful arts integration to occur, the school must be supportive. The support comes in multiple forms such as monetary funding as well as curricular adaptations and preparation time.
For art integration to be effective, there must be qualified educators who dedicate the time to fully integrate artistic elements into standard curriculum with depth and meaning. With the best intentions in mind, it is “essential that art teachers and content teachers be given time to plan together to ensure that the integration of the arts into the classrooms was successful and meaningful for students” (Gullatt, 2008, p. 16). Successful integration is connected with the time allotment for planning, well researched information, and application to state standards.
The time and qualification aspect of arts integration is heavily criticized, however with school-wide support, art integration is efficacious. When educators are on the same level of understanding in regard to art and curricular collaboration, both art and the standards can be taken to the next level of learning. Art integration is not only beneficial for students, educators benefit as well. The mindset of both teachers and students can be changed through the arts integrated curriculum.
The scope of content and learning material becomes broadened, making the integration of art second nature. Learning through the arts provides students opportunity for constructing meaning of content related material through the use of the visual, dramatic, and musical arts while learning in the arts gives students the exposure to specific skills gained through instruction in these art forms” (Gullatt, 2008, p. 24). This mindset can only be achieved through meaningful, everyday incorporation, not just occasionally. The varied learning style also affords students an alternate way to confront content. Typically, arts integration will have some type of hands-on activity.
Some students may need a sensorimotor break or time to change up the daily school routine, art can allow for that to occur. In the classroom, “arts … provide assistance and enhancement for achieving increased student academic success” (Gullatt, 2008, p. 13) by providing students with a differing learning strategy. The integration of arts is a way to help students to look at an issue or concept from multiple lenses. The mindset that comes forth with art integration enables students a way to solve problems in a more creative approach.
Additionally, teachers will be able to ifferentiate art integrated lessons to assist different types of learners such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. The inclusion of art based activities offers the opportunity to close the gap between a ridged analytical mindset and creativity that art brings forth. With such influence, arts inclusion provides numerous educational benefits, allowing students to connect to the educational content. The combination of art, and art techniques alongside standard curriculum affords students the option to learn in a way that best suits their personal needs.
An art integrated curriculum should be mandatory across all school districts. While new integration and planning would take time and monetary funding, the learning that occurs is worth the expense. The integration process functions as a learning opportunity for both educators and students, and can serve as a time to evaluate potential art integrated lessons’ success. Once an educator has had success with an art integrated lesson plan, they can thus move forward to incorporate additional arts integrated materials.
Learning and growing together is what art integration produces in a classroom for students and educators. Art integration takes time and preparation, but when done properly, classrooms reap the benefits. The combination of art along with standard curriculum leads to shifted mindsets, higher order thinking, and an appreciation for art that continues into other areas of life. The integration of art in an educational setting speaks for itself; arts are a necessity to include in a successful learning environment.