What is Arts Integration
Integrated curriculum connects skills and content from a variety of disciplines to examine a central theme or topic. Once teachers, classroom teachers and arts specialists, identify the natural connections between different subject areas, they can work together to create more meaningful learning experiences for their students. By building a unit on a central theme or topic, teachers can capitalize on the strengths of other colleagues and benefit from the transfer of learning that occurs from one discipline to another. The creative and higher order thinking skills, which are so critical to succeed in today's educational and working environments, become a necessity as students learn about issues and concepts that transcend traditional boundaries of facts and dates. The curriculum becomes more vibrant and relevant when approached in an integrated manner.
Arts-integrated curriculum takes the integration process one step further by using a work of art, such as a painting, a piece of music, a dance movement, or a dramatic performance to strengthen and deepen the learning experience. In a truly integrated unit, the arts and all the subject areas are connected to the curriculum thematically to teach a major concept. With that in mind, careful planning needs to be given to how each learning experience plays a role in teaching, reinforcing, and enlivening the integrated unit.
There are many benefits for students involved in arts-integrated lessons:
- Increased engagement and focused learning in all subjects
- Increased ability to use multiple solutions in problem-solving
- More significant participation and appreciation of the arts
- Increased self-motivation in the learning process
- Ability to see connections between the arts and other subject areas
- Transfer and apply knowledge across other disciplines
The arts - dance, music, theatre and visual art - offer authentic learning experiences for all students. They can frequently help teachers reach students who are not otherwise being reached because the arts transform the school environment into active, engaged learning opportunities. The arts can also enliven assessment strategies. Knowledge about the various subject areas can be demonstrated through one of the art forms. Students can create, perform, and respond to the arts in a variety of ways depending on their interests and learning styles.