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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Arts Integration!

Arts Integration!

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I believe this group needs a new name to stand along side STEM and Technology Integration! ARTS INTEGRATION! Gale Sheaffer

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Stephen Hurley's picture
Stephen Hurley
Grade Eight Teacher, Group Moderator, Facilitator/teacher arts@newman

Hi Gayle,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm all over the arts integration name, but I know that there are people here that are teaching arts in a "specific discipline" type of way.

I would like to know, however, what people mean when they talk about arts integration.


Ingrid Tung's picture

Hi, Stephen. Just joined Edutopia and excited to find this discussion. I think one of the best examples of true arts integration is in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. There, art (in most cases visual art) is used, not to teach a specific lesson, but as one of the languages children use to represent their thoughts and understanding, and also to negotiate and construct meaning, knowledge and understanding with fellow classmates and teachers.

To do this effectively, however, students and teachers need skill and experience in whatever art they are using. The skill that these children display is quite remarkable.

Can something similar be done with music, drama, etc? Certainly. In the case of music, however, developing the skills necessary to use it in this way takes more time.

Have you seen the Lab Conservatory School in Boston (used to be affiliated with the New England Conservatory)? They are a good resource along with the Journal for Learning through Music (available free upon request).

An easier way to integrate arts is to construct individual lesson plans that synthesize some kind of learning in the arts and in another subject (e.g. physics + building instruments, etc.), and building relationships between subject teachers, art teachers and artists.

Finally, I think of arts integration as a way to integrate the "right brain" and all those "21st Century" skills and ways of thinking that are not necessarily addressed in classrooms today. Arts can model and add elements of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning (from Dan Pink's book A Whole New Mind) to the classroom.


C Grinnell's picture
C Grinnell
Art Teacher from the Adirondacks, New York

I think a group "Arts Integration" is a great idea, but a separate idea from this group, at least as I see it. As an art teacher, I am seeking discussions for my development and growth from others in similar fields. Integrating the arts is a complete topic on its own, and I would be interested in joining that group as well, I just feel it would attract a distinct audience that might be very different than this one. (Although many of us would I'm sure be a part of both)

@creativityassoc's picture
Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

I agree that arts integration would be a great discussion group on its own, but I also think that it's important to keep the discussion going in this group. Arts integration starts with the arts so it's a good idea to keep arts teachers talking about it. In my view, good arts integration needs artists. While classroom teachers can eventually do it by themselves, they need the support and training of artists first.

Christine Termini Passarella's picture
Christine Termini Passarella
Founder of The Kids for Coltrane Project in Education

I am enjoying this discussion. I teach through the arts. I am not an artist, but an artistic human being. I think too often teachers are stifled by the system because they are not "officially" art teachers, music teachers, etc. The program I founded "The Kids for Coltrane" connects the curriculum using media, dance, music, art, literacy, drama, math, social studies, and science. I do not see the arts as something separate...although it most certainly can be. Teaching through the arts is about communication. I know it works...and the best thing is that it connects the affective domain and the cognitive domain exquisitely.

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