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Why Do Some Teachers Avoid Arts Integration?

Not to beat a dead horse, but given the one-pointed focus on STEM, it’s not surprising that some teachers avoid arts integration to facilitate instruction in their specific subject.

After all, with funding continually stripped from arts and music programs in public schools, there are certainly those who believe that the benefits of arts education are minimal, at best.

That’s a drag, to be sure. Because teaching subjects through art (and vice versa) is an effective way to reach students who may otherwise get lost in the shuffle.

Arts Integration Education, In a Nut Shell

Art was once considered a crucial part of a well-rounded education. In the past decade though, its importance is repeatedly downplayed. This is despite many studies  showing how exposing students to art helps them to understand academics as well.

This is at the core of arts integration education.

If you’re not already familiar, arts integration is an approach to education wherein students construct and demonstrate comprehension through an art form. This could be in fine arts, writing, dance, music, acting, digital arts, etc. Connecting an art form and another subject allows students to engage in a creative process that not only boosts academic achievement but promotes self-confidence.

Some of the more liberated or enlightened schools are seeing the benefits of weaving the arts into everything they do.

Examples of Arts Integration

Introducing theories and concepts through art deepens the level of understanding because students are involved in a hands-on way and creating their own learning.

What might this look like?

A math teacher may choose to teach geometry through the

artwork of Wassily Kandinsky. After observing and talking about the work, the teacher may instruct them to create art using angles in the style of Kandinsky, and then identify the angles and be able to point them out.

Meanwhile, a science teacher could take leaf classification to new levels by also integrating it with fine arts. The instructor could have students render realistic drawings based on a leaf’s edge pattern. Then the studentswould be asked to take the scientific qualities of the leaf to make abstract art. This exercise teachers the difference between realistic and abstract art.

There are countless other ways educators can make connections between even the most straightforward subjects and art to teach their students higher analytical thinking and reasoning.

So Then Why Do Some Teachers Avoid Arts Integration

One problem is that art has for a long time been considered secondary to academic standards. The emphasis on STEM has further cemented this. So teachers don’t necessarily see the benefits of using art to teach.

Another big factor is that art can deter people who are not in the arts. As such, many conventional (i.e. non-art) teachers don’t think of themselves as creative enough to incorporate arts integration into their teaching. They feel that if they are not competent artists, then they will never be able to use arts integration as a tool.

Yet, they are often doing just that when they break down a lessoninto steps. They’re helping heir students think creatively through a process to produce a result.

When educators understand that they don’t need to be experts in any sort of art form to teach through art, there may be more openness to it. There are experts all over the internet that are willing to share their knowledge. In addition, local and state arts organizations are always willing to collaborate with educators to support this work.

Getting Used to Something New

As with any initiative, there are going to be bumps and road blocks to clear. While teachers don’t need to be artistic to use the arts in their teaching, some professional develop can really facilitate the process. Gaining knowledge of the basic fundamentals such as balance, repetition, contrast, and emphasis can help teachers better understand how to merge art concepts with their own teachings. 

As for the students, the vast majority of younger people are open to the arts. They are naturally eager to explore and want to make their own choices and decisions. This is difficult in a traditional school setting with narrow limitations and strict standards.  is all your students need.”

Getting conventional schools on board is proving to be a steep uphill battle. Yet the increasing presence and success of arts-integrated schools across the country is changing the landscape. These schools recognize that artistic ability is as valuable a skill as, say, coding or engineering. And they’re showing that by fostering a deeper and more memorable learning experience, they lay the foundation for a tight-knit community while raising the tide of academic achievement.

Sounds pretty great, right?

It’s Time To Consider An Arts-Integrated Education

There is no one school that can give every student what he/she/they need. But conventional education is missing the mark with highly creative and sensitive students who don’t thrive in a STEM environment.

It makes perfect sense that some teachers avoid arts integration as a teaching tool. Perhaps it’s not right for them. But at an arts-integrated middle- or high-school, every instructor is trained in and believes in the power of this amazing method.

So if you feel that your creative child is getting looked over at his/her/their current school, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a tour of our school. It could just make all the difference!


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