By now you have probably heard that arts integration is a thing. You might have had some coaching on how to connect an art project to a lesson, or your school may have brought back drama, dance, and the visual arts. This is all very exciting. Yet for some, we may still be wondering, “What’s the big idea with arts integration?” I’m here to help! There’s a big, wide, wonderful world of teaching in and through the arts to deepen critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.
First let’s take a peek into the broader scope of why teaching and learning through the arts is an essential foundational practice:
I’ve come to understand this: that contemporary artists embody critical thinking like a song embodies a harmony. What we have to gain from contemporary artists are The Studio Habits of Mind: Observe, Reflect, Stretch and Explore, Engage and Persist, Understand Community, Develop Craft, Envision, and Express. These habits help students develop critical thinking skills across disciplines. They are just as important for science and math as they are for the arts. They empower students to articulate their learning no matter what content is being addressed.
Collaboration is essential to contemporary arts and hence, contemporary education. Ideas are formed best when two or more minds meet. Students can collaborate on projects from framing research questions, to developing a mural, to writing a script for an animation on mitosis. My favorite online example of how the world is using collaboration through the arts are Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Hit Record, Episode 1, and this recent viral video on a PhD candidate’s dissertation submitted as a choreographed dance piece.
When you collaborate you have to communicate, or nothing will get done! The key to communication is empathy. Empathy is the golden key to unlocking teaching and learning in our diverse world. Artful thinking + empathy = students who are able to communicate ideas, values, and new knowledge effectively.
Naturally, the arts drive creativity. What is not widely known is that the arts drive creative inquiry, and creative inquiry is the driver of all disciplines. It is through creative inquiry that we unlock questions, solve problems, and discover new possibilities.
There is much more to this article and it is worth the read! Atuhor Mariah Rankine-Landers goes on to talk about what is at the heart of making steps towards integrating the arts.
Images via Teaching Channel
The Author: Mariah Rankine-Landers