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A fundamental employability skill that is acknowledged globally as significant for all educational sectors is the teacher’s ability to expose students to critical thinking. In knowledge analysis, the teacher is expected integrate teaching aspects that enables the students to think critically on issues, which in turn encompasses processing of meaningful and significant observed experience. As it stands, arts have been proved to have a broad role in teaching and learning than it is as a subject of study. Integration of arts in the entire curriculum possess a motivational power to students and unleashes creative and critical thinking skills, thus setting a concrete foundation for understanding. Apparently, arts play significant role in offering each and every student with a full and well-rounded learning processes meeting the needs of the child wholly (Vitulli, Santoli, & Fresne, 2013). The purpose of this paper is to offer the best means of incorporating or rather, arts integration in the learner’s learning experience and to discover the value of such integration. Also, the paper seeks to find out if art integration can be used as a motivating tool to students in the class setting.
Arts Integration and the Underpinning Principles.
There have been growing interests in arts integration as a teaching approach which the arts itself leverage in various areas of study such as mathematics, language arts, and sciences. Arts integration is a teaching approach in which the teacher exposes the learner to constructing and demonstrating understanding through art forms. By so doing, the learners are engaged in creative processes connecting art forms from various subject areas and meets the underlying objectives in both. As an approach to teaching, this definition brings to the notion that arts goes beyond a mere activity, rather it is a teaching approach embedded in the teacher’s daily practice. Arts integration therefore relies heavily on how the learner progresses, a student-centered end of continuum. Hence, approach is one of the underlying principles to art integration.
Arts integration also asserts that the learners not only construct but also demonstrate understanding. As understanding contends, arts integration avails numerous ways for the students to derive sense of what is learnt, or rather, construct an understanding in order to demonstrate it or make it visible. Thus, it extends beyond the initial steps of assisting the learners to learn and flashback information, challenging them to acquire facts and information they have gathered and put them in practice to build concrete understanding. In arts, the learners take the active and central roles as meaning makers. The role requires the learners that they gather knowledge and develop the capacity to reflect on their learning progress.
Art integration is executed in art form. It is no doubt that learners can derive and demonstrate their understanding of phenomena in distinct ways. However, when involved in arts integration, the learning evident of the students should be expressed in products they create such as but not limited to dramatization, painting, and music. Additionally, arts integration require the learners to engage in creative process. The heart of arts integration is in fact the engagement in creative process. The creative process principle demands that the learners go beyond a repeat (a song), follow direction, or a copy (art project). They ought to come up with something original and that is of value.
Arts integration connects an art with other subject areas. An aspect that distinguishes arts integration from arts is its connection with other disciplinary. It helps in creating connections between specific areas of curriculum and specific arts. For instance, a university can be relate to study of geographical regions. Lastly, arts must meet the evolving objectives in both. This principle underscores that arts integration requires the instructors to set objective both in the subject area and in art form. The dual objectives must be balance and the learners be held accountable.
The Benefits of Arts Integration
Today, the only legitimate chance to improve identities around the learning environment is along the line of “worse” or “better” student (Baker, 2013). However, no student is considered worse; the only difference is the pace of understanding. Arts integration is a teaching design that provides opportunities for different participation forms that nurtures the both the student and the community. The vision of arts integration is to foster, engagement, experimentation, contribution, reflection, shared vision, identity, and participation (The Royal Conservatory of Canada. 2014).
Supporting Common Purpose
The rewards that come with arts integration approach to education are the reflection of and inherent part of the society (Baker, 2013). The reward of an arts integrated system supports the personal achievement of the learners but within the societal context and society-oriented efforts.
Arts integrated system invites the learners’ participation by trying to make itself open to the students as well as the society. The learners do not find any challenges in exploring their creativity, opportunities and information (Marshall, 2014). With the freedom of exploration of ideas in arts form, participation brings to the surface the sense of what a society is about, the opportunities it holds, and the future cause.
An educational system that insist on standardized activities and learning prevents the learners from exploring their abilities for meaningful identities and roles both in the school and at societal level (Baker, 2013). However, with arts integrated system, the students’ diverse interests, experiences, knowledge, abilities, and accomplishments are ideal. Activities of all the learners are conceived in a way that they encourage the differences, contribution, and knowledge of all students thus accommodating all members of the society.
Freedom to Experiment
Arts integration is an active learning that involves creativity and error risk. The system encourages the learners to be original and come up with new methods of doing things and provide support for interpretations of their creativity and error building (Marshall, 2014). It is the quality of creativity and risk taken, the opportunity that the risk present for learning that is worth rewarding, instead of the glossiness or the ease of getting successful.
Considerations for Inclusive Meaningful Arts Integration Approach
Inclusive educational approach is concerned with availing appropriate educational system that responds to the wider spectrum of the learners’ needs in non-formal as well as the formal educational setting. Rather than being marginal in the implementation of arts integrated educational system, teachers should take into consideration the needs of both the regular and non-regular learners in their classrooms (Hatton, 2015). The inclusion considerations aim at providing an environment in which both the learners and the teachers are comfortable with the diversity and uses such diversities to enrich the learning environment, rather than a challenge or a problem (Brown & Bousalis, 2018). The following should be observed when implementing arts integration system where non-regular learners are involved.
Accepting and welcoming diversity
During the implementation of arts integrated system, the teachers and the instructors must be conscious of the diversity of the class. In this form, they ought to welcome the artistic interpretation of the different learners especially those with various challenges of interpretation of events (Hatton, 2015). It is worth noting that the differences are never –ending, hence the need to assess best methods of addressing the same. In this way, the class differences can be viewed positively as fostering and stimulating learning among the students.
The integration should be concerned with identification and elimination of barriers. Arts integrated education should be involved with collection, collation, and evaluation of information from broad sources for effective planning for policy and practice improvements. The implementation should be concerned with use of evidences of different kinds in order to encourage creativity that is inclusive thus problem-solving.
Inclusion Involve Presence, Active Involvement, and Achievement of All the Students
When applying arts integrated system, the teacher should be concerned with reliably and punctually the learners attend their classes and how participatory the learners are. In relation to the quality of the learners’ experiences, the teacher must incorporate the views of the learners irrespective of the mental or physical state for achievement of all (Donovan, Pascale, & Lesley University, 2012).
Inclusion Must Emphasize On Particular Groups of Learners Who May Fall the Risks of Exclusion or Marginalization
While using arts integration system, the teacher has the moral obligation to ensure
that those proven to be statistically at risk are given careful attention, and if necessary, massive steps undertaken to ensure their participation for positive outcomes. When taken to account, this inclusive will see to it that arts integration system addresses the equality in a diverse classroom setting (Hatton, 2015).
Art integration in classroom setting
In this inquiry, my class is diverse with fifteen-four seventh grade students having different family and cultural backgrounds including Japanese, Russians, Korean, and Chinese. In this class, three of my students have different physical and mental challenges, another three receive Electronic Sports Language (ESL) while others attend learning support. In general the self-contained class has respectful members, well-behaved, and sensitive to the ideas, feelings, and the special needs of all members. I take ten of my students for music lesson outside the school while the rest attend my music lessons in school. While attending to their work projects, all students are said to be intricate and have detailed information about their works. Their efforts are usually reflected in the final results of their work. I have received complements about the group from other teachers on how artistically the group is inclined and their efforts to succeed in other subjects. Whenever they are out of their music lessons, the group is enthusiastic and exited to discuss their accomplishment and are highly motivated to work on other subject areas.
Organizations Supporting Music Education
Fender Musical Instrument Corporations (https://shop.fender.com/en/emea/fender-about.html). This is one of the World’s leading Organizations that promotes music educations. The organization donates to school programs that allow their students to show their musical abilities (Volkaert, 2012). Music Unites (http://www.musicunites.org/music-unites-about/) is another non-profit making organization that supports music education in schools around the globe. The organization empowers learners through donations and educating children through music and helps the youths in achieving their future goals (In Spitzer, 2012). Last but not least is the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) (https://www.nyfa.org/Content/Show/About%20NYFA). The foundation empowers both the emerging artists and schools through provision of resources needed to support music (Sabino, 2018).
Based on the discussions of this paper, integration of arts in the classroom fosters child development wholly. The educational approach positively influence cultural, social, and academic lives of the learners by allowing them to approach curriculum in a manner that stimulates their success. While incorporating arts in the educational system, instructors should take into consideration the diverse cultures and families in the classroom setting and propagate the system in an inclusive manner. However, it is still paramount to distinguish art from art integration system to ensure the foundation of each is fully attained. Adding to the educational curriculum by integration of the two needs planning which must adhere to the principles of arts integration mentioned herein.
Baker, D. (2013). Art Integration and Cognitive Development. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 26(1), 217–220. https://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2011.5.6700
Marshall, J. A. (2014). Transdisciplinarity and Art Integration: Toward a New Understanding of Art-Based Learning Across the Curriculum. Studies in Art Education: A Journal of Issues and Research, 55(2), 104–127. https://doi.org/10.1386/vi.3.3.377
The Royal Conservatory of Canada. (2014). The Benefits of Music Education. PBS.org. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1949-12.2012
Vitulli, P., Santoli, S. P., & Fresne, J. (2013). Arts in education: Professional development integrating the arts and collaborating with schools and community. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 8(1), 45–52. https://doi.org/10.5172/ijpl.2013.8.1.45
Brown, S., & Bousalis, R. (2018). Curriculum integration in contemporary teaching practice: Emerging research and opportunities.
Donovan, L., Pascale, L., & Lesley University. (2012). Integrating the arts across the content areas.
Hatton, K. (2015). Towards an inclusive arts education. London: Trentham Book.
Volkaert, R. (2012). Fender telecaster - the life and times of the electric guitar that changed.
In Spitzer, J. (2012). American orchestras in the nineteenth century.
Sabino, A. (2018). New York Foundation for the Arts: Turn your passion into a fulfilling and financially rewarding lifestyle.
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