Integrating Art in 2020
Margaret Peeno & Phyllis Pasley
Art education in Missouri has been in an unprecedented period of change even before COVID-19 arrived six months ago. The field of art education has been an essential
partner in the new vision for education as part of the national goals for education that support
students understanding their role in an increasingly global culture and wanting them to be
able to adapt themselves to the quickly changing demands in today’s economic, cultural, and social environment. Interdisciplinary studies have taken shape in K-12 core curriculum, integrated arts, the humanities, interrelated arts programs, STEAM, contemporary social
issues, design and new technologies, have proved a path for future curriculum development.
But what is in the future for our classrooms? How do we construct curriculum or even lessons that relate ideas and concepts from the arts, history, communication arts, math and science to focus on themes and problems of life experience? One answer to these questions might be ARTS INTEGRATION. With a focus on collaborative design, where arts specialists and classroom teachers equally share the responsibilities for lesson design, implementation and student assessment models 21st century skills for students, resulting in lessons with greater impact on student learning. A poorly designed lesson is somewhat like two people having a conversation without communicating with each other. Related ideas are presented but not connected to each other in ways that make sense and lead to a fuller and deeper understanding. With Arts Integration, the opportunity for deeper understanding, greater student retention, and renewed joy in learning help teachers and learners reach common goals.
There are several reasons for an increased interest in an interdisciplinary approach to the
Arts. First the combined efforts of the Kennedy Center”s Changing Education Through the Arts
(CETA) Program,the National Endowment for the Arts, national and state arts organizations, and state education departments are leading the movement toward a more comprehensive approach to arts education. Both arts specialists and classroom teachers have been encouraged to work toward this balance with virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face platforms combining performance and production in the classroom and in the music room or studio. As a
result, teachers who are committed to the interdisciplinary approach have found a variety of
creative ways to move towards a more comprehensive art education by expanding their own programs and by introducing arts content into science, social studies, and communication
arts lessons. Teachers using a commitment to cultural and social studies thematic units find
exciting ways to introduce students to the rituals, beliefs, celebrations, and values of other
cultures through the arts.
We have become increasingly aware that many models for schools are based on the concept that subjects are taught separately and learners are grouped by age and teaching practices. Many educators have discovered that one solution to moving beyond the traditional approach to learning is to embrace arts integration, as seen in several school districts in Missouri, e.g. Liberty Public Schools and Springfield Missouri Public Schools. Aaron Money, Fine Arts Coordinator for Liberty Public Schools entered into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts National Partnership, along with Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Young Audiences, and Shawnee Mission School District. This KS/MO Kennedy Center Partners in Education Team recently published their results of a comparison study among twelve elementary classrooms matched by grade level. Results showed the arts integration teaching methods significantly improved educational outcomes in the area of core subject content, enjoyment of learning, engagement and creativity. The finding provides evidence that arts integration teaching methods can produce a significant, positive impact on the educational development of elementary students.
At A.D. Stowell School in Hannibal, Missouri the approach to Arts Integration is very different. In this setting, arts specialists push into the regular classroom for a defined period of time, and with administrative support and dedicated collaboration time, both non-arts and arts educators work together to meet the needs of students they serve. You can meet the husband-wife team of Katie and Steve Schisler who are the art and music specialists on staff there. Join us on October 5, 2020 at 4pm to learn more about this unique approach to arts integration in a FREE one-hour webinar sponsored by the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education. This is part of a series of interactive sessions of the Missouri Arts Integration Network (M.A.I.N.) These MAIN EVENT sessions are held once each month and feature opportunities to learn more about Arts Integration and to get inspired! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.