Sunday, February 26, 2017

Misconceptions about Arts Integration

I ran across this article in SchoolArts Magazine the other day. I looked it up online to share with you and found that it had been reposted by School Specialty.


The article lists some pretty common misconceptions that I hear from other teachers quite often: 
"1. The arts and core subject areas such as math, science, and social studies are best taught separately.
2. Integrating the arts into a common core lesson will waste time and decrease the rigor of the lesson.
3. It isn’t necessary to integrate art with other subjects at all.
4. That’s all very well for kids who are already doing well academically. My students are struggling and need to focus on drilling in the basic skills from other subject areas.
5. It’s too overwhelming and I have so much on my plate already. I wouldn’t even know where to begin."

This article was written by Rachel Wintemberg, an art teacher at Samuel E. Shull Middle School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and author of the blog, The Helpful Art Teacher. You can contact her at Rachelhw1966@gmail.com


The only other misconception that I would add is that "My students are poorly behaved and can't handle arts-integrated lessons." 

Ten years ago, I might've said something similar, but I've learned and grown a lot since then. I think this just goes back to classroom management, school climate and culture, and what Wintemberg said about her #4. Struggling students (ummm...struggling human beings) need positive outlets. This leads to greater engagement. Greater engagement leads to stronger retention. Voila! 

The arts can be built into the culture and climate of a school. I've seen this happen in more than one school and district. (I did a lot of writing about this for my specialist degree. I will try to work in some blog posts about that in the future!) 

In addition, students can be taught how to behave in a classroom. Now, a teacher can't just do worksheets for weeks and one day try to do an arts-integrated lesson that involves paint or movement. The kids will go nuts. They'll be so excited to do something different that they won't behave well. This is why I say they have to be taught. Teach them how to handle paint. Teach them how to move around in a productive way. Just like anything else, teachers should set their expectations for behavior when they are using arts integration in their classrooms. 

I wanted to share this with you. Whenever I find something of substance about arts integration (or arts education or education in general), I like to share. I hope it brings more readers to Wintemberg's writing. I hope it makes you think. I hope it gives you some courage to start working with the arts more in your classroom. I also hope it will start a conversation, or continue a conversation about the arts in our schools, especially about arts integration.


Let me know your thoughts! Are there other misconceptions? Do you think these are true? Do you agree with our opinions on the misconceptions? I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:


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