Publication date: 16 April 2021
Arts integration is a pedagogical approach to teaching and learning that employs arts activities to teach concepts where the focus is on another subject area. The process of arts integration means that students are engaged in doing, making, problem-solving, working collaboratively, and enjoying a voyage of discovery. When working collaboratively the results are seen through engaged students and creative outcomes. In this manner students learn about themselves and others and when working creatively, there are generally no right or wrong answers. This allows students the space to develop confidence and communication skills. When actively involved in making and doing, students retain knowledge. They make decisions, and through problem solving, draw on multiple intelligences to create their own meanings.
It is not necessary for the teacher to be an arts expert. There is no focus on performance or product from an arts perspective, but rather on using arts processes in order to engage students in their learning. The processes are simple and easy to follow through detailed lesson plans.
The lessons are fun but not “for fun”, as there is a serious learning intention behind each of them. To provide guidance, each lesson is matched against subject achievement levels, but it is up to each individual teacher to choose lessons that best suit their classroom. It is hoped that teachers will take the lessons as a starting point, and once comfortable and confident, create their own arts integration lessons.
Dr Barbara Snook currently works in the Dance Studies programme at The University of Auckland, researching in curriculum theory and arts integration.