Google “integrating the arts into the classroom curriculum” and the first few entries cite research on integrating the arts into the curriculum for “gifted and talented” students. In her article “Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum for Gifted Students” Joan Franklin Smutny cites studies that have shown that “the arts can significantly advance gifted students’ academic and creative abilities and cognitive functioning…[and that] when integrating the arts into the curriculum, teachers can design experiences that are tied to the unique needs, interests, and abilities of gifted students and challenge them to perform more complex and sophisticated tasks” (Smutny, 2002). If the visual and performing arts “significantly advance” the academic, cognitive and creative abilities of gifted students, then it can be implied that the arts would also enhance the academic, cognitive and creative abilities of the median, struggling, disengaged and disadvantaged students by tying into their unique needs, interests and abilities, as well.
When administrators take time away from artistic expression, whether it is through visual, musical, theatrical or other art forms, it is taking away opportunity for the very success for which they are striving.
Dr. Lawson, who teaches in the Education Department at Wittenberg, teaches a course that is unusual in teacher preparation programs: Education 275/276: Integrating Literature, Art, Drama, Dance, and Music Throughout the Curriculum. The course, better known as Arts Integration, is a requirement for Early Childhood and Middle Childhood candidates. WJE staffer Kayti McCarthy conducted the interview.
Student engagement is conceptualized in terms of Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) theory of flow, and is defined as the confluence of concentration, interest, and enjoyment (Shernoff, Cxikszentmihalyi, Schneider, & Shernoff, in press)
In the past decade, research has begun to demonstrate the important effects of a new approach to the development of well-adjusted young people: a focus on what is called “developmental assets acquisition”. This approach to working with children and adolescents reverses the way educators have perceived intervention and prevention policies for youth by focusing on positive conditions for thriving.
The Visual Art Model Curricula Development Team, operated by the Ohio Department of Education, has given me the chance to work with nine other art teachers from around Ohio and with Nancy Pistone, the Visual Arts Consultant with the ODE. Together we discuss, explore and dissect lesson development, implementation strategies and alignment with the standards.