Why Arts Integration?
Faculty members at your school might need more information about arts integration and why they should consider participating in this opportunity. Arm yourself with the latest information on arts integration research, success stories, anecdotal evidence, and personal experiences. Much information can be found in educational magazines and online. We have provided some websites below to get you started.
Once you are more knowledgeable about the subject, share what you've learned with your colleagues and administration. Print the advocacy brochures on the Center of Fine Arts Education website for added visual support.
The data from the latest 2010-2011 cohort study of Florida high school students showed a strong correlation between students who participated in arts courses and higher academic success. The 197,932 twelfth grade students in the study had better grade point averages, scored higher on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and on the math and verbal sections of the SAT exam. This positive effect was apparent in students from various backgrounds: racially, ethnically, socioeconomically, as well as students with disabilities. This study showed that students taking four or more arts classes during high school benefited the most. In addition, the more students participated in fine arts classes the less likely they were to drop out of school. The complete study can be found on the Center of Fine Arts Education website, CFAEFL.org.
When the arts become the vehicle for teaching, students meet dual objectives in both the arts and other subject matter. When students are engaged in the creative process they gain greater understanding in both areas.
Sixty studies compiled by Arts Education Partnership (AEP) demonstrated the effectiveness of arts education in strengthening reading skills, math skills, and student behavior. The studies showed that the arts promote regular attendance; aid student engagement; and support acquisition of oral language skills, cognitive development, and creative thinking. Through the discipline necessary in arts classes and the lessons themselves students learn to transfer skills to other subject areas.
If you have already been incorporating fine arts into your curriculum you may have memorable teaching moments that you can share or find some anecdotal stories online.
Here are teacher comments from ArtsEdge and from teachers participating in Miami-Dade County's Passport to the Arts Program.
“I have seen that children who participate in arts integration showed longer retention of concepts and found deeper meaning in the curriculum presented. Children can synthesize basic information and infer deeper meaning as to why things happen, not just spew back rote information.” --Laura J. Roberts, teacher, Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia
“Every day…I see the light bulbs go off. …through the arts I can help reach each and every student...it allows them to become an individual in a way that shines and showcases their individual creativity, all while learning the material that is required by the state and school.” -- Stacie R. Stoffa, teacher, Lafayette Elementary School, District of Columbia Public Schools
“Studying arts integration has lifted my spirit and re-ignited my enthusiasm and creativity in the classroom. It is my experience that when I integrate the arts into what I am teaching, my students remember what they have learned. May I never forget.” -- Sandra L. Gillen, special education teacher, Marie H. Reed Community Learning Center, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington DC
“My teaching has changed dramatically (no pun intended) and because of arts integration, student learning has altered as well. The most basic vocabulary lessons have now become works of art, poetry lessons have turned my students into incredible artists, and, most importantly, teaching in this manner has allowed students to become critical thinkers and appreciators of art.” -- Courtney Weiner, special education teacher, Graham Road Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia
“Period-long lectures have been replaced by mini-lessons coupled with hands-on activities. Independent and group study projects further explorations. Kids spontaneously turn up after school to see if they can work a little longer. As I learn new ways to integrate the arts, my students understand they can succeed across the board.” --Dorothy Lydon, teacher, Kenmore Middle School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia
“As a music teacher at an arts-integrated school, I have suddenly become a part of everyone’s classroom as we collaborate together to create ‘informances.’ I now work musical concepts into a large unit of study that corresponds with what students are learning in the regular classroom, making both the music and the social context connect in a more meaningful way.” --Rebecca Stump, general music and band teacher, Lafayette Elementary School, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, DC
"Passport to the Arts has created a portal and a bridge between home room teachers and special area teachers and allowed them to build a commaraderie to plan instruction for the whole child"--Third grade teacher Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County, Florida
"Think of teaching the 'old fashioned way,' when everything was taught in themes and kids had so much fun learning."--Third grade teacher Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County, Florida
Don't forget to keep parents involved. They may not be aware of the research connecting drop-out rates, grade point average, and test scores with fine arts. They can be a great asset in terms of support and finance. Develop and deliver a “sales pitch” to the PTA at your school. You might want to practice your “sales pitch” on a fellow teacher in order to get feedback on your presentation.
If you have already been incorporating fine arts into your curriculum you may have memorable teaching moments that you can share or find some anecdotal stories on-line.
However you decide to approach other teachers, administrators, or parents, be prepared to answer questions and address concerns with data and research. Examples of web-research include:
Arts Education Partnership
The Publications section offers a variety of recent PDFs and hard copy books on topics such as Arts Integration research and advocacy. Most of the hard copies of books also have less expensive or free PDF versions.
You will also find numerous papers written supporting the Arts and the Common Core Initiative. The paper titled "The Arts and the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project" offers a kindergarten arts integration lesson plan unit incorporating Visual Arts, Music, and Film.
ArtsEdge from the Kennedy Center is a source for a myriad of arts integrated lesson plans. Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater, and Media Arts are combined with Math, Language Arts, Physical Education, Geography, History, and Science creating exciting lessons for every grade level.
This page from the Kennedy Center answers the questions "What is Arts Integration?" and "Why Arts Integration?" The Arts Integration in Practice section is a series of videos showing arts integration in the classroom. There is also an Arts Integration Resource section and a link to CETA, Changing Education Through the Arts, the Kennedy Center's arts integration program.
ArtsEdSearch.org describes its website as "the nation's first online research and policy clearinghouse focused entirely on student and educator outcomes associated with arts learning in and out of school." In addition to allowing you to search for research by level from Early Childhood to Adult and Lifelong, the Educators section of this site has an excellent list of Professional and Personal Outcomes that can be used for advocacy presentations.
The Center for Fine Arts Education
The Center for Fine Arts Education is a management company that specializes in providing organizational management and advocacy for nonprofit associations focused in arts education. They manage the Florida Art Education Association, the Florida Music Educators' Association, the Florida School Music Association, the Florida Network of Arts Administrators, and the Florida Performing Arts Assessment Project.
Click on CFAE's Advocacy button and you will find Cohort Studies from 2007-2008 and 2010-11. These studies show the relationship between the number of years a student takes a fine arts course and test scores, grades, and dropout rates across all socio economic levels and races. It also has advocacy brochures supporting Fine Arts, Music, and Visual Arts in schools.