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The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.

President Barack Obama

The human mind already pertains the natural ability to be innovative and creative.
So why not foster those natural abilities? Ken Robinson speaks in a TED talk about his
theory that we are educating people out of their creative capacities. There are many
reasons teachers argue for not integrating the arts into other areas of the curriculum.
Teachers are often caught up teaching to the test and dont have the time to fit any art
in. Some teachers force themselves to stay in the fabricated boundaries that we have
created between subject areas because this is science class, not art class. Unfortunately
this is a sad reality in most classrooms today. A study done in 2011 found that teachers
had difficulty defining the nature and purpose of arts education. Because some teachers
struggle to define or see the need for an education rich in the creative arts, the arts
become under-utilized as well as the teachers own creative abilities. With all this
resistance, why integrate the arts into the curriculum?
For as many reasons as there may be to not use the arts, there are double and triple
the reasons to integrate the arts into the curriculum. In New Brunswick a major
component in our education system is inclusion. We open our arms as teachers to children
of all learning abilities, both minor and severe. All children learn differently, not just
those with exceptionalities. By integrating art into the curriculum this facilitates the
multiple pathways to learning. For kinesthetic learners integrating dance and movement
allows them to reach their full potential in whatever the activity might be. The same can
be said for auditory and visual learners. The purpose of inclusion is for everyone to feel

valued and apart of a community. Every child has potential and our job, as teachers to
reveal and explore this potential with them. This journey will only be enhanced with the
arts. One of the other reasons for the integration of art is that I believe that it is a teachers
obligation to foster their students strengths and improve their weaknesses. If a child is
strong artistically, that is no different than a student being strong mathematically. Both
deserve support and encouragement. If a child is learning in a way that not only facilitates
their learning style but their interests as well then they will more motivated to participate
and boost their enthusiasm.
In the academic and factual sense the integration of arts have proved to be very
beneficial. One of the largest benefits that can be applied to any field of study is that it
has been shown to improve comprehension and long-term retention in both students and
adults. Integrating the arts has been proven to enhance critical thinking, decision-making,
and creativity skills as well as build collaboration. These skills are all higher-level
thinking. This is every teachers dream to provoke higher-level thinking in his or her
students in all subject fields. All the skills that integrating arts develops can be applied to
students everyday lives. With all the benefits that there are from integrating arts in the
curriculum, by not integrating the arts you are doing a serious disserve to your students.
The real question is how do you integrate art into your classroom? There are three
concepts that need to learned and practiced and are crucial to making art integration
successful. The first is you must always be encouraging your students. It can be very
scary to step out, or even worse, forced out of your comfort zone. You must welcome
your students to step out of their comfort zone not force them. It is a teachers duty to
encourage your students to try, to make mistakes and to have fun in the process. By

giving constant encouragement this leads into the next concept of developing a positive
and welcoming environment. Students, or anyone for that matter, will not participate in
something that is out of their comfort zone, if they feel judged or are being constantly
criticized. You want your students to be comfortable to make mistakes and be able to
laugh them off and move on. To create this encouraging and welcoming environment it is
essential you eliminate competition. The purpose of integrating the arts is to facilitate
learning not to see who is the better artist or dancer. All students are unique and will bring
a variety of strengths to your class. No one student is better than another; so do not
reinforce competitive behaviors. Integrating the arts is meant to promote collaboration
not competition.

Sources
Burnaford, Gail E, Aprill, Arnold & Weiss, Cynthia. (Eds.). (2001) Renaissance in the
Classroom: Arts Integration and Meaningful Learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum, Inc.
Garvis, S., & Pendergast, D. (2011). An investigation of early childhood teacher self-

efficacy beliefs in the teaching of arts education. International Journal of


Education & the Arts, 12(9).
Poldberg, Monique M., Trainin, Guy & Andrzejczak, Nancy. (2013). Rocking your
Writing Program: Integration of Visual Art, Language Arts, & Science. Journal
for Learning through the Arts, 9 (1). Retrieved from
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1018311.pdf
Robinson, Ken. (February 2006). Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity [Video
File]. Retrieved from
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en