An Integrated, Arts-based approach is a method of teaching in which students learn information through music, poetry, and visual arts. Incorporating arts into non-arts subjects can help students achieve more remarkable learning outcomes. In addition, arts integration also contributes to the socialization of children, who become more active members of the community and more involved in social life. Nevertheless, applying an art-based approach may have particular challenges, the solution of which is worth considering.
Many studies prove the effectiveness of using art to improve the general learning skills of students. In addition, “research in student engagement in learning points to the efficacy of the arts to enhance students’ motivation and enjoyment in learning” (Hardiman, 2016, p. 1919). However, in practice, the use of art in classes requires considerable effort from the teacher. First, taking into account each student’s inclinations, such art integration should be based on an individual approach to each student. Most teachers do not have a clear structure for the involvement of art in the classroom. Therefore, according to Garvis and Pendergast (2010), school leaders, students, and parents may have a misconception about the role of art in school. It is a challenge that a teacher committed to an integrated Arts-based approach may face, which also has risks of “creating a low level of overall collective efficacy of arts education” (Garvis and Pendergast, 2010, p.118). One of the ways to solve this issue can be to develop a clear lesson plan where art will play a key role.
In addition, Gardner’s Multiple intelligences theory should also be considered when using the Arts-based approach. According to Brualdi (1996), despite the clear distinction between types of intelligence, they rarely function independently. Thus, an arts-based approach will be relevant for children with Spatial Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, or Linguistic Intelligence. It can be another challenge for the teacher since, as Brualdi (1996) points out, “teachers should structure the presentation of material in a style which engages most or all of the intelligences” (para. 16). Notwithstanding, the use of visual arts, music and poetry can help the student to absorb and process information effectively.
To conclude, teachers can effectively use art on non-art objects. However, this approach requires a significant level of training from the teacher. Early development of the lesson structure with art integration is necessary to avoid organizational and practical challenges.
Brualdi, A. C. (1996) Multiple intelligences: Gardner’s theory. Web.
Garvis, S. and Pendergast, D. (2010) ‘Does arts education have a future in Australia against literacy and numeracy?’, The International Journal of the Arts in Society, 5(2), pp. 111-120.
Hardiman, M. (2016) ‘Education and the arts: educating every child in the spirit of inquiry and joy’, Creative Education, 7(14), pp. 1913-1928.