/educators/how-to/arts-integration/why-arts-integration/why-perspectives

Why Arts Integration?

Perspectives

What do Kennedy Center teaching artists and teachers say about the value of arts integration for teaching and learning?

Introduction

These short video clips capture teachers' and Kennedy Center teaching artists' perspectives about the impact of arts integration on teaching and learning.


Video 1: Learners are Whole and Unique

Arts integration brings focus to the whole child and embraces the notion that all students are different.


Video 2: Engaging Experiences Lead to Learning

Arts integration engages students and offers a variety of ways to construct and demonstrate understanding.


Video 3: Rethinking Classroom Roles

Arts integration helps teachers rethink the roles they play and their relationships with students.


Video 4: Teachers' Views about the Impact of Arts Integration

Arts integration impacts teachers’ approaches to instruction.

Impact on Students

These quotes from teachers that participate in the Kennedy Center’s professional development programs capture their thoughts about the impact of arts integration on students. Themes include: developing understanding; providing authentic and personally meaningful learning; revealing students’ potential; building cooperation, collaboration, and confidence; helping teachers reach every student; creating a sense of ownership for learning; and impacting families and the community.

Arts Integration Develops Understanding

“The Standards assist students with learning facts; arts integration helps students grow in their potential of understanding these facts.” --Louise Garcia, Arts Coordinator, Churchill Road Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia

“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

“Arts-integrated lessons…provide a much deeper and lasting understanding for the students that allow them to more readily apply their learning in other situations.” --Paige Whelan, teacher, Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

Arts Integration Provides Authentic and Personally Meaningful Learning

“Today in education we often speak of providing students with ‘respectful’ work, assignments that are authentic and have worth for each individual student. When I ask my students to apply the arts to schoolwork, their work is automatically ‘respectful’ because it is personal and creative and, therefore, meaningful.” --Jennifer Nachbar, teacher, Our Lady of Mercy, Archdiocese of Washington, DC

Arts Integration Reveals Students’ Potential

“I discover amazing gifts within my classroom that I didn’t realize were hidden in the children. Often they are surprised to discover them as well. This leads to greater motivation, diversity in creativity, and humbles me tremendously in realizing that we never know, as teachers, when a ‘diamond’ will be revealed . . . thus reminding me to never give up on any child.” --Mary Beth Wertime, teacher, Drew Model School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

Arts Integration Builds Cooperation, Collaboration, and Confidence

“Implementing arts integration fosters a true ‘our class is a team’ environment. The students learn to cooperate with one another and recognize the strengths of their peers. … They all learn to work together and encourage each other to do their best. The children know they have the support of their group members and so there is a sense of comfort. Student confidence blossoms!” --Alicia Donoghue, teacher, Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

“The arts-integrated lessons built confidence, awareness, and self-expression. I have challenged my young learners to imagine, create, and move as they have never moved before!” --Maggie Braeuer, teacher, Blessed Sacrament, Diocese of Arlington, Virginia

Arts Integration Helps Teachers Reach Every Student

“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

Arts Integration Provides a Sense of Ownership

“Giving students a way to express what they have learned in class through different art forms, whether it is theatre/tableau or studying a painting or writing a poem, truly gives students a sense of ownership of their work and love for what they have created.” --Linda Cerrato Ellis, teacher, Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

Arts Integration Impacts Children, Families, and the Community

“Watching approximately 250 families visit our school to attend our recent Arts Integration Open House, and seeing parents interacting with students in numerous arts integration classrooms, fully engaged in meaningful learning activities that activated “both sides” of the brain, I couldn’t help notice the joy and love of learning that was evident in these classrooms. Reading the parent feedback, I was able to see that arts integration enriches not only our students’ education, but also the lives of our entire community.” -- Jennifer Lane, teacher, Kensington Parkwood Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland

Impact on Teachers

These quotes from teachers that participate in the Kennedy Center’s professional development programs capture their thoughts about the impact of arts integration on their teaching. Themes include increased motivation, energy and collaboration, changing teaching practices, and the changing role of the arts specialist.

Increased Motivation, Energy, and Collaboration

“School-wide participation has motivated and energized our staff. It has been a wonderful experience to collaborate and work together on a shared vision of arts integration.” --Paddy Waldner, teacher, Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

“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

“Children learn best when they are engaged in some form of creativity. This has strengthened my teaching skills by not only learning new strategies to incorporate in the classroom, but also developing an awareness of my own talents and self-expression. I am encouraged to be creative, challenged to experience something new, and am becoming a better teacher.” --Joann Quick, teacher, Graham Road Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia

Changing Teaching Practices

“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

“I have developed a new understanding of and methods for the use of arts integration as an assessment tool. I have used arts integration as a formative assessment on many occasions—whether as song lyrics, drama, or dance. Through practice, the students have come to realize that they can express their understanding through the arts; which not only makes learning more engaging, but allows them to express understanding on an entirely deeper level.” --Jennifer Lambert, teacher, Stratford Landing, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia

Changing Role of Arts Specialist

“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

Credits

Writers

Lynne B. Silverstein
Senior Program Consultant
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Editors & Producers

Amy Duma
Director, Teacher and School Programs
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kenny Neal
Producer

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