10 Things Every Art Teacher Should Know About Curriculum Integration

10 Things Every Art Teacher Should Know About Curriculum Integration

1. When integrating art with other subjects, a student will have greater success learning through art if they have already gained understanding and skills learned in art.
2. A powerful way for students to learn through art in any subject area is for educators to practice Visual Thinking Strategies in the classroom. This approach requires asking students “What is going on in the picture?”, “What do you see that makes you say that?”, and “What more can we find?” (Visual Thinking Strategies, 2013).
3. There is no successful way around integrating art curriculum with other subjects. As a field of study that purposefully explores what it means to be human, art teachers are responsible for helping students understand the many facets of the human experience that our field touches.
4. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education is limited without the inclusion of the Arts, transforming STEM into STEAM. The National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts agree that “art and science — once inextricably linked, both dedicated to finding truth and beauty — are better together than apart” (Maeda, 2012).
5. Art education provides “aesthetic dimensions of knowing” that deepen the understanding of other subject areas through the vehicle of the senses (Stewart, 2005, p. 113).
6. Because art is heavily concentrated on the study of metaphor, the vocabulary developed to discuss works of art is a valuable tool for helping students integrate ideas from multiple subject areas.
7. Contemporary art is a valuable tool for integrating art and other subject areas, for it often demands a knowledge of things beyond what it can communicate visually, requiring an exploration of other fields of study.
8. When collaborating with other teachers it is helpful to choose an essential idea around which to center curriculum. Instructors should be careful not to lay exclusive claim on their own area but to encourage truly integrated instruction that comprehensively addresses the essential question.
9. While working with other teachers it becomes even more crucial to create clear expectations of what the lesson will teach and how students will be assessed. Educators should work together to ensure that integrating subject areas is not confusing for the students.
10. Though working in a team with other educators and administrators is the most desirable way to create and teach integrated lessons, overcoming the logistics of planning and implementing these lessons is the greatest challenge of art curriculum integration.

Maeda, J. (2012, October 2). STEM to STEAM: Art in K-12 is key to building a strong economy. Edutopia. Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stem-to-steam-strengthens-economy-john-maeda
Stewart, M. & S. Walker (2005). Rethinking curriculum in art. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications.
Visual Thinking Strategies. (2013). What is VTS? Visual Thinking Strategies. Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://www.vtshome.org


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