In order for Arts Integration to gain ground, it must show data to support it just like every other educational program out there.  Why does this work?  Prove it!  We in education are, in essence, scientists.  We want to know what works, why it works and there better be a way to show that it works time and time again.  So, here is a basic run down about what arts integration is, what it’s not, and what the research says.


What is Arts Integration?

Arts integration is an approach to teaching and learning through which content standards are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts.  This process encourages students to be actively engaged, use both sides of their brains simultaneously and to learn the material in a multitude of ways at the same time.  This process uses music, art, drama, and  movement to further reach students that need multi-sensory input and have different learning styles than the typical visual-aural learner.  In addition, by teaching through the arts, instructors become more creative in their teaching and can feel more inspired to actively engage their students and themselves in exciting learning possibilities.


Research Says

Today’s current research indicates that arts integration programs have a major impact on student attendance, student achievement on both standardized tests and understanding of subject matter, and on student motivation and behavior.  By incorporating this method into your classroom, students make links and connections between disciplines and can make deeper connections to applications beyond school.

The Process

Working with arts integration is a process that takes time and practice.  Here’s a brief look at what’s involved:

Pick what you want to teach

Not everything needs to be an arts integrated lesson! Pick a lesson topic that you would like to use the arts to enhance and then select the objectives from the content your students need to meet.  From there…

Collaborate with arts teachers

Pick which arts medium you’d like to use: art, music, tableau, dance, etc.  Then, meet with that area teacher to talk about ways to incorporate the arts medium into your lesson.  Pick an arts objective that will work with your content objectives and write out a plan together.  Make sure to use a common vocabulary that students will know from both classes.  Then….

Teach the lesson!

Jump in and get your feet wet!  Make sure that you are having students learn the lesson using content from the arts objectives so that they are learning your content area and the arts objectives at the same time.  Finally…..

Evaluate Student Work

Make sure you evaluate what the students have learned in both the academic and the arts area.  Give rubrics, design self evaluations, use portfolios or a variety of other methods to indicate that the students learned and achieved both the academic and the arts objectives of your lesson.


Remember to Start Small

Arts integration lessons can be small and quite effective.  There’s no need to make the lessons into large projects (unless you want to!) that consume a lot of time.  Here are some ways to incorporate the arts into your lessons:

* Drawing, painting, using color palattes

* Analyze notable artwork

* Drumming

* Listening to and responding to music

* Analyze lyrics

* Use Tableau/Dramatic Play

* Using movement to show shapes


References (the king of Data!)

Appel, M. (2006).  Arts integration across the curriculum.  Leadership, Nov/Dec. 2006, 14-17.

Burnaford, G., Aprill, A. & Weiss, C.  (Eds.) (2001). Renaissance in the classroom: Arts integration and meaningful learning. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.

Delisio, E. (2005).   Lessons from our Nation’s Schools: Mexican arts, cultural frame learning.  Education World,  18,  4-11.

Goldberg, M. & Bossenmeyer, M. (1998).  Shifting the role of arts in education.  Principal, 77, 56-58.

Gullatt, D. (2008).  Enhancing student learning through arts integration: implications for the profession.  The High School Journal, 85, 12-24.

Jenson, E. (2002). Teach the arts for reasons beyond the research.  The Education Digest, 67 (6), 47-53.

Mishook, J. & Kornhaber, M. (2006). Arts integration in an era of accountability.  Arts Education Policy Review, 107 (4), 3-10.

Rabkin, N. & Redmond, R. (2006).  The arts make a difference.  Educational Leadership, 63 (5), 60-64.

Ruppert, S. S. (2006).  Critical Evidence – How the arts benefit student achievement

[Electronic version].  Retrieved June 24, 2008, from

Strand, K. (2006).  The heart and the journey: Case studies of collaboration for arts integration curricula.  Arts Education Policy Review, 108 (1),  29-40.