How the Arts Unlock the Door to Learning
|Even as arts programs are increasingly falling under the axe of limited school budgets, teachers are increasingly integrating arts into the core subject areas. The concept behind arts integration is nothing new. Teachers have been having students build models, perform plays, sing songs, and complete other various arts activities for years. Now there is a growing body of evidence to support those practices.
Integrating the arts into a class not only has the easily observed and undisputed benefit of increasing student engagement and motivation, but it’s also been shown to increase student achievement. Students who participate in drama activities in their language arts class increase their written language ability, and an English language learners’ abilities are also increased when the arts are integrated into their instruction. In fact, a curriculum rich in arts integrated activities has been linked to across the board achievement and retention increases. These achievements have been shown to benefit the student even after they leave a classroom utilizing arts integration.
Research suggests that the link to increased retention is due to the fact that each time a student uses information in a new and different way, they embed the information slightly more into their brain. The Common Core’s focus on learning content deeper instead of increasing content seems to easily mesh with this idea and offer ample opportunity for integrating the arts into the classroom.
While ASCD offers a quick intro on including arts in your lesson, there are plenty of other resources out there as well.