The Importance of Arts Integration in Schools
The Importance of Arts Integration in Schools
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by Andilynn Feddeler

Comprehensive arts education is often seen as less important than other areas of learning, so art programs in schools are typically the first to be cut when it comes time for budget redistributions. This can lead students to miss out on many of the positive effects of an art education, like creative expression, stress relief, and the development of critical thinking skills. But not all hope is lost—there are still ways to integrate arts into established curricula that can actually improve student attendance, comprehension, and performance. Even if a teacher doesn’t feel qualified to teach art, there are thousands of helpful online resources just a search away.

One thing to remember is that “arts education” doesn’t equate to unstructured “arts and crafts” time. Lessons should still align with standards, have clear expectations, and give students a way to apply what they have learned in the unit. There should also be a good amount of student-centered decision making involved in the process—students should not simply be told what to create and how to do it—they should be able to consider the circumstances and decide on how to best express their mastery in the subject.

Project-based learning encourages students to be active learners, rather than just reading from a textbook and completing knowledge assessments. This style of learning has been shown to increase student engagement with information, which can lead to improved attendance rates as well as performance. Group projects can also enhance student leadership, team building, and character development. When students work on a project, they are actively thinking about what they have learned and how to apply that knowledge to practical situations, which embeds the information in their brains.

Whether arts integration comes in the form of painting personal interpretations of observations, dancing to learn about anatomy and muscle movements, cooking to show chemical reactions, or studying songs to learn about narrative style, students will benefit greatly from being able to take learning into their own hands. Check out this great resource roundup on arts integration for more information.