Learning Across the Curriculum in Art Education Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

mounting effort for educators, researchers, and policy makers to fuse seemingly disparate subjects into complementary units of study. Much research reveals positive effects on learning when integrated curricular activities are regularly presented and explored throughout students' educational careers. Educators, administrators, parents, community members, and students themselves applaud such endeavors as they witness firsthand the endless benefits from these research-based revolutionary instructional methodologies. Naturally, art teachers are among the professionals who are implementing into their classrooms such findings. Already, there are numerous examples of integration of art into science, mathematics, and the performing arts.

Science is traditionally perceived as unrelated to art. Whereas science involves generation and manipulation of factual data and observable phenomena, art resides completely in the realm of subjectivity and creativity. This is the conventional line of reasoning. However, new explanations state that science and art are in fact intimately connected. Following this reinterpretation of art and science, teachers strive to illustrate this close relationship. For example, scientists and inventors' visual representations of their ideas and concepts fold nicely into the art studio. Leonardo da Vinci, a well-known scientist and inventor, incorporated art into his diaries. Furthermore, the drawings of Thomas Edison's inventions assume an interdisciplinary study not only in art and science but also in governmental policies and procedures as students may investigate the patent process. What's more, Michelangelo's works spur an exploration into biology.

Art elements and principles also lend themselves well to science. Consider value, the ways that artists utilize light in their compositions. This can stimulate a study into the physics of light. Students may explore the properties of different colors and how they influence an artist's selection of them in his/her works. The characteristics of colors also effect particular qualities of art pieces. In other words, some colors in a composition generate a sense of warmth while other produce a feeling of coolness. Pigmentation also falls into this discussion. Students may study how color is reflected not only in art but also in humans, plants, animals, and other natural phenomena. An understanding of basic scientific concepts translates into a deeper appreciation of their uses in artistic endeavors.

Mathematics, just like science, is typically considered at the opposite end of the curricular spectrum from art. Some question what mathematics can possibly have in common with art. However, there is a growing body of educators who acknowledge and appreciate how the two fields overlap. Moreover, these visionaries make known the ways in which these ostensibly incongruent disciplines coincide. Perceptive and effective mathematics teachers recognize and utilize visual representations of mathematical concepts. For example, in teaching about geometric figures, it is prudent instructors who require pupils to depict them visually and perhaps three-dimensionally in order to solidify learning. Students may also employ mathematical concepts to particular art pieces. In other words, learners apply their mathematical knowledge and skills to investigate how they correspond to a portrait, sculpture, or building.

A specific example wherein mathematics and art collaborate is the study of tessellations. Tessellations are the repeated shapes that do not overlap but cover a determined plane. They yield interesting designs that are visually stimulating. During a unit on tessellations, mathematics pupils learn of symmetry, planes, geometry shapes, and patterns; they may also utilize mathematical instruments such as rulers and protractors. While students investigate the history, development, and use of tessellations, they will undoubtedly uncover their importance in art. An exploration into Greek and Arabic artwork is certain to arise. In addition, the works of M.C. Escher, a famous artist whose various works include tessellations, definitely emerge. Art students may consequently employ tessellations in their pieces -- i.e., quilts, pottery, abstract art, and structures. As they enlarge their artistic repertoire, children inevitably create richer artistic works. By simultaneously presenting overlapping mathematics and art notions and practices, students naturally form strong associations linking the two disciplines. The result is a deeper appreciation of each subject and an awareness of the essential bond that exists between them.

Performing arts and visual arts combine to form inseparable links. As the two disciplines share terminology, concepts, and objectives, it seems logical they should be studied concurrently. Activities in one undoubtedly complement experiences in the other. Actors, singers, dancers, and musicians are likely to respond to visual arts if they readily perceive how their current passions and interests apply to and are of use in the art studio. In reality, it does not require a great stretch of the imagination to observe the tangible and immediate connections between the performing arts and the visual arts.

The logical starting point is a discussion about how visual arts complement performing arts. For example, dramatic pieces typically use sets and props in order to enhance performances. By highlighting the current applications of art in theatre, actors are better able to acknowledge how the former is a central facet of the latter. In addition, dancers oftentimes use costumes and props in their performances. Again, this requires the talents of visual artists. The number of examples art teachers can supply to their performing arts students to illustrate the existing relationship between the two fields are innumerable. The backgrounds, experiences, and interests of performing artists are appropriate gateways to an introduction of visual arts.

Furthermore, utilizing performing arts in the visual arts classroom provides students a profound appreciation of the multiple manifestations of art. Art teachers may play musical compositions and ask students to produce their artistic interpretations of the piece. For example, students may paint, draw or sculpt the musician's message. Students may discover that particular sounds, melodies, and/or rhythms conjure up specific colors, shapes, textures, and scenes. A follow up to this activity may include a comparative investigation into students' various interpretations of the piece. Drama students may enjoy acting out a painting; they may create an entire play based on one or several art pieces. In the art classroom, as students generate costumes, masks, and props, they may simultaneously research how various cultures and eras used such paraphernalia in their theatre compositions. Singers may enjoy verbally expressing their responses to artwork. The previous examples suggest that only instructors' creative faculties limit the applications of performing arts into art studios.

The idea and practice of integrating art with other disciplines are increasingly necessary in today's society. As mentioned, research indicates that learning is more potent and permanent when material is woven together. Naturally, this should be, and perhaps is, the main reason why progressive educators advocate and embody this educational philosophy. However, there is another motivating force to incorporate art into other 'core' subjects. Due to recent and increasing budget crises, arts programs are normally the first ones to be reduced or eliminated from the educational agenda. This is owing to popular perception that the arts are not essential facets of education, and by extension, life. Because of such ignorance, art programs are in a tenuous position and are facing extinction. Oftentimes, when they undergo restrictions yet remain a part of the curriculum, art programs are so diluted as to be rendered somewhat ineffective. For this reason, it is ever more important for teachers of all disciplines to embrace art education. In other words, as mathematics, science, performance arts, literature, social studies, and physical education instructors value art and incorporate it regularly into their respective classrooms, they teach students that art is fundamental to education and life. Without this concerted effort, art is likely to disappear from educational institutions. Educators have a professional responsibility to prevent that from occurring.

The author of this article acknowledges and appreciates current efforts towards curricular integration. This not only renders art education more effective and valuable, but it also enriches it along with other fields of learning. It seems appropriate to link various subjects as they all fall under an educational umbrella. In order to make this happen,…

Sources Used in Document:


Armstrong, Thomas (1996). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Virginia:

Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Prince, Eileen S. (2002). Art Matters: Strategies, Ideas, and Activities to Strengthen

Learning Across the Curriculum. Chicago: Zephyr Press.

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