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According to Liora Bresler, during the s and s, two advocates for arts integration emerged: Harry Broudy and Elliot Eisner. Broudy advocated for the arts on the basis of strengthening the imagination. Broudy viewed imagination as an essential component of learning that should be cultivated in schools, and he advocated for the integration of aesthetic education into all subject matters in his work, Enlightened Cherishing.

Eisner followed Broudy, citing that the arts were important to varying types of cognition. He believed that arts brought about a deeper understanding of the world due to their interactivity—the arts move learning beyond what is written or read. Cassandra B. Whyte emphasized the importance of artistic experiences for students to encourage creative and independent thought processes that would be important throughout an individual's lifetime.

The arts helped students with problem solving and decision making and those processing experiences could be adapted in general life situations. Formerly, No Child Left Behind legislation describes arts education as "essential to every child's education," and include it as one of the Core Subjects.

AASA | American Association of School Administrators

While no standardized assessment has been mandated in any of the arts, the need for academic accountability in the arts, as well as in other academic subject areas, has led to increased research on and advocacy of arts integration and its impact on student learning. Currently, Common Core and close adaptions of it are changing the way schools approach learning. Common Core's approach to art integration is that it enhances education by making learning interesting and fun. With Common Core becoming the norm for many school districts through the United States, teachers are integrating art into the classroom now more than ever.

The rise of popularity in art integration has increased the amount of resources available to include the classroom, making it easier than ever to use art integration in the classroom. Arts advocacy discourse currently presents two main opposing views in support of arts in education. The first points to economic grounds that art teaches "21st-century skills" like collaboration and innovation, which are necessary only as a means to breed productivity for the growth of the market. The second, alternative approach focuses instead on the philosophical value of creative inquiry that art instills in students, arguing lifelong development with no end in mind as a necessary habit borne out of an arts education.

Critical Links, [7] a compendium published by the Arts Education Partnership AEP [ permanent dead link ] , includes 62 studies which examine the relationship between arts learning, academic achievement, and social development of students. Another American organization conducting research in arts integration is the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. Harvard University 's Graduate School of Education supports Project Zero , an educational research group founded in by Nelson Goodman, which investigates learning in the arts.

Currently, it is directed by Steve Seidel, and has expanded its research in arts learning to include other branches of education. For over 30 years, the John F. To develop a school-wide culture of arts integration, a network of CETA schools partner with the Kennedy Center to engage their teachers in in-depth professional learning focused on arts integration.

The CETA program has added to the research about the impact of arts integration on students, teachers, and school culture through multiple evaluation studies. To reach educators throughout the nation, the Kennedy Center hosts an annual Arts Integration Conference, in which educators actively explore arts integration concepts and strategies. A series of Kennedy Center Seminars for Teaching Artists that focus on arts integration, as well as practices for developing strong arts-integrated residencies for students and workshops for teachers are available throughout the nation.

The Kennedy Center Partners in Education, headquartered in Washington, DC , is an organization that has promoted arts integration for over two decades. This organization advocates for arts education, fosters collaboration between artists and schools to support arts learning, develops and conducts professional development in arts education for teachers, and recognizes achievement in the arts.

Art Enhances Brain Function and Well-Being

Since the s, Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, has been educating classroom teachers across the US in the implementation of arts integration through a professional development master's degree program. A research study , funded by the Ford Foundation, has found that teachers who graduate from the program and integrate the arts into their teaching are more resilient and remain committed to their profession.

Their students engage in deep learning through arts integrated activities, leading to a greater interest in school. The College of Education at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee located in Sarasota, FL, has adopted arts-integration across of all its educator preparation programs, providing training for teachers, leaders, and specialists who take on educational roles in their careers.

ArtsNow [2] provides professional development training for educators, focused on building the skills needed to integrate arts across the curriculum.

Why Teach Art?

Through the innovative Foundational Training course, teachers learn to identify opportunities to integrate all art forms - visual, dance, and music - into lessons in all class subjects for grades K, meeting both state and national curriculum standards including Common Core standards. ArtsNow offers free Ignite Curriculum Guides through its website.

EducationCloset [3] provides professional development in arts integration and innovation in teaching. With an annual Arts Integration conference, Arts Integrated Curriculum , courses, webinars and publications available, teachers, artists, arts educators, administrators, and arts advocates can find rigorous, high-quality resources for Arts Integration which connect to Common Core State Standards and STEM.

With a focus on the classroom practice of arts integration, a nonprofit called Arts Integration Solutions formerly the Opening Minds through the Arts Foundation [4] provides professional development for teachers and program planning and implementation for schools and school districts. AiS has developed a set of tenets that are the basis for arts integration and a cycle that helps teachers develop daily lessons in math, science, reading and writing that use the arts to fully engage students.

AiS has developed programming for use of arts integration in teaching the STEM subjects science, technology, engineering and math and Literacy. These important areas are considered by many the tools for success for student achievement. A consequence of predominately emphasizing these three areas of academic study is a lack of attention to other major areas of academics, mainly the arts.

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Mind in Art: Cognitive Foundations in Art Education

Viewing the arts as insignificant has had a major impact on teaching creativity to students. The importance of teaching the arts to students has recently been viewed as less essential than teaching other core studies, particularly by school administrators. Educational institutions are attempting to maintain federal standards to receive government funding.

These standards focus predominantly on subjects such as English and math and are also highly emphasized during standardized testing.


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If schools can improve student achievement within these areas, they do not become vulnerable to a loss or reduction in federal funding. This includes more time allotted for the instruction of these classes as well as a large amount of the school budget to enhance these courses. While a sizable amount of the educational budget is spent on these important areas of academic study, schools are finding that there is less money for what some would consider as non-essential courses, such as higher level music and art.

The funds that have been reduced now disallow the arts to provide furnishings and supplies as well as instructor salaries that are essential to these programs. As a result, art courses are not regarded with the same amount of respect and students are denied a creative outlet within their education.


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Budget issues and the reduction of spending for the arts has caused numerous schools to attempt to find additional sources to help support their arts program. School administrators frequently look towards state funding to assist in financing the arts. Grants and other means to finance the arts are increasingly becoming more frequent, but they are temporary solutions to fund these programs. Schools often work with local and state governments to receive income; however numerous state governments are experiencing other budget deficit issues and can rarely afford to finance such a program in the amount that is needed.

So to help support the arts, often there is need for assistance from private contributors.

Mind in Art Cognitive Foundations in Art Education

Still, as with grants, private contributors cannot donate enough funds to adequately support the arts in education and cannot contribute as consistently as the government could. Funding the arts in education still remains a large and unresolved issue for many school districts nationwide.

Advocacy for the arts raises an issue of how essential teaching the arts to students actually is. Due to statistical analysis of a perceived lapse in mathematical and reading skills of our youth, many parents feel that importance of the arts is less crucial than other fundamental areas of academic study.

This is namely due, in part, by the fact that art is viewed as less needed in the workforce. However many advocates argue that students in the arts excel in interpreting and analyzing visual and spatial information. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, "Educators have acknowledged that the arts are basic to the acquisition of a well-rounded education.

The arts provide meaning to learning. They serve as a vehicle for acquiring the skills to which educational reformers have said students should aspire: problem-solving, higher order thinking, flexibility, persistence, and cooperation. The stress of the importance for the arts then becomes one that benefits the students for their future careers. However, this is not the case, as any teacher can become an arts teacher. While art is, to its core, incredibly subjective, there is a basis for every practice.

In the fine arts there are the elements and principles of design, the color wheel, etc. In music there is basic music theory. In drama, there is basic play structure, acting theory, etc. Whether or not a teacher can do these things is irrelevant; if they can be taught, that information can be passed on from the teacher to the student. The goal is not to create master artists, but rather teach basic arts skills, processes, and aesthetic quality, and encourage creative teaching techniques.

These skills are simple and easy to learn and teach, and will be infinitely useful in creating lesson plans and in practice. Once an arts-integrated environment is established, techniques, examples, and information can be shared amongst colleagues. Funding and advocacy for the arts still remains the largest issue that is currently facing teaching this important area to students. Many districts and supporters speak out for more funding to ensure advancement in the arts, however there is little money to be shared across the many programs in education.

Many fear that certain arts programs may be removed from some schools due to these concerns. While art education is considered one of the core subjects in the No Child Left Behind Act, there are many who fear for its future. The arts are often perceived as a hobby, an interest or purely as a recreational occupation.