“If we demand quick results, the arts will not supply them.” -Eric Jenson page 1 of Arts with the Brain in Mind.
But that’s ok!
I believe I have made mention to this before. But as I read what Jenson says, I just can’t resist the urge to reflect more on how our society wants our children to learn quickly and effectively. (Is that possible?)
It actually seems that everything nowadays is so immediate.
“I just emailed you something, did you get it yet?”
“Mommy can I see the picture you just took?”
I guess it is just natural that this mentality is found in education as well. We want our students to learn something after a lesson and a few follow up activities. What is worse is that we want these to pay dividends when it comes time for standardized tests.
If you are going to integrate artistic experiences into your teaching, you (and your administration) have to realize that the benefits may not show immediately. The value in art integration is not that you will see a rise in test scores that spring, it is something MUCH deeper than that.
For one thing the arts will provide a more enriching way for your students to develop skills and internalize concepts. They may create a dramatization of a story or event in history and by putting the time into such an event, get so much knowledge out of it. Students might practice their math facts by jumping in sequence. As they move with the number concepts, some students will start to understand them better.
Another way to think of arts integration (and arts education) is that they not only provide for quality learning experiences but long lasting benefits. When you integrate arts experiences into your teaching, you are helping your students to realize the importance of such things as perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness, questioning and flexibility, independent thinking and collaboration: all the skills we want for our children and future workers in society.
The artistic process can be paralleled to the learning process – it’s exciting, it takes time and it’s never really done. What a GREAT message to send to our students whom we are encouraging to truly become life long learners.
What are your thoughts on the long lasting benefits of the arts?
The research on two-way immersion shows that students may lag in test scores until 5th grade, and then their performance begins to outstrip that of students in non-immersion programs. I would expect similar results about arts-integration: some lag in early grades, and big advantages showing up later.
I think an even more powerful term than “arts integration” is “arts-driven” — if you put the arts at the center of the entire curriculum, you infuse everything with opportunities for reflection and the potential to develop creativity.
Thanks for an interesting post.
Warm regards, Fred
Associate Director for Technology Integration
Central California Writing Project
“Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.” — John Holt
Wonderful post! You might enjoy reading: A Lazy Thought by
Eve Merriam. http://bit.ly/cJvvB1
Arts may not be quick but the ARE efficient! Arts are a way of making meaning and connections and therefore killing two birds with one stone, so to speak!
Wonderful post…I have this book of Eric’s on my shelf, although have not read it for a few years now, so your post has prompted me to put it out for some review.
An initial thought that comes to mind is that of going to the gym. Everyone knows the benefit of working out and the time that it takes and but many still want ‘fast results’ which plenty of fitness gadget infomercials pray on.
The Arts bring an experience of discovery and creative problem solving that can develop into a habit of mind….
if such learning happened in a hard and fast instant it wouldn’t hold the real value that it does, because the actual experience would be lost.
Yes, Fred, That is the case where the measured benefits (particularly in testing)is noticed after years of work in arts infused education. I do like “arts-driven”. It really puts arts at the core. (Thank you for the links and resources.)
Richard – I remember you tweeting this link a week or so back. I love this poem and it is a sobering reminder of what is going on in our society. (Time to put on the brakes!)
Marcy – So true. With the arts we can really do so much. They may take time, but it’s time well worth it.
Wayne – I also term this issue the “Coffee Dilemma” where the quick fix for so many is to just drink more instead of taking care of themselves. https://theinspiredclassroom.com/2009/04/the-coffee-dilemma/
(BTW – love your site!)
At times in education we are too impatient, want to do things the quickest way rather than best way. Arts are some of the best! Keep up the great work, Elizabeth!