Another post on this site, “What is True Arts Integration” sparked a little bit of dialogue and last night I was replying to the comments that had been made. While doing so, I found an important key concept in arts integration ringing through – Collaboration.
Collaboration has been discussed here and on other blogs (and articles and books) time and again. I would like to focus on how collaboration between educators can be helpful as we work to integrate subject areas together, making learning experiences more meaningful to our students (and ourselves!)
A field hockey “mantra” I became very familiar with in high school was, “Communication is the key to success.” It is so true. If you want a team to work well together, then you need to communicate well. Well, in our team of teachers, Collaboration is another key to success. We cannot all be experts at everything. We cannot work as if we live on an island. We have to allow other teachers into our spaces so that we can work more efficiently and effectively for our students. As Victoria Riehle said in her comment, “Open the doors, forget about the bell, let multiple subjects happen at one time and watch the light bulbs go off!”
Sometimes there is the desire in a teacher to integrate, but the skill level is just not there. Again Collaboration is the key. When we do not know what direction to take, we need to seek out the expertise of our colleagues. There is so much talent within our school walls. We must feel comfortable and open enough to reach out to one another and exchange what we have to offer.
Even when I feel I have a good or even great idea for an integration lesson, there is always more that can be done. I am limited by my own experiences, but when I am open to recieving the knowledge of others (including other teachers and also my students) some great extensions can occur in the classroom. After reading an activity idea on my post about True Arts Integration, Dawn offered an artistic extension to the lesson using color and design. It was a perfect example of how working together can only improve the original idea and enrich the experience as a whole.
I will often find myself coming up with an idea and then protecting it. It’s mine! This happens a lot in schools, but is not how education should be. (And this is what I fear will happen more often if merit pay becomes part of our education system.) Instead, a community of educators must also be a community of learners and therefore a community of collaborators.
How do you collaborate with your colleagues?
I am creating a course in the history of art around the world. I am doing this so that art and art history will stay part of American education. The site and I need teachers to collaborate with me in a number of ways. ahaafoundation.org is the site. I have taken an around the world approach rather than the usual History of Western Art.
Should you choose you can collaborate with me by having high school students do a critical review of one micro lesson of their choice.
Should you choose you can collaborate with by assisting me with adding the appropriate music to the site.
Should you choose you can collaborate by using the site and letting me know how it works if the course you teach.
I am no longer teaching in the classroom. As you will find out if you click on Meet Katherine I am passionate about getting this work into the schools. I have created a number of PowerPoints that you can use.
The work on Prehistory and Early Villages is complete. Please contact me if you find broken links. Early Civilizations if under construction and a mess right now.
I use skype Katherine Bolman and my phone if 808 941-4242 And since I live in Hawaii there will be a time difference that can be worked out.
I do look forward to hearing from any one of you!!
Katherine Bolman, PhD
I am inspired and motivated. You mirror me reflecting all I do. Thank you. Gratitude
You have a great project here! Congrats on your work. I have only started to see what you have to offer through your site. I have just tweeted a link to this post with a invitation to read your comment. Hopefully you will hear from some arts/history people and teachers. Good luck to you!
My mother’s name Elizabeth too, this is no accident