Fears We Face with Arts Integration - The Inspired Classroom

The fears we face with arts integration CAN be fought!

FEARS!  We all have them and what do they do?  GET IN THE WAY.  In this video, I’m going to share with you the most common fears educators have when it comes to arts integration and how we can face them head on!

There are so many eductors – you included who know the power of the arts in education and in arts integration, right?  That’s the good part. The bad part is that there are fears that can get in the way of even the most seasoned of teachers when it comes to integrating the arts.

Here are some of the most common fears we face with arts integration:

Fear #1 – I’m not an artist.

Fear #2 – The test is what I need to focus on.

Fear #3 – My administration/colleagues will think what I’m doing is foolish.

Fear #4 – I will make mistakes.

And you know what, I face these fears too.  I’m a teacher too and I feel the pressures of time, testing, paperwork, and curriculum. But I need to face these fears head on and so do you!

So let’s tackle these fears together!



Read the Transcription

FEARS!  We all have them and what do they do?  GET IN THE WAY. Today I’m going to share with you the most common fears educators have when it comes to arts integration and how to face them head on!

There are so many eductors – you included who know the power of the arts in education and in arts integration, right?  That’s the good part. The bad part is that there are fears that can get in the way of even the most seasoned of teachers when it comes to integrating the arts.  And you know what, I’m included in that. Listen, I’m a teacher too and I feel the pressures of time, testing, paperwork, and curriculum. But I need to face these fears head on and so do you!  

So let’s tackle these fears together!

Fear #1 – I’m not an artist.

“I’m not a musician.  How can I teach my students songs?”

“I can’t even draw.  How can I ask my students to create a visual representation of their poem?”

There are a few ways to approach this.   

One way, and this is my favorite, is to think that you are on a journey with your students.  This is a good standpoint to take whether you are adept in the art form you bring to them or not.  Having an open mind while you teach will allow you to learn from your students as much as they learn from your example.  Trust the process of things!

This is my favorite way to think about arts integration because, well, arts integration isn’t just about YOU, it’s about the students.  Your job is to open the doors of possibilities to your students and let them explore these opportunities. Who cares if you are a master artist.  What does matter is that YOU brought the art into the classroom and allowed students to explore content and gain deeper meaning with the arts’ experiences you provided.  

You don’t have to be an expert in everything you teach – your expertise comes from being a great teacher!

<Woah!  Slow down.  That was pretty deep!  Can we rewind that?> 

You may be the type of person who needs formal instruction before you start something new with your students.  In other words you want to take a class in drawing 101 to learn techniques you can share with your students. That’s great!  Do it!  

Many communities have adult education classes at local schools in various subjects or you could take a class at a local college or university.  There are also some great books that explain art forms in easy to understand ways. For example, my book Inspired by Listening explains how to integrate musical listening experiences in a very non threatening way.

Finally: Collaborate!  Your best allies in arts integration are your colleagues and friends who have those hidden and not-so-hidden talents.  Here’s the way I see it – don’t miss the opportunity to work with the other arts teachers in your school. Pull from their strengths, work together and create something great for your students.

Fear #2 – The TEST is what I need to focus on. 

This can be considered a fear because you have that standardized test  looming over your head and you are fearful that if you don’t take every moment to prepare your students for it, they will fail.  I get it! I live that!

In Massachusetts where I work, 3rd and 4th grade, the grades I currently teach in a loop, are the first years where students are tested.  

Yikes…what pressure!  THey have to learn all the content 2 months before the end of the school year and be able to type at a pretty quick rate in order to complete the open responses and essays.  

You know what they say – so much to do and so little time.

But I’ve come to realize that my students NEED the artistic experiences I am able to give them  And they need it for a couple of reasons.

For one, as I’ve stated in videos before, arts integration allows for deep learning and when you can provide for that deep learning in the content on which they will be tested, then they are going to be able to easily pull from those engaging and meaningful artistic experiences.

The other reason it’s important to take the time for arts integration is that the students (and YOU)  need it for balance. If we are nose to the grind all the time then we are all going to burn out.   

And the beauty of learning with and through the arts is that it provides both meaningful learning AND an enjoyable experience.  Win. Win.  

Not to mention, research shows that the more students engage in arts integrated lessons, the better they do on standardized testing.  (But that’s the topic of another video…)

Here’s the bottom line – You just need the guts to believe what you are doing is beneficial for your students.  If you think you have the guts to tackle these fears, add “Guts” or “I’ve got guts.” in the comments below. REally… Who has the guts?

You!

Fear #3 – My administration/colleagues will think what I’m doing is foolish.

Unfortunately, this is a reality.  So many people who haven’t experienced the process and payoffs of art, just don’t get it.  Here are a few thoughts on how you can approach this.  

First, be knowledgeable yourself in the benefits of the arts.  Have a sentence or two ready for those times when you say what you’re doing and get the eye roll.  

Mine is something like, “Well, my students really enjoy learning through arts integration.  The concepts stick and they have a deeper understanding of what we are doing. They are even starting to take ownership of their learning.  Can’t beat that.”

Now, I am lucky to have an administrator who also believes in arts education and arts integration.  Not every teacher has that. But that’s ok. Be proactive!

One idea is to invite your principal in to see the great things you are doing and how the students react.  Don’t just invite them in for the performance or the showcasing of the product, but have him or her come in during the work.  That time when students are processing, experimenting, reflecting, working collaboratively and independently: that’s the time when the learning is happening.  Interview the students with the principal and get students reactions while they are in the moment.

And of course, once the lesson is over, invite your principal to (or skeptical colleague or concerned parent) to ask students to reflect on their learning.  They (and YOU) may be pleasantly surprised at their insightfulness.

If your admin isn’t interested in visiting your classroom, then video the kids or take pictures or blog about your experiences.  You can email your principal the link or you can use it as evidence of student learning when your evaluations are due. Who knows? It may strike up a good conversation or pique their interest.

Finally, let’s look at Fear #4 – I will make mistakes.

Um…  you’re supposed to make mistakes.  Growth mindset, right?

 Of course you will plan ahead and foresee what you can.  But if your lesson flops, learn from it. 

 Maybe your class isn’t ready to dance a whole choreographed dance of the butterfly, so next time, take it is small increments.  

Maybe you didn’t have all the materials you needed (or couldn’t borrow them all as you thought), so work with what you do have: crayons and markers and skip the paint for this time.

If you find yourself in over your head, ask for assistance (from an arts teacher or colleague next door) or drop the lesson for that time and go to a back-up lesson you have ready for a substitute.

After you have a chance to reflect on what happened and can fix it, go for it again.  The biggest thing is to not give up.  

The arts are not quick and they are not always easy, but if you have it in your heart to deepen your students’ learning through the artistic experiences you will provide, then you will succeed.

So, In short, fear not!  Do your research, plan ahead, go for it and reflect.  Arts integration is as much a learning process for you as it is for your students.

If you are looking for some inspiration and ideas in arts integration, look no further. I’ve got a free resource for you called “Arts Integration in Your Back Pocket.”  It has 4 activities you can use for just about any content area. I outline over 50 ideas to use these 4 activities and even included objectives and assessments for each. THE LINK IS BELOW!  Be sure to check it out!

Also, if you want to join a community of teachers just like you, I have a group of other Inspiring Teachers who love to share and chat about teaching and learning in a way that truly inspires their students while also  inspiring and taking care of themselves.

If you like this video, please let me know by liking it below, subscribe on YOUTUBE and share it with your fellow teachers.  And comment below by telling me what fear you are going to face head on. I look forward to seeing what fears you are going to tackle engaging with you in the comments.

I’m Elizabeth Peterson.  Thank you so much for watching.  Have a fantastic rest of your day!

Resources

Download this free resource: Arts Integration in Your Back Pocket – 4 Tried and True Arts Integration Strategies

I have relied on these 4 strategies time and again for a variety of subjects.

Each is complete with ideas for Math, SS, Science, ELA and SEAL and includes objectives, assessments and rubrics at your fingertips!

https://theinspiredclassroom.com/backpocket/

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Arts Integration in Your Back Pocket

Learn 4 Tried and True Arts Integration Strategies you can use Tomorrow! Includes: ideas in music, visual art, dance and drama ideas for science, social studies, ELA, math and SEAL; objectives and assessments for the art and content area; a rubric to use for each strategies
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