In 2008 the Kennedy Center Education Department developed a definition of arts integration that now guides innovative schools and educators around the world. Driving forces behind the creation of the definition were the desire to keep the arts vital in schools, to provide a rationale for classroom teachers to integrate the arts, and to improve student learning, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
The definition is Arts Integration is an APPROACH to TEACHING in which students construct and demonstrate UNDERST ANDING through an ART FORM. Students engage in a CREATIVE PROCESS which CONNECTS an art form and another subject area and meets EVOLVING OBJECTIVES in both.
The words may at first seem like educational jargon, but implicit in the definition are a deep respect for student creativity, connections to curriculum, and a desire to alter the way in which we teach.
Stuart leads the Arts Integration workshop for the Kennedy Center, introducing educators to a deeper understanding of the ideas and intentions of the approach. His understanding of the definition is explicit in teacher workshops, and in his work with students.
For more information, visit ArtsEdge, which includes a longer explanation and lesson plans based on the arts integrated approach. Arts Edge also features a lesson plan by Stuart called “We Are the Freedom Riders.”