Reburn 1 Haley Reburn EDCI301 16 December 2013 Personal Statement: Arts Integration Approximately a decade later, I still remember

a number of the projects I completed in my elementary school art classes. I was extremely proud of some of the artwork I created; however, the ones that stick out most in my mind today are the assignments on which I received negative feedback from my teacher. Throughout elementary school and even since then, I have never been completely comfortable with art, especially art to be seen and evaluated by others. The fact that the artwork which I was most harshly criticized on as a child is the most specifically memorable to me proves the powerful role teachers hold in shaping children’s views on art. While evaluation is a critical part of teaching, the approach used to teach and assess student art is equally critical in building a child’s self esteem. I plan to make a point as a teacher to incorporate art into my students’ everyday learning, to expose them to a variety of different forms of art, and to provide a positive and accepting environment in which they can create their own art. In this way, I hope to build confidence not only with the subject of art itself, but with all aspects of the curriculum. The heavy focus that schools often place on standardized testing and core subjects such as math, social studies, language arts, and science, often makes it challenging for teachers today to make time for art in their classrooms at all, let alone to emphasize it as a critical part of the curriculum. Although art has never been an area of particular comfort for me, I know of its rich benefits to a child’s self-esteem, behavior, and overall learning experiences. In order to offer such benefits to my future students and to maintain a secure position for art in my classroom

Reburn 2 without taking away from other core subjects, I have begun to adopt arts integration as an essential part of my teaching philosophy. Arts integration combines art with math, social studies, language arts, or science in a single lesson. Equal emphasis is placed on art standards and core subject standards, and each is used to feed off of and expand on the other. While simple free-drawing time during the day can be a good creative outlet for students, it is not sufficient for a curriculum otherwise lacking in arts integration. Art should never be a last minute “add-on,” to a lesson, but should instead be carefully planned and skillfully incorporated into daily planning. For example, Renaissance in the Classroom, by Gail Burnaford, Arnold Aprill, and Cynthia Weiss (2001), describes an instance in which students at Healy School incorporated dance with social studies in order to study the Underground Railroad. The students were able to develop a deep understanding of what they learned about the Railroad by using song and movement, rather than just reading or listening to facts. At the same time, they developed a new understanding of choreography and dance (p. 12). This is an example of successful arts integration that includes both a fine artdance- and a core subject- social studies- working together to further students’ understanding of concepts in both areas. This is exactly the type of lesson I have already begun to model my lesson plans off of, as it not only gives students a better understanding of the subjects presented, but has also been proven to improve self-concept and overall attitude among children. When integrated successfully, the arts can actually improve a child’s understanding of a core subject that is otherwise difficult to grasp. This is especially helpful for students who have trouble with certain subjects and/or become frustrated with the dry teaching that revolves around core curricula and standardized testing. In addition to its direct benefits to comprehension of subject matter, arts

Reburn 3 integration gives students who tend to withdraw from learning or act out an “access point that invites [them] into the curriculum” (Burnaford et al., 2001, p. 34). Research by Evan Hastings (2010), agrees with the idea that arts integration can improve students’ attitudes by helping “behavioral problems…be transformed and rechanneled by providing creative outlets” for troubled students to express themselves constructively (p. 120). Furthermore, arts integration has been proven to have especially positive effects on the attendance, motivation, and performance of those students who are difficult to engage (Fiske, 1999). While not all school systems have specific art classes and teachers available to help provide the benefits associated with arts integration, there are often valuable resources available in the surrounding community for classroom teachers to collaborate with. Community artists and art programs, local museums, and colleagues are important tools to consider in designing artsintegrated lessons. Because I have not always been comfortable with art on my own, collaboration with such resources would be especially helpful to achieving my arts integration goals. In my future classroom, I plan on taking advantage of whatever opportunities are accessible to me in order to enhance the curriculum and expose my students to new ideas and styles of art that they may not otherwise be able to experience.

Reburn 4 References: Burnaford, G., Aprill, A., & Weiss, C. (2001). Renaissance in the Classroom. Dwyer, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from website: http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo23762/PCAH_Rei nvesting_4web.pdf Fiske, E. B. (1999). Champions of change: The impact of art on learning. President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED435581 .pdf Hastings, E. (2010). Creativity as classroom management. Artful Teaching.