Archived InformationTransforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning The Arts - March 1997
"All the evidence points to a relationship between the arts and the other academic disciplines that is clear and compelling, indicating to both fields that one cannot really flourish without the influence of the other."Ross 44"Given . . . assistance, classroom teachers can become expert at integrating the arts into the teaching of their regular subject matter."Fowler 45"Vocabulary and reading comprehension were significantly improved for elementary students in the 'Arts Alternatives' program in New Jersey."Murfee46
Martin Luther wanted all teachers to be musical. So did Harriet Beecher Stowe's husband, Charles, and her brother, Calvin, who advised the Ohio legislature to define a "professional teacher" as one who could teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and music. Over the years, this advice has not been followed, except that most elementary teachers have had some introduction to the teaching of music and art.
Arts specialists, charged with developing arts skills, can help classroom teachers make disciplines such as history or literature come alive and cultural comparisons meaningful. They can make the principles of geometry or symmetry more real, and they can sharpen the vision of science.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, a goal for students in grades 6-8 is to experience interdisciplinary
learning by connecting the visual arts with other subject areas. One of the suggestions is to
coordinate with the English teacher to have students read The Invisible Man when studying
African-American art. Another is to integrate art and mathematics by looking at tessellations in
Islamic and Moorish art, American patchwork quilts, and the work of M.C. Escher. Students
would be asked "to notice how the geometric shapes tessellate to create a pattern." 48