At a recent meeting, I was reminded of the power of “YES, AND” (in place of “yes, but…”). This simple combination of words came to mind as I read an article about arts integration in schools.
Katrina Schwartz’s article How Integrating Arts Into Other Subjects Makes Learning Come Alive, illustrates how the arts can improve learning in all subjects and is an outstanding tool for differentiation.
So what is the YES, AND? Let’s consider this in response to some questions school leaders might have about adopting an arts integration approach.
Will the teachers who currently teach the “other subjects” be able to deliver instruction through an arts integration approach if they don’t h ave an arts background?
YES, AND they will need support to do so. I have seen arts integration delivered quite successfully by elementary classroom teachers who are not Arts teachers, but these teachers were committed to the approach, highly trained through the Kennedy Center’s arts integration program, Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA), and supported by arts teachers at their school. The article points out, “Art scares people who are not in the arts… If they don’t have a lot of experience or don’t feel like they are good at anything in the arts, it becomes a personal insecurity issue.” This can e overcome through training in arts integration methods.
Could the arts teachers already in my school help the other teachers with this insecurity?
YES, AND they can help develop arts integration strategies that align with arts standards. Arts teachers can help their colleagues develop understanding and skills in various art forms, and with appropriate time, collaborate with teacher teams to plan instruction that supports the whole child.
Will the students still receive direct arts instruction?
YES, AND the arts instruction they receive will reinforce and expand the opportunities for integration in other subjects to support learning. In a committed arts-integration school, the arts standards can be reinforced in a science or language arts lesson just as math or social studies standards can be reinforced through an arts lesson.
A school interested in embracing the YES, AND of arts integration must commit to the approach and invest in supporting all of their teachers with time to collaborate and design high quality instructional practices. This includes an investment in arts educators to ensure the art, music and theatre teachers have time to teach their own subjects, and support integration in the school.
For more about the power of arts integration, check out the article.