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Arts May Receive 2nd Chance with Common Core

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 29 Aug 2011 01:31pm | comments
Education Professors Learn to Teach Teachers About Art Integration

In the era of high stakes testing, a heavy focus on tested subjects like English and Math are often thought to detract from time spent on drama, dance, music and visual arts. MPB's Education Reporter, Annie Gilbertson, reports that a reworking of state curriculum may be giving the arts a second chance.

Bishop: “It’s spontaneity with the tissue paper.  I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with it at the moment, but I’m building on the first thing that I’ve done.”

John Bishop is constructing an art piece during an Education Department faculty meeting at The University of Southern Mississippi.  His and his colleagues' projects are meant to embody an overarching theme from the day's discussion - how to encourage teachers to give instruction on the essential subjects such as Math and English using art.

Jodi Engle, Whole Schools Initiative Program Director at the Mississippi Arts Commission says arts integration leads to better performance in core subjects.  Take using dance to hash out weather vocabulary words.

Engle: “If we are talking about spiraling, and we are talking about rotating, talking about counterclockwise, what do all these terms kind of work up to?”

Students' learning may reach far beyond the science of weather, like  a better understanding of the concept of rotation or even a greater sense of how their bodies can move.

Kim Whitt, Mississippi Art's Commission Education Director, says Common Core, the new national curriculum, indirectly demands room for art.

Whitt: The thing about the arts is it provides a muliple service arena for multiple levels of learning."

Whitt argues art integration provides these experiences. And she points to research showing students exposed to art integration are "better equipped to think through situations, find multiple ways to creatively adapt or change, and are more confident in self-expression."

Still, arts integration isn’t a requirement of Common Core, which fully comes into effect in Mississippi in 2014, it’s simply means to this end.

From the Southern Education Desk, for MPB News, I’m Annie Gilbertson.

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Education Professors Learn to Teach Teachers About Art Integration


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