January 21, 2011

Interesting Arts Report Out of Australia

I saw this artical posted on ME Arts Ed blog. 

I have to agree that art projects that go with what students are learning in the classroom would greatly enhance their learning.  However...most teacher actually do feel they have too much content to teach to ever get around to fun complementary projects for their lessons.  I'm kind of amazed that the educational chairmen, Barry McGaw,  said they don't put too much on them.  I'm not in Australia..so I don't know exactly how things work there, but I know in the United States...more and more is being expected out of students & teachers.  It seems that by forcing so much information on to students keeps them from mastering anything.  How many times have I had teachers tell me...I use to be a fun teacher..I use to do fun projects with my lessons...I use to love doing art type projects with my lessons.  However, they can no longer do this!  They have too much to cover & not enough time. 

There are some things this artical doesn't address...what happens to art teachers? Do they resource the classroom/subject area teachers?  Do they still teach their own subject...and just help out with the projects classroom teacher have students create? 

I thought this was interesting...how you enjoyed it too. Please share your thoughts!!!


  1. I've been teaching Arts Integration for years - @6 of them as a traveling art teacher who gave "demonstration lessons" to teachers to show them quick, easy ways they could teach their curriculum with art projects and NOT do extra work.

    The teachers who bought into my program did awesome work. Sometimes I'd return to a building (I had up to 4 of them at a time) and find the hallways covered with student art projects that had been taught by the classroom teachers, because they understood how art related to everything and therefore could be used to teach any subject.

    On the other hand, you will find the hold-outs who insist that they "don't have the time," even with all the evidence saying otherwise. In those classrooms I was often the only taste of art that the students got, and at best I saw them once or twice a quarter as a special thing. To those teachers I was nothing more than a little extra planning time.

    I've since traded my paintbrushes for a computer lab, but my county's Art Integration program is still going strong. It has some awesome teachers in it who do incredible work.

    The only downside is why it exists in the first place: Many elementary schools in my county don't have the budget for a full-time art teacher, so the classroom teachers are expected to enter one art grade per week.

    The program is great, it's just a shame that it grew out of the financial concerns of people who didn't value the arts.

  2. My job teaching art integration is eerily like Aaron's. It's so similar, that I wonder if we teach for the same school system. Officially my job title is Interrelative Art Teacher. My job is to integrate art into the subjects currently being studied in the classroom. I am also there to help teach the classroom teachers how to integrate art into their own classroom. However, most teachers do not.

    I do absolutely believe that art can help enhance a student's understanding of their core subjects. (I think that is obvious). I also think the classroom teachers should be incorporating art into their lessons more often. However, I find that arts integration only happens when I am in the school. I often think that my schools only feel art is important when it is related to the core subjects. "Art for Arts sake," just doesn't happen. I find it frustrating when I have a wonderful art lesson that I just can't use because it just doesn't relate to the curriculum.

    The best answer would be to keep the regular school art teacher plus encourage the classroom teachers to do arts integration as well. This way, students would have their integrated lessons, which would enhance their understanding of the subject, but without minimizing the importance of art.

  3. I think you should teach your own curriculum, but you can branch out to a part in the K-6 curriculum and find a subject that is interesting and work it out with the classroom teachers. I do some cross-curricular art lessons with my students, but I also teach my own art curriculum as well. Its all about preference.

  4. Very interesting! I believe in integration, when possible. But, I think art is also an important subject in and of itself, we have a lot to teach in art, and I think trying to always integrate limits our own field. One of my favorite books purchased last year was "Bridging the Curriculum Through Art: Interdisciplinary Connections". But if I try to only integrate with what is happening in the classroom, I miss out on teaching other important art concepts and lessons and artists. Integration is awesome when I can make it happen! I worry too, about encouraging classroom teachers to integrate art IN the classroom, because we give the powers that be the idea that we, the art specialists, aren't important. I'm afraid if they think classroom teachers can do it, why do they need us? I think that is wrong, but I'm afraid that is what they will think!

  5. I'm an art teacher in Australia and I find there are no set ideas about integrating the arts. I really enjoy designing art projects around classroom learning and many classroom teachers will have a theme or topic for their class but many do say they feel too overwhelmed by all the compulsary testing and so on to work with a theme. I personally feel The Arts is not valued highly enough and that many teachers are not at all interested what their class does in Art - so long as they get the hour off whilst I am teaching.

  6. I'm homeschooling with Waldorf eduacation because art is embedded in the curriculum. I'm also an EC teacher and because I have worked in the private sector have had the freedom to make activities artistic.

    Thank you for bringing this up.