The Arts in Learning

There are three ways the Arts play an essential role in learning:

Arts Education

The arts may be studied as a subject where students learn skills and techniques in an art form. There are six general art forms: Dance, Media Arts, Literary Arts, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts.  When studying a particular art form within one of these areas, students are focused on the what of learning.  At the same time, their studies are likely to involve a way of learning (the creative process) that leads to the who (meaning) and why (purpose) of learning.

Arts as Language

The arts may be utilized as a language of communication.  Just like spoken language, the arts can be receptive or expressive.  Both aspects involve a communication of knowledge (what), meaning (who), or purpose (why).  The arts function as receptive language when students experience works of art “as text” — as a rich source of history, culture, values, ideas, or feelings.  The arts function as expressive language when students create and share art to voice their soul.  As a language of communication the arts function as a way of learning.

Arts Integration

The arts may be integrated with other subject areas as a general way of learning (the creative process).  Arts integration involves learning in three central arenas: arts education (what), some other educational subject area (what), and the identity and growth of a student or group of students (who and why).  Arts integration is distinct from “arts enhancement” where the arts are used as a teaching strategy to support learning and engagement in other subject areas.