The Kennedy Center provides a robust definition of arts integration: “Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.”
This definition captures the focus of arts integration as a WAY of learning (“an approach to teaching” and “a creative process”) the WHAT of learning (“students construct and demonstrate understanding” and “evolving objectives in both”). Students and teachers work to forge connections between the art form (also referred to as the “art product”) and a specific subject/curriculum area. From a lesson planning perspective, the starting point is a specific topic, followed by the selection of a suitable art form.
According to the 4 Elements approach to education, any definition of arts integration must also involve the WHO of learning, the personal meaning the art form and topic have for the student. What interests the student about an art form? How is the student connecting the curriculum to her own life? Arts integration is an approach to learning which connects a creative art form with a topic or idea in a way that is deeply meaningful for a student. Arts integration thus connects three subjects: the creative art form, the curricular subject topic or idea, and the student. Connect 3. Any arts integration lesson planning process must take all three into account in order for deep learning to take place.