The study of the arts helps students to develop the intellectual, creative, social, emotional, and physical aspects of their lives. Arts-based strategies encourage students to understand and appreciate a variety of the forms of music, visual arts, drama, and dance. Such strategies increase students’ ability to think creatively and critically, enhance their physical coordination, and develop their ability to work independently or with others. Communication skills developed through the arts promote self-confidence and intellectual and creative growth in all disciplines.
The learning styles of students, particularly those of the visual-spatial and bodilykinesthetic learners, can be accommodated through arts strategies in all subject areas. In fact, the opportunity to be expressive in understanding concepts and presenting learning often enables students with those particular learning styles to be successful. Applying these strategies will assist students in expressing themselves in verbal and non-verbal ways as well as in discovering and developing abilities that will enhance their lives in the future.
Through the study of the arts and the application of arts-based strategies to all disciplines, students learn to:
- relate their own culture to other cultures (e.g., in history and classical studies);
- communicate using art forms (e.g., in mathematics and science);
- express feelings and ideas through art (e.g., dramatizing scientific concepts);
- connect art to history, geography, language, culture, and human interaction;
- experience art as a source of pleasure and learning (e.g., puppetry strategies for foreign language acquisition and practice);
- understand relationships between disciplines (e.g., mathematics and music, design and visual arts);
- use technology in art (e.g., three-dimensional renderings, web pages).
Teachers can assist students in applying these forms to other curriculum areas to deepen understanding. Strategies developed should provide a balanced opportunity to learn in a structured environment and to explore in unstructured activities. Areas such as inquiry and research, graphing, and scientific investigations provide opportunities to use skills.