Re-Placing the Arts in Elementary School Curricula: An Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Action Research Project:
Allen Trent and Jorge-Ann Riley's research illustrates the impact of art-integrated education in an urban 4th grade classroom and its success on student learning in meaningful ways. Art-integrated education has shown benefits such as increased academic achievement and cognitive development. Trent and Riley mention a few interesting notes in regards to their research:
Trent and Riley's aim was to bring quality arts integrated education to urban students. They implemented their research practice in Riley's fourth grade class at Denver Public School in Northeast Devner, Colorado. Three research questions were posed to guide the inquiry of the project: 1) What are the student specific impacts/outcomes of integrating visual art curricula with other academic content areas? 2) What approaches, strategies, and practices support the implementation of arts integrated curricula? And 3) What does quality art integrated education (in elementary classrooms) look like?
The collaborative unit plan created was intended to engage a variety of texts and research related topics aligned with Denver Public School standards. One lesson that really stood out to me in terms of artistic design and thought was the artwork illustration of privacy rights (posted below):
The artist who composed this piece states: "My artwork is about someone trying to steal privacy from someone else. My message is that you don't always have absolute privacy."
There were several findings about integrating the arts in this research. Here are some I found particularly interesting:
Trent and Riley emphasize the importance of integrated curricula in both K-12 and teacher education. They also believe that in order for integrated teaching and learning to be more prominent, there should be an increase in professional development for educators at all levels. Finally, Trent and Riley conclude that the regular practice of providing students with multimodal forms for exploration is essential for knowledge and skill development and that quality art-integrated education should be "an educational right for all students, not just for the wealthy, White, or otherwise privileged."