Overview of Integrated Arts
Today’s input from Diarmuid explained the essence of what integrated arts is all about. It is the combination of drama, music, art, and dancing and how these can affect and effect children’s learning. Over the years the arts have lost their place in education being pushed to the background with English and Maths taking centre stage. No one could argue that these are not important in lifelong learning but what has been forgotten is how the arts can influence, support, and enhance a person’s learning. I have learned today to “embrace ambiguity” and in turn this will impact on my teaching practice and the success of my learners. We were urged to read the Ten Lessons the Arts teach by Elliot Eisner which really helped me to understand the reasons that the implementation of the arts in education is important. The lesson that stood out most to me was number 5 “the arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.” This statement resonated with me personally as I have always felt I was not particularly academic but I was encouraged by family as a child in my love of music and drawing and think this has always helped me to understand the complex world around me other than reading, writing and doing maths. On perusal of the Thomas Tallis school Habits Pedagogy Wheel I was able to see the vast range of skills that can be developed by the arts in education and how it can span across the curriculum. I was surprised by the depth of learning that could be achieved and the possibilities for arts in education. I am looking forward with excitement to learn of the permissions of music, art, drama, and dancing within education in the coming weeks and hope it will give me the confidence and lots of ideas to use in my teaching practice.
My question before beginning this class was “how can I teach drama if I cannot do it myself?” by using drama in the classroom just as visual art we as teachers are reading between the lines, allowing children to express and learn other than just reading and writing. I am seeing that children and teachers can know and understand much more by taking part in drama than what we could maybe otherwise read or write. I have understood that “let’s pretend” is a natural part of childhood and that is then something we have all done. It is the human way of seeing and interpreting their world, learning to make judgements, experience and express thoughts and feelings and enhance their problem-solving skills. To be able to teach drama in my classroom I must be able to embrace and join in the experience with the children. By doing this I am setting a positive example, focusing, guiding the children on topic, and learning with and about my pupils as they learn about themselves and the world around them. ” Educational drama is not acting out the narrative of a story. It’s about exploring key moments, key characters and their dilemmas.” Today I learned that I do not need to act out a story, all I need to have confidence to do this is to be passionate about using the tools of the teaching trade; a varied speaking voice, good body language, enthusiastic facial expressions and knowledge of teaching strategies. Angela our lecturer explained to us about drama strategies and we will be exploring those in turn to allow us to see how each can work to construct a drama lesson and demonstrate how they can be used across the curriculum. This week we used the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to look at thought tunnel which encourages the children to think from other perspectives and still image allowing the children to build a visual scene. We also watched a video which explored the strategies of focus, visualisation, bodyscape, still image, and tableaux. I found this to be very interesting seeing how the aims of a lesson can be achieved and themes explored using these different approaches within drama. I am beginning to see how important drama is in education and how effective it can be as a teaching tool. I can imagine how drama can develop all learner’s literacy, collaboration, and negotiation skills, as well as understand and explore creativity. I also realise it will help me to achieve and retain my professional standards as outlined by the General Teaching Council Scotland:
2.1.2 2.1.2 Have knowledge and understanding of Research and Engagement in Practitioner Enquiry
3.1.3 Utilise pedagogical approaches and resources.
The first music workshop began with my lecturer Julie explaining that primary music curriculum normally involves listening, playing, and composing music in other words experimenting with sound. Julie suggested that many teachers do not enjoy teaching or using music in lessons because unless they play an instrument or have had a good experience, they feel they are ill equipped. However, like drama if we are armed with resources and strategies, we can use this as part of our practice easily and successfully. I have understood from today that music plays a very important part of learning for children. It gives children an outlet to express themselves and allows those who do not engage very well with other areas of learning the opportunity to contribute and expand their learning in an alternative way. Listening to music can be a way to explore feelings, emotions, and storytelling and in fact enhancing the whole curriculum as well as classroom management. Playing music can be as simple as using digital technology and software such as Garage Band which allows children to manipulate sound simply by pressing buttons and selecting sounds on a laptop or tablet. I feel that today’s children born into a digitally lead world this will be very appealing even if music is not necessarily something, they thought they liked or were capable of. Composing can also be taught easily in the classroom using materials like Figure Notes which uses symbols and colours to represent notes to begin with then, moving on a stage at a time to conventional music notation. This was an area I had not thought about with regards to music. My thoughts were that because I cannot read music as a professional I should or would not be teaching it to children. I concluded this was a very valuable point to learn from today’s input. I noted down some of the reasons why teaching music in my classroom is important:
- Enhances the whole curriculum
- Has a wider impact on classroom management
- Develops a child’s
- Sense of emotion
- Communication skills
- Discussion skills
- Problem solving skills
- Wider appreciation of other cultures
This is my second time around looking at the Integrated Arts in Education module. Revisiting these inputs has had a significant impact on my prior learning and understanding of the reasons for using the arts in primary teaching. I have understood from today that not only can teacher confidence be a barrier but the importance of the effect on learning is not widely considered. Perhaps this will allow me a deeper appreciation of what can be done and how I can do that effectively within my own teaching practice.
Eisner, E. (2002) the Arts and the Creative Mind Yale University Press
Toye, N, Prendiville, F. (2003) Drama and the traditional story for the early years Routledge Farmer
Thomas Tallis School habits pedagogy wheel. Available at: Tallis Pedagogy Wheel Guide (thomastallisschool.com) (Accessed 6 October 2020).
General teaching council for Scotland (2021) standards for provisional registration. Available at: 2021-Standard-for-Provisional-Registration.pdf (gtcs.org.uk) (Accessed 15 January 2021).