Art Integrated Learning
This topic provides information about Art Integrated Learning.
Art Integrated Learning
Art Integrated Learning (AIL) is a teaching-learning model which is based on learning ‘through the arts’ and ‘with the arts’: it is a process where art becomes the medium of teaching-learning, a key to understanding concepts within any subject of the curriculum.
Learners explore creatively while building connections between different concepts through various art forms. Art experiences, both in visual (drawing and painting, clay modelling, pottery, paper crafts, mask and puppet making, heritage crafts etc.) and performing arts (music, dance, theatre, puppetry etc.) lead to a better understanding and construction of knowledge about different concepts. Arts have the flexibility to accommodate age-appropriate opportunities for learners who can explore at their individual pace. This resonates with the experiential learning approach.
Stage Wise Learning Objectives
Learning through the arts can take place at all levels of schooling. Art integrated learning is experiential in nature and makes all children respond with their imagination and emotional strengths. The needs of children will vary with age, social contexts and ability. Stage-wise objectives for engaging children in art integrated learning are as follows:
Pre - Primary
At this stage children are both highly inquisitive and energetic. Creative activities such as drawing, painting, clay work, music are both appealing and engaging for young children. At this stage ‘all education should be through the arts’. The objective of children’s participation in visual and performing arts is to:
- Make learning joyful and engaging
- Encourage children to be aware of their environment through keen observation and unhindered exploration
- Promote sensitivity towards their environment
- Allow free emotional expression, communication and creative involvement
- Facilitate children to express freely and spontaneously
Art education at this stage needs to link with all subjects such that it becomes a tool of teaching-learning concepts. Art can play an effective role in strengthening the child’s curiosity, imagination, and sense of wonder. They should have a positive impact on the skills related to intellectual, socio-emotional, motor, language and overall literacy. The objectives of AIL at primary level are to help children:
- Experience joy and eagerness to learn
- Learn to live in an inclusive environment
- Discover concepts of Mathematics and Science in the world around them
- Be aware of interdisciplinary connections
- Enhance observation, curiosity, exploration and creative and free expression
- Explore and understand body movement and coordination
- Develop expressive communication and critical thinking skills
- Foster an inquisitive attitude towards learning and knowledge
- Understand and regulate their emotions
- Create awareness of rich heritage and cultural diversity
During this stage children are ready to comprehend more complex interconnections between concepts and the environment. AIL can allow children build on simple concepts as well as relate them with academic content meaningfully. Children also enhance the skill to work in groups and explore ideas together. The objectives of AIL at the upper primary level are to help children:
- Explore multiple perspectives of concepts
- Construct knowledge of themes, subjects and concepts and be aware of the inter-disciplinary connections
- Develop a pluralistic approach and appreciate different possibilities
- Promote teamwork and mutual appreciation
- Enhance communication skills, language skills and problem solving skills
- Build sensitivity towards environmental and societal concerns
- Create art and apply their artistic skills in day-to-day activites
- Learn inclusive practices of respect, care, empathy and compassion
- Foster socio-emotional competencies and cognitive competence
- Understand and regulate their emotions
- Create awareness of rich heritage and cultural diversity
Strategies for Implementation
The following steps are recommended for effective implementation of AIL
- Capacity Building
- Planning of Activities
- Planning Time
- Planning Resources
- Classroom Management
- Community Involvement
1. Capacity Building
Introducing art as a resource will require re-orienting the school system in the use of it as pedagogical tool. All stakeholders of school education, including the school management need to be oriented to understand the importance and the relevance of this pedagogy. Capacity building here refers to any effort being made to improve the understanding, skills of educators and others to implement AIL in their school. It reduces a school’s reliance on outside support or services, by building their internal capacity. Teacher-training workshops and teacher observation programmes should be undertaken to bring about a paradigm shift in the ways students learn and the ways teachers approach teaching and learning.
2. Planning of Activities
Once the teacher begins to utilise AIL methodology, she would need to work on the dynamics of planning. AIL would require linking art experience to the subject matter seamlessly and to identify methods and techniques to engage children in group activities. Teacher’s preplanning; familiarity with the subject combined with attention to guiding and reviewing children’s responses will keep the journey on track.
Stage Wise Planning of AIL Activities
As recommended by NCF 2005, all the education at this stage should be through arts: drawing, painting, clay modelling, singing, actions or movements. It further emphasizes that 90% of the curriculum must be art oriented. Therefore, while planning activities for this stage, the teacher must keep the above criteria in mind. Another important point for this stage is to focus on the process and not on the product. While planning activities for this stage, focus should be on using locally available, age appropriate materials such as pebbles, seeds and beads, leaves, flowers, sand, clay, sea shells, feathers, wood sticks, tree barks, natural colours, etc.
At the primary stage, arts should be integrated with all subjects and used as an approach for teaching and learning of different concepts. This will help children freely express their ideas and emotions. They will also develop all the senses through keen observation, curious exploration and spontaneous expression. As is the system in most of our primary schools, one teacher teaches all subjects to her class which gives her the freedom and scope to plan art experiences in a way that cater to learning of multiple disciplines. While planning activities for this stage, the teacher should keep in mind that:
- The process and not the product should be focused upon
- The art experience should be planned such that it serves an interdisciplinary purpose catering to multilevel needs of the classroom
- In case of multi-grade classrooms (classrooms where there are students from different standards), the teacher should pay attention to the composition of the groups as age group becomes a fundamental point while designing activities. The need of inclusive classrooms should be focused upon
- The art integration in classes 1-3 and 4-5 should be 80 and 70 percent respectively. (NCF 2005)
- The children of classes I and II should be left with the material to experiment and express on subjects and situations they observe around them
- Class III onwards they can be given simple topics related to their day to day life and immediate environment which also covers their curriculum
At the upper primary stage, emphasis should be laid on the use of learner’s own imagination and development of their creative expressions. It is suggested that children of this stage work together in teams for their socio-emotional development and enhancement of life skills (inter-personal communication, collaboration and cooperation, respect for diversity and appreciation for each other’s perspective, developing leadership skills, problem solving abilities etc.). As this age group is the beginning of adolescence, their growing up concerns are also addressed naturally and effectively through integration of arts.
While planning activities for this stage, the teacher needs to see that:
- The focus is on the process and not on the product
- Needs of inclusive classrooms are taken care
- While making the groups they should follow a heterogeneous approach to ensure no discrimination on the lines of social prejudice and gender stereotypes
- Periodic re-grouping of children is done for better exchange of ideas and accommodating different learning levels
- Children are allowed to use diverse art forms and material to avoid monotony
- ICT as an exploratory tool is encouraged
- Children are provided with opportunities to interact with local/ regional artisans to enhance their sensitivity and awareness towards indigenous cultural heritage
- Field visits to places like museums, galleries, historical monuments, melas, bazaars, haat etc. are incorporated
- The extent to which the art experience can be taken to connect it with the concept/subject content
- Art expereince is utilised as an assessment tool also.
3. Planning of time
Time management at every stage is an important aspect of teachers’ professional competence and productivity. Teachers can sometimes find it challenging to take out time for organizing art experiences, due to paucity of time. This can compromise the creation of a joyful and experiential learning environment. On the contrary there are interesting time-slots availabe in schools such as morning assembly, festivals of celebrations, special assemblies and excursions, which can be utilised for mass art experiences and can be easily linked to the subject content and learning outcomes.
4. Resource Planning
Proper planning of resources adds a novelty to the art integrated experience. Regular research and extensive groundwork by the teacher helps them to create a rich repository of resources which include regional/local resources. The resources should be easy to use and convenient to procure as their easy availability will ensure increased frequency of usage. While selecting the resources, especially the physical ones, one should be confident of the fact that there is flexibility in the choice of resources.
Types of Resources
Material Resources : While planning and selecting material and equipment for AIL activities one can practice thumb rule of following five points – resources should be
- Environment friendly,
- Innovative and
- Locally available.
Community Resources : Ways and forums to involve the local community meaningfully must be devised to develop a healthy and proactive community-school partnership. When provided with opportunities to interact with local/regional artisans, students enhance their sensitivity and awareness towards the indigenous cultural heritage. For example, school authorities may invite local weavers, potters and different service providers so that students may have an intimate engagement with them. Families of the children may also be involved in a positive manner with the school to support learning of children. For effective and meaningful community participation it is recommended that periodic field trips/excursions are included to visit places like hospitals, post office, bus depots, railway stations, etc.
Space : It has been seen that in the traditional set up learning is very often confined to specific areas: whereas in AIL, it is recommended that the teacher needs to become more flexible while selecting and using learning spaces. Spaces/places should be such which provide children with an opportunity to explore, experiment, create and express themselves freely.
Class Room Management
Class room is the space that becomes a fertile ground for learning if utilized and managed appropriately. Given below are some suggestions for effective classroom management:
- Flexible seating arrangement which provides space for activities with free movement of children and teachers. For better efficacy of AIL, it is recommended that the traditional seating arrangement (rows and columns) should be discouraged and arrangements such as sitting in U-shape, semi-circle, etc. should be encouraged to create space for activities and presentations.
- Teachers/facilitators should move across the classroom space while interacting with the children. This will help teacher reach and facilitate every child in the classroom.
- AIL approach recommends children working in groups for active engagement and collective learning. At pre-primary stage group sizes should be of 2, in standards 1 and 2 groups can be of 2-3 children at a time and in standards 3 to 5 groups can be of 4-5 children. By the upper-primary stage, children develop better group dynamics: therefore teachers can plan the grouping of children keeping in mind the need of the activity and not the number.
- For better results, keep changing the configuration of groups which will aid students in getting to know each other better, appreciate each other’s strengths and abilities and learn collaboratively for better comprehension of the subject, leading to enhanced socio-emotional skills.
- Encourage the process of inclusion while respecting all kinds of diversity. While forming groups, the multi-level and multigrade nature of the classroom should also be kept in mind.
- Presentations by children should be encouraged to create an interactive learning environment.
- Every classroom should have display areas where children’s work can be displayed.
- A reading corner may be created where children have easy access to story books, comics, folklores, fables etc.
- The classroom can also have an innovative performing space/area which can be used for regular presentations and performances
If practiced in true spirit, the above will not only help children to develop a sense of ownership of their classroom and school but can also transform them into learners for life.
Assessment in AIL
Assessment through art integrated learning helps the facilitator to move away from the traditional paper-pencil or oral and recall method towards a continuous and comprehensive assessment method which can help assess both the learning of the subject as well as the socio-emotional development of the student. It helps to democratize the process of assessment, in which students are offered multiple modes to express their learning. Hence, it becomes an effective tool for both competencies-based learning and to assess the competency- based learning.