“The arts enhance the process of learning. The systems they nourish, which include our sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capabilities are, in fact, the driving forces behind all other learning.” - Eric Jensen
Arts integration is a model of education based on both research and experiential observation. This model can be defined as the use of arts in a manner that supports and enhances the learning of content in any discipline.
According to the Kennedy Center, “Students meet dual learning objectives when they engage in the creative process to explore connections between an art form and another subject area to gain greater understanding in both.”
Weaving Through Words: Using Arts to Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies is a book written by two founding BCSIS teachers, Sabine Smead and Roberta Mantione. Smead and Mantione were instrumental in establishing our unique Arts Integrated model and used their observations at BCSIS for their continued exploration of the intricate relationship between literacy and the arts. In Weaving Through Words, Smead and Mantione state:
• Arts integration encourages the use of multiple sign systems as each art form uses its own unique set of symbols and signs to express meaning. The ability to make meaning is the ability to weave together and jump between sign systems in order to deepen understanding.
• Cognitive development is fostered through arts integration by helping the students develop the ability to focus and attend to a task. The visual arts give students the ability to start developing mental imagery. The arts are often the emotional anchor through topics and content and lead to the students’ ability to remember what they have studied.
• Arts integration develops critical and creative higher order thinking skills by encouraging students to think outside the box, stimulate creativity, and promote divergence. Through working with the arts , students are required to: develop flexibility, originality, fluency, elaboration, brainstorming, modification, imagery, associative thinking, attribute listing, and metaphorical thinking. The arts force the artist to experience authentic problem solving and interpret meaning, and therefore, help our students construct meaning for deep comprehension.