By: Shannon Shull
I recently have had the honor of teaching and leading arts integration at Batesburg-Leesville Elementary School. Can I just say – what an amazing experience and opportunity! Let me define “arts integration” for you…
Arts integration is the collaboration between the arts and other academic content areas resulting in a richer, more complete whole that fosters deep, connected, personal learning in both areas simultaneously.
I am what they call a “teaching artist.” I am a trained performer, with a focus of acting and dance, that infuses the arts into regular school curriculums. I get great joy from being a teaching artist!
So how does arts integration help me? Understanding arts integration helps round out my artistry. Knowing how to integrate the arts and actually engaging in integrating the arts only enhances my pool of talents and allows me the precious opportunity to share my passions on a very unique level. As a performer, you seek to entertain and gain great joy from entertaining — add teacher to that equation and you’re knighted with this priceless opportunity to let the arts lead the way alongside education, enriching everyone’s lives. To me, arts integration means tapping into a student’s imagination and engaging them so much into the subject and art form, that they don’t recognize how very much they’re learning — due to the fact that they’re having so much fun!
Last summer I had the honor of training at Greenville County, Smart Arts, and Metropolitan Arts Council sponsored training institutes and I participated in Kennedy Center’s Artists as Educators Seminars. It was a total thrill for me! I seriously loved every bit of it. Working with school teachers and other teaching artists opened my mind and broadened my teaching horizons. Sounds cheesy I know, but hey, it’s my thing!
Amazing things happen and great knowledge is attained when the arts help to bring school subjects to life. All that being said, I hope those of you who read this will also be supporters of arts integration and encourage your local schools to take advantage of the huge benefits the arts can have on education. It’s a beautiful thing to see a child grasp the knowledge and have so much fun learning!