GINA ANGELIQUEprofessional development for teachers through sustainable arts integration & pedagogy 

Sustainable Arts Integration for Teachers with Gina Angelique, dancefarm

Definition, Viewpoint, and Pattern Summary
Arts integration uses student imagination as the source for deep learning.  By imagining, students can engage their minds, bodies and hearts in learning, and nourish a genuine sense of curiosity that compels a more thorough understanding of any topic at hand.  In a quality arts integration class, the academic subject and arts discipline are well woven and indiscernible from each other.  Traditional models of information delivery become informed by the creativity, adventure, and sense of play inherent in art making.

The 9 viewpoints we use to achieve arts integration in our classrooms are based on how we use time and space:

Spatial Relationship- How we set up, change and create our classrooms has everything to do with student engagement.  Spatial relationship also refers to the way teachers use space while teaching and how they maximize impact through proximity and distance to students. 

Architecture- Using the architecture of the teaching room, the desks and chairs in it, as well as the architecture of physical bodies in space can make learning more fun.  Treating the classroom more like a playground thematically based on the subject at hand makes coming to class a joy and adventure.

Shape- Teaching students to use shape and shape making games makes learning tangible and appeals to kinesthetic learners.  Teachers and students gain physical freedom, and exercise more joyfully while learning when they know how to use shape in class.

Topography- Everybody comes to school a different way, in the same manner everybody comes to an understanding in a different way.  Topography is about illuminating pathways in learning.  Imagine a 'candyland' board....there are so many twists and turns that make traveling an adventure.  This is the power of understanding the relationship of topography to how we prepare lectures and class plans.

Gesture- We make tons of assumptions about students based on the behavioral gestures they make, and likewise, students respond to how we as teachers use our hands and eyes.  But when we move beyond that into the land of abstract gestures, deeper learning that incorporates feelings about subject matter can happen.  This is so important, as learning about world events, such as the holocaust, or colonization intellectually and without emotional commitment isn't really learning at all.


Repetition- Perhaps the most important viewpoint to be mindful of as a powerful teacher is repetition.  How much is enough?  What is too much?  And, how can repetition be fun, and comforting rather than monotonous.  Teaching is laden with need for repetition, so mastering this viewpoint is especially empowering for teachers.

Duration- Every student, and every teacher has a different speed at which they live and learn.  So how long we go on and on is hugely important to our impact as teachers.  Duration is a portal into understanding the evasive student attention span, and helps teachers command the vital task of lengthening and developing our student's ability to concentrate and focus.

Tempo- Everyday is unique, and teachers know that students act differently on rainy days, sunny days, days closer to vacations etc.  Using tempo to benefit the sharing of knowledge is an exciting way to be alive and in the moment with the changing dynamics of student 'mood.'

Kinesthetic Response- Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you shiver?  Teachers too often neglect physicality in teaching.  But getting physical is the best way to make disinterested students alive again.  Kinesthetic response puts learning in student's bodies, and is a powerful tool for engaging the heart and body in learning.

Summary of the pattern of an arts integrated class: 

Focus- Before we can achieve anything as teachers, we need to focus our students.  They come into the classroom with a thousand stimuli and personal issues galore.  Learning quick and effective ways, like spectrums and physical coordination to focus students cannot be understated in its power to transform the impact of a class.

Imagine- Harnessing student imagination as the source for learning gives kids a stake in what they discover and engages a genuine sense of curiosity.  Setting up our classes with an invitation to imagine makes learning personal.

Play- This is where all the fun stuff happens, and what can bring the most joy to the monotony of a relentless school schedule.  The meat of learning for the day happens when the whole class plays together, all the while acquiring knowledge in deep and meaningful ways.

Reflect – Creative ways for students to reflect on the day's learning provides the teacher with critical information about what they have achieved, as well as nurturing trust and communication between students and teachers.

Preflect- Ending the day's work by asking questions or leaving hints about what is coming tomorrow makes students infinitely curios and excited to continue the learning process.