Arts Integration
Alabama has been training teachers and artists in best practices for arts integration for over 25 years. Robust training programs are offered each summer by the Alabama Arts Alliance and the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. Arts integration may take many forms, from theme based curriculum taught by generalists, to collaobrations between artists and generalists, to artists designing arts integration curriculum by themselves for schools. Arts integration is only truly impactful when equal and significant attention is given to both the arts and the subject being integrated. That requires a professional arts educator. Training programs in Alabama include training by incredible artists that help generalists learn and use arts standards to support their student learning.

It is a mistake to think that generalists can learn how to teach the arts by going to arts integration workshops. The arts are as rigorous as math, and science, reading and social studies. The arts have a language and body of knowledge obtained through years of study. Generalists may obtain the ability to teach an introductory level of strong standards instruction in the arts that will support thier instruction in other subjects if they work with qualified arts educators. By attending arts integration workshops, generalists also see the value of collaborating with arts specialists in their schools and communities.

A strong comprehensive arts education requires educators who teach in their fields. This instruction may be shared by certified arts specialists, practicing artists in the community and cultural arts organizations that are trained to collaborate with schools using standards based instruction. Arts integration provides a strong project based learning model that may be used as alternative summative assessments in other subjects. Often students learning through arts integration, will surpise teachers with the depth of thinking they are able to accomplish by commnicating complex ideas through the arts.

Arts Integration should be one prong of a three prong stool of a comprehensive arts education: 1) strong sequential stand alone arts instruction taught by a trained arts educator, 2) arts integration led by a generalist, an arts educator, or a collaboration of both, 3) participation in community arts offerings and programs, including performances, exhibits, and after school classes.

For professional training in arts integration, Please visit the websites of your statewide arts education service organizations below:

ALABAMA ARTS ALLIANCE
Donna Russell, Executive Director
donnarussell@alaae.org

ALABAMA INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION IN THE ARTS
Randy Foster, Executive Director
rfoster@asf.net