matter is considered essential in today's curriculum?
What is the
purpose of education in contemporary society?
Why study the
Is there a
place for arts in the curriculum within this standards-based instructional
Answers to these questions vary according to the historical and cultural values
of a particular time and place in history. The needs of current society
dictate educational goals, objectives, and standards. Now that we have
high academic performance standards that we expect all students to achieve in
all subject matter, the arts often fall to the wayside. Although it would
be wonderful to dedicate time to the arts as we have in past eras, the reality
is that we often have to slip the arts in through the back door! One way
to make sure our students still receive instruction in the arts is to integrate
the arts into other parts of the core curriculum. This may not be ideal
for those of us who view arts as central to life. But, the reality of
classroom with its emphasis on test preparation and limited amount of time for
teaching anything but the basics - or what is being tested - presents a
real challenge for the elementary teacher! We've discussed the
integration of music with literacy, math, and science, but one of the easiest
areas in which to integrate the arts is social studies. In fact, the arts
are an important part of the national and state social studies and history
curriculum standards. The visual and performing arts standards and the
history/social science standards overlap throughout each grade level. The
areas of the California History Social Science frameworks that emphasize the
The olden days...
quotes from philosophers on what was considered "essential" for
education during three very different time periods. Plato valued mathematics and
"harmonics." Dewey described education as "life" and all
that life is, including arts and culture. Howard Gardner, the leader of
early multiple intelligences research and part of Project Zero promotes the idea
that we must understand and enhance
learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and
scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels.
Howard Gardner's speech is obviously the most timely for us as teachers today.
Note that quotes Plato:
education we need to help students find pleasure in what they have to
Academy - and His Recommended Course of Study
the exact sciences - arithmetic, plane and solid geometry,
astronomy, and harmonics - would first be studied for ten years to
familiarise the mind with relations that can only be apprehended by
thought. Five years would then be given to the still severer study
Dialectic is the art of conversation, of question and answer; and
according to Plato, dialectical skill is the ability to pose and
answer questions about the essences of things. The dialectician
replaces hypotheses with secure knowledge, and his aim is to ground
all science, all knowledge, on some 'unhypothetical first
Dewey - 1897
education is life, all life has, from the outset, a scientific aspect,
an aspect of art and culture, and an aspect of communication. It
cannot, therefore, be true that the proper studies for one grade are
mere reading and writing, and that at a later grade, reading, or
literature, or science, may be introduced. The progress is not in the
succession of studies but in the development of new attitudes towards,
and new interests in, experience.
believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing
reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of
education are one and the same thing.
Arts in Education Today
of the most rigorous current research projects focusing on the arts in
education is Project Zero, begun by Nelson Goodman of Harvard.
Howard Gardner has continued to help carry out the Project Zero
mission "to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and
creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific
disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels. The
research programs are based on a detailed understanding of human
cognitive development and of the process of learning in the arts and
other disciplines. They place the learner at the center of the
educational process, respecting the different ways in which an
individual learns at various stages of life, as well as differences
among individuals in the ways they perceive the world and express
Education for the Future:
The Foundation of Science and Values
Paper presented to
The Royal Symposium
Convened by Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix
Amsterdam, March 13, 2001
first dilemma: What should be taught?
What should be
highlighted: facts, information? data? If so, which of the countless
facts that exist? Subject matters and disciplines--if so, which ones?
Which science, which history? Should we nurture creativity, critical
thinking? If there is to be an additional focus, should it be arts,
technology, a social focus, a moral focus? If you try to have all of
these foci, you would break the backs of students and teachers, even
given a demanding elementary and secondary school curriculum. If
knowledge doubles every year or two, we certainly cannot multiply the
number of hours or teach twice as quickly. Some choice, some decisions
about what can be omitted, is essential.
second value is an appreciation of what is special about human beings.
have done many terrible things but countless members of our species
have done wonderful things as well: works of art, works of music,
discoveries of science and technology, heroic acts of courage and
sacrifice. One only need walk around the Rijksmuseum or the Stedelijk,
or to spend hours in and around the buildings on Dam Square to be
reminded of what has been achieved over the centuries in this small
but dynamic nation. Our youngsters must learn about these
achievements, come to respect them, have time to reflect about them
(and what it took to achieve them) and aspire some day to achieve anew
in the same tradition…or perhaps even to found a new tradition.
Learning about human heroism may be another clue to how to nurture
youngsters who embody positive values. We should not be afraid to
state our values; but of course it is far more important to embody
them, to live them day in and day out. The scholarly disciplines are
among the most remarkable of human achievements--and we must remember
that they are much easier to destroy than to build up. Totalitarian
societies first burn the books; then they humiliate the scholars; then
they kill those who do not buckle under. As the events of the last
century remind us, a Dark Age can always descend upon us.
remember that one of the most magnificent of human inventions is the
Invention of Education--no other species educates its young as do we.
At this time of great change, we must remember the ancient value of
education and preserve it--not just facts, data, information, but
Knowledge, Understanding, Judgment, Wisdom. We must use the ancient
arts and crafts of education to prepare youngsters for a world that
natural evolution could not anticipate and which even we ourselves as
conscious beings cannot fully envision either. In the past, we could
be satisfied with an education that was based on the literacies; that
surveyed the major disciplines; and that taught students about their
own national culture. We must maintain these three foci, but we must
add two more: preparation for interdisciplinary work and preparation
for life in a global civilization. And, speaking in the land of
Erasmus and Spinoza, we must keep alive the important values of
Responsibility and Humanity."
What should we
students know and be able to do?
What is the
impact of the arts on history and culture?
Our standards give us a guide to
the content of knowledge we must consider important in our curriculum planning.
National Standards for the Arts
students should know and be able to do in the arts....
- They should
be able to develop and present basic analyses of works of art from
structural, historical, and cultural perspectives, and from
combinations of those perspectives. This includes the ability to
understand and evaluate work in the various arts disciplines.
- They should
have an informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a
variety of cultures and historical periods, and a basic
understanding of historical development in the arts disciplines,
across the arts as a whole, and within cultures.
- They should
be able to relate various types of arts knowledge and skills
within and across the arts disciplines. This includes mixing and
matching competencies and understandings in art-making, history
and culture, and analysis in any arts-related project.
Importance of Arts Education
and practicing the arts disciplines are fundamental to the healthy
development of children's minds and spirits. That is why, in any
civilization—ours included—the arts are inseparable from the very
meaning of the term education. We know from long experience that no
one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and
skills in the arts. There are many reasons for this assertion:
- The arts are
worth studying simply because of what they are. Their impact
cannot be denied. Throughout history, all the arts have served to
connect our imaginations with the deepest questions of human
existence: Who am I? What must I do? Where am I going? Studying
responses to those questions through time and across cultures—as
well as acquiring the tools and knowledge to create one's own
responses—is essential not only to understanding life but to
living it fully.
- The arts are
used to achieve a multitude of human purposes: to present issues
and ideas, to teach or persuade, to entertain, to decorate or
please. Becoming literate in the arts helps students understand
and do these things better.
- The arts are
integral to every person's daily life. Our personal, social,
economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts at
every turn—from the design of the child's breakfast placemat, to
the songs on the commuter's car radio, to the family's night-time
TV drama, to the teenager's Saturday dance, to the enduring
influences of the classics.
- The arts
offer unique sources of enjoyment and refreshment for the
imagination. They explore relationships between ideas and objects
and serve as links between thought and action. Their continuing
gift is to help us see and grasp life in new ways.
- There is
ample evidence that the arts help students develop the attitudes,
characteristics, and intellectual skills required to participate
effectively in today's society and economy. The arts teach
self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem, and foster the thinking
skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. They teach the
importance of teamwork and cooperation. They demonstrate the
direct connection between study, hard work, and high levels of
Benefits of Arts Education
education benefits the student because it cultivates the whole child,
gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition,
reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression
and communication. This process requires not merely an active mind but
a trained one. An education in the arts benefits society because
students of the arts gain powerful tools for understanding human
experiences, both past and present. They learn to respect the often
very different ways others have of thinking, working, and expressing
themselves. They learn to make decisions in situations where there are
no standard answers. By studying the arts, students stimulate their
natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a
complex and competitive society. And, as study and competence in the
arts reinforce one other, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible,
MENC - http://www.menc.org/publication/books/standards.htm
Standards for Music
8. Content Achievement
Standard: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and
disciplines outside the arts
identify similarities and differences in the meanings of common terms (e.g.,
form, line, contrast) used in the various arts
identify ways in which the principles and subject matter of other
disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with those of music (e.g.,
foreign languages: singing songs in various languages; language arts: using
the expressive elements of music in interpretive readings; mathematics:
mathematical basis of values of notes, rests, and time signatures; science:
vibration of strings, drum heads, or air columns generating sounds used in
music; geography: songs associated with various countries or regions)
9. Content Achievement
Standard: Understanding music in relation to history and culture
identify by genre or style aural examples of music from various historical
periods and cultures
describe in simple terms how elements
of music are used in music examples from various cultures of the world
identify various uses of music in their daily experiences and describe
characteristics that make certain music suitable for each use
identify and describe roles of musicians (e.g., orchestra conductor,
folksinger, church organist) in various music settings and cultures
demonstrate audience behavior appropriate for the context and style of music
myths and religions of many cultures depict music as a gift of divine
origin. The word music comes from the Greek Muse,
any of the nine sister goddesses who reigned over the arts and
sciences in Greek mythology. Existing in every culture and generation,
music embodies the distinctly human need to organize sounds to express
the dimensions of human feeling. Music is a powerful
manifestation of cultural heritage. It occurs in a wide variety of
styles and types in cultures around the world. Studying music helps
students learn about the traditions and modes of thought of their
native cultures as well as those of other cultures. Because
music can promote harmony between cultures in a pluralistic society,
mutual cross-cultural understanding is a goal of music education.
from the Introduction to Music in the California Visual and Performing
Arts Standards http://www.cde.ca.gov/standards/vpa/
3.0 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL
Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of Music
Students analyze the role of
music in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting cultural
diversity as it relates to music, musicians, and composers.
4.0 AESTHETIC VALUING
Responding to, Analyzing, and Making Judgments About Works of Music
Students critically assess and
derive meaning from works of music and the performance of musicians according
to the elements of music, aesthetic qualities, and human responses.
Connecting and Applying What Is Learned in Music to Learning in Other Art Forms
and Subject Areas and to Careers
Students apply what they learn
in music across subject areas. They develop competencies and creative skills
in problem solving, communication, and management of time and resources that
contribute to lifelong learning and career skills. They also learn about
careers in and related to music.
Other State Standards for Music
Education - http://www.educationworld.com/standards/state/toc/index.shtml#arts
Social Studies and History
Standards - Integrating the Arts into Curriculum
California History and Social
Science Framework Goals and Curriculum Strands
- Develop research skills and a
sense of historical empathy.
- The study of history
involves the imaginative reconstruction of the past.
students should have a sense of what it was like to be there, to realize
that events hung in the balance, that people living then did not know
how things ultimately would turn out.
empathy is much like entering into the world of a drama, suspending
one’s knowledge of “the ending” in order to gain a sense of
another era and living with the hopes and fears of the people of the
- In every
age, knowledge of the humanities helps to develop a keen sense of
historical empathy by allowing students to see through the eyes of
people who were there.
- Students should
understand that each event in the past took place within its own
historical context, and they should recognize that civilizations share
common features across time and distance, yet also have their own unique
- Understand the meaning of time
- Analyze cause and effect.
- Understand the reasons for
continuity and change.
- Recognize history as common
memory, with political implications.
recorded time, societies have used their history as a vehicle for
maintaining their identity as a people and a nation.
- The study of
history allows people to explain and transmit their ideas and traditions
to the younger generation.
- In tightly
controlled societies the historical record may be altered to redefine
public consciousness of the past and to regulate the public's loyalties;
in democratic societies the historical record is open to debate,
revision, conflicting interpretations, and acknowledgment of past
- Understand the importance of
religion, philosophy, and other major belief systems in history.
- Understand the rich,
complex nature of a given culture: its history, geography, politics,
literature, art, drama, music, dance, law, religion, philosophy,
architecture, technology, science, education, sports, social structure, and
literacy includes but is not limited to knowledge of the humanities.
- True cultural
literacy takes many years to develop, whether one is a student of a
foreign country or a student of one’s own society.
- Students should
not be under the illusion that they truly know another society as a
result of studying it for a few weeks or even for a year.
- At the very
least they should learn how difficult it is to master a culture and
should be encouraged to recognize that education is a lifelong process.
- Recognize the
relationships among the various parts of a nation’s cultural life.
- Mature students
should come to appreciate the ways that a nation’s literature and arts
react to and comment on events in its political and social development
and also should study and appreciate the interactions among a nation’s
govern-mental system, economic structure, technology, arts, and press.
- None of the
elements of a culture exists in a vacuum, and students will come to an
under-stand the connections as they develop a deeper knowledge of the
- Learn about the
mythology, legends, values, and beliefs of a people. Ideas are important; to
understand a society, students must perceive what its members believe about
themselves, what stories and tales explain their origins and common bonds,
what religious tenets embody their ethical standards of justice and duty,
what heroes capture their imagination, what ideals inspire their sense of
purpose, and what visual images portray their idea of themselves as a
- Recognize that
literature and art shape and reflect the inner life of a people.
- Artists and
writers tend to have sensitive antennae. In their work artists and
writers record the hopes, fears, aspirations, and anxieties of their
society. A culture cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the
poems, plays, dance, visual art, and other works that express its
- Take pride in their
own cultural heritages and develop a multicultural perspective that respects
the dignity and worth of all people.
- Students should
learn from their earliest school years that our nation is composed of
people whose backgrounds are rooted in cultures around the world.
- They should take
pride in their own cultural heritages, and should develop a
multicultural perspective that respects the human dignity of all people
and an understanding of different cultures and ways of life.
- Develop an awareness
- Develop locational
skills and understanding.
- Understand human and
- Understand human
- Understand world
regions and their historical, cultural, economic, and political
"America, as a
nation, unites as one people the descendants of many cultures, races, religions,
and ethnic groups. The American story is unfinished, and the outcome rests in
the students’ hands."
- Recognize that
American society is and always has been pluralistic and multicultural, a
single nation composed of individuals whose heritages encompass many
different national and cultural backgrounds.
- From the first
encounter between indigenous peoples and exploring Europeans, the
inhabitants of the
North American continent have represented a variety of races, religions,
languages, and ethnic and cultural groups.
- With the passage
of time, the United States has grown increasingly diverse in its social
and cultural composition.
- Teachers have an
obligation to instill in students a sense of pride in their individual
- Students must
recognize that whatever our diverse origins may be, we are all
- Understand the
American creed as an ideology extolling equality and freedom.
- The American
creed is derived from the language and values found in the Declaration
of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
- Its themes are
echoed in patriotic songs such as “America the Beautiful” (“
. . . and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea”)
and “America” (“ . . . from every mountainside, let freedom
- The creed
provides the unifying theme of the memorable discourse of Martin Luther
King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”: “I have a dream that one day this
nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. .
. . This will be the day when all of God's children will
be able to sing with new meaning "My Country, 'Tis of Thee, Sweet
Land of Liberty"....
- Students should
learn the radical implications of such phrases as "all men are
created equal" and study the historic struggle to extend to all
Americans the constitutional guarantees of equality and freedom.
- Recognize the status
of minorities and women in different times in American history.
- Students should
be aware of the history of prejudice and discrimination against
minorities and women as well as efforts to establish equality and
- Students should
understand how different minorities were treated historically and should
see historical events through a variety of perspectives.
- Understand the
unique experiences of immigrants from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin
- Students should
examine the cultural, political, and economic sources of contemporary
immigration from these areas to understand the changing demography of
California and the United States.
- Attention should
be paid to the contributions of immigrants from Asia, the Pacific
islands, and Latin America to life and culture in the United States.
- Understand the
special role of the United States in world history as a nation of
multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious character of the
United States makes it unusual among the nations of the world.
- Few, if any,
nations can match the United States when compared on a scale of social
heterogeneity; few, if any, have opened their doors so wide to
immigration and provided such relatively easy access to full
- At the same time
students should analyze periodic waves of hostility toward newcomers and
recognize that the nation has in different eras restricted immigration
on the basis of racial, ethnic, or cultural grounds.
- Realize that true
patriotism celebrates the moral force of the American idea as a nation that
unites as one people the descendants of many cultures, races, religions, and
- The American
story is unfinished, for it is a story of ideals and aspirations that
have not yet been realized. It is a story that is in the making; its
main characters are today’s students, their parents, and their
- Unlike other
historical events that are wholly in the past, this is a story whose
beginning can be traced to the nation’s founding and whose outcome
rests in the students’ hands.
National Council for the Social Studies
National Standards Thematic
Strands in Social Studies
Look for connections to the arts
in the National Thematic Strands for the Social Studies.
Thematic Strands in Social Studies
Continuity, and Change
Places, and Environment
Development and Identity
Groups, and Institutions
Authority, and Governance
Distribution, and Consumption
Technology, and Society
Ideals and Practices
History and Social
Websites for Arts Integration
by Carla Piper, Ed. D.