Integrating Arts into the Curriculum to stop Apathy

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As a high school English teacher, I have always been puzzled (and frustrated) by my students’ apathy toward learning. Some students still care about doing well and feel good about turning in their work. They really appear to be driven from within. These intrinsic learners are rare, however. Most of my students do not care how they perform. They fail to see the value in doing well. My own kindergartener comes home from school, excited about learning. What is the difference? An emphasis on the arts, I believe, is the difference, along with the time to explore how one learns. In the primary grades, kids are still encouraged to do art. My child brings home all kinds: teacher directed projects such as specific worksheet-directed art,…show more content…
Fowler (1994) mentions that in the arts, there is no one right answer to things. This is more applicable to what our students will see in the future, in their jobs. There truly is more than one right way to do a thing. And it is so true for all of the varied learners we encounter in our classrooms. Having the confidence to try a thing and accomplish it, even if it is different from your classmate’s way, is what the arts have to offer to students.
Catterall (2002) discusses art as it relates to transfer, basically saying that what is learned in one situation will affect other situations. In his chart, he details how the specific arts learning (i.e. dance) will produce various motivations to learn (self-confidence, social tolerance). This is a very powerful bit of research at which I think school districts nationwide need to spend time looking. Clearly, if you took a bunch of students and taught a month long unit on dance, they would become more self-confident and more socially tolerant of others. These are just two examples of the way the arts can positively affect students.
What can I do as a teacher to make these things happen? I can incorporate the arts into my daily lessons and into my classroom. Taking into consideration the many differences between my students is one way I can help them become more well-rounded and aware. Style (1996) says “a balanced education should be for all of us 1. knowledge of both

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