Arts Integration: Semiotic Transmediation in the Classroom


by J. David Betts, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor,
University of Arizona

Paul Fisher, Director of Arts Education,
Tucson , AZ.

Sandy Jean Hicks, Ph.D., Assistant Professor,
University of Rhode Island.

ABSTRACT

This study describes two years of research with the Arts Integration Program (AIP) of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, Tucson, AZ. AIP supports teachers in integrating fine arts activities into their classroom. AIP provides lesson outlines and demonstration lessons by arts specialists in music, dance, theatre arts and visual arts. The initial phase of the study looked at the ability of the lesson outlines to successfully deliver curriculum content and change student attitudes and perceived self-efficacy. Fourth graders showed short term gains in core curriculum taught throught AIP. Teachers were very responsive to the new lesson ideas. The second phase of the study was an in-depth look at the implementation of a year-long Mentor-teacher process for promulgating AIP in theatre arts and creative dramatics in the classroom. Teachers with one year's experience with AIP were teamed with teachers new to the program. Teacher journals, classroom observations, interviews and videotapes were analyzed. This data showed how such a program can work to bring transmediational experiences for the children into the generalist teacher's classroom as they learn to make meaning in a variety of sign systems. The Mentor-teacher process is shown to be an effective way to make the most of outside arts resources.*

In 1990, one of the authors (Fisher), as director of Arts Education of the Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), developed a program of integrated theatre arts lessons for grades K-8. These lesson outlines have been used and evaluated for five years in over 75 schools in southern Arizona as a part of the Arts Integration Program (AIP). AIP also offers similar programs in music, dance, and visual arts.

The theatre arts lessons are developmental, that is, they first introduce a
vocabulary of drama techniques, such as facial and vocal expression, mime, and improvisation, then they demonstrate how those skills can be integrated into the curriculum, be it language arts, social studies, or other core curriculum. They are also adaptable within the K-8 age range. The value of these activities has been demonstrated by five years of teacher evaluations and several years of research and assessment.

AIP is, fundamentally, a program supporting generalist teachers who are interested in using the arts in their classroom. AIP provides workshops, demonstrations by arts specialists, ongoing support, and consultation. Many teachers are responding to the current published research in sociosemiotics: that we utilize an array of negotiated sign systems to express and make meaning (Suhor, 1992; Berghoff, 1993), for example. Gardner's (1991) concept of multiple intelligences is also having an impact in the classroom. Bruner (1991) writes that we have developed "tool kits", which allow us to make meaning in many different media. The AIP Theater Arts lessons provide ways for teachers to bring these theories into practice in their classrooms.

Eisner (1994) suggests that schools teach "forms of representation [art, music, dance, poetry, literary text, mathematics, science, etc.] . . . each carries with it its own parameters of possibility for the construction and recovery of meaning." (p.88) Each form is subject to "different modes of treatment ," i.e., language can be literal or literary, music can be mimetic or expressive. And, ". . . each form of representation can be variably located on a syntactical structure. . . from rule-governed to figurative." (p.88) Eisner holds that children who have these educational experiences will be better able to make sense of their environment.

Many educators are concerned about having to develop new means of assessment in response to these new learning paradigms. Mastery of new mediational means, or sign systems, as tools can be assessed by the learners increased "ability to participate in qualitatively new collaborative activities" (Moll, 1990. p.13). Theatre arts, for example, encourages children to bring their own knowledge of the physical and social world into the classroom. In a Vygotskian sense making them aware of how they are "manipulating the literary process and applying this to reorganizing future experience or activity." (Moll, 1990. p.13)

AIP teachers engage their students in fine arts activities that can be tailored to curriculum goals. Arts experts work in the classroom, introducing ideas and techniques. The children learn in an environment that encourages and values their aesthetic responses to new knowledge.

AIP begins by acknowledging that the child perceives information in an emotional context. The manipulation of art materials and media from several sign systems allow the child to actively construct knowledge. This brings together core curriculum matter and socio-historical development. The children use the information and come to process it in their own terms. AIP also acknowledges a reciprocal engagement of the teacher and pupils, each having an effect on the other as art skills and confidence grow. Teachers use and adapt the AIP activities to build constructive classroom learning environments. Teachers and students create in the classroom much as artists utilize the resources of their studios.

Initial Study (AIP I)

In 1992 we received a grant to determine whether the assumptions made about the program at that time were correct. Our first study asked: Did the children pick up the imbedded core curriculum material? What was the effect on the students and on the classroom learning environment? And, How did teachers feel using the Arts Integration Program lessons for the first time? This research, to measure the effects of the Arts Integration Program on learning, was supported by the Arizona Arts Education Research Institute and the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Four teachers were selected to participate in the program for the first time. Their one hundred fourth graders were tested on lesson concepts before and after each of eight AIP lessons during one semester. The learning objectives were in math, social studies, history, science and language arts. The lessons were chosen from the most highly rated Arts Integration Program lessons in dance, theatre, music and visual arts based on responses from teachers who had used the lessons for two years.

A student questionnaire was used, as well as content tests, observations, teacher interviews and journals, to describe the effects of the program. The Perceived Self-Efficacy, Attitude, and Linguistic Domain questionnaire (Betts & Hicks, 1994) was devised to look at change in how students felt about art, about school, and about themselves. The questions were analyzed in three categories:

1. The student's belief in their own abilities, both artistic and scholastic: their perceived self-efficacy. How competent a musician or math student did they think they were?

2. The student's liking or disliking of school and art activities. For example, how did they feel when it was time for visual arts? or social studies?

3. The language they used to describe the arts and why they think it is important to learn about the arts. What was their linguistic domain for art and its place in learning?

The questionnaires were administered at the beginning and end of the Arts Integration Program semester. Those results were compared to that of similar groups of fourth graders in another, non-participating, class which fell in the mid-range of most of the experimental classes determiners: ITBS scores, SES, demography, etc. This class had no arts integration program outside their curriculum.

In the experimental classrooms several aspects of the learning environment were recorded. Teachers were observed during the semester and interviewed at the beginning and end. How did they feel about doing arts activities? What was their preparation in the arts? Did they see school art as basic or ancillary to the process of education? The participating teachers were new program volunteers. Their interviews before and after the program showed a pattern of change related to the experience.

Content tests

What we learned from the first study is that the kids "got", or assimilated, the intended information through the Arts Integration Program activities in the short term of this study. Their test scores went up almost universally after the lessons.

Table 1, below, shows the results of the Content Area Tests for each target lesson for each class. The total percentage of right and wrong answers on the pretest and the posttest for all classes on all lessons is shown at the bottom. Class 2 did not use the lesson outline entitled Instruments. Children who participated performed consistently better on the posttests. For example, on the Energy lesson, an increase of 36% in right answers over all classes was measured.
 

Table 1. AIP I: Content Test Scores

Lesson
Class
Pretest wrong
Pretest right
Posttest wrong
Posttest right
Mayan Math
1
224
36
117
147
 
2
196
21
112
102
 
3
158
50
98
120
 
4
246
23
163
86
Instruments
1
141
75
42
117
 
2
0
0
0
0
 
3
126
50
93
80
 
4
178
37
115
69
Say It Like...
1
84
55
52
86
 
2
70
40
19
76
 
3
41
68
29
75
 
4
54
71
58
62
Parent/Child
1
38
82
31
81
 
2
62
47
36
77
 
3
36
68
14
87
 
4
61
66
37
93
Sculpture
1
66
88
11
129
 
2
57
75
11
121
 
3
39
87
30
93
 
4
50
88
9
145
Heraldry
1
111
18
24
110
 
2
84
31
23
81
 
3
93
22
19
82
 
4
125
5
71
108
Gravity
1
97
76
55
106
 
2
73
59
39
93
 
3
68
58
35
91
 
4
99
51
28
116
Energy
1
105
91
36
90
 
2
99
62
19
135
 
3
75
71
47
100
 
4
118
63
51
117
Average
96
55
46
96
Percentage
64%
36%
32%
68%
 
Perceived Self-efficacy and Attitude

Although the initial one-semester-long treatment did not make either significant change or difference for most of the items on the questionnaire for most classes compared to the control group, there were indications that interest in school in general was significantly sustained in the experimental classes compared to the control group. Four areas addressed in the questionnaire were:

1. Students' perceptions of the value of learning about the arts.

2. How much they had learned in school about the arts,

3. How much they expected to learn about the arts outside of school.

4. Students' attitudes toward dance and visual arts.

On each of these items there was a treatment interaction: the control group began with more positive scores but did not maintain them over the semester, while one or more of the experimental classes began with lower scores on those items and those scores surpassed the control group score on the posttest.

There was a significant interaction effect for Class 1 on Question 7: Interaction effect: F (1,42) = 4.04, p < .05. (see Figure 1, below) The control group initially believed that it was more important for a person to know about the arts than the experimental group. However, by the end of the study the reverse was true, the experimental group believed it was more important for a person to learn about the arts than the control group.

Figure 1. AIP I: Question 7: How important is it for a person to know about the arts?

Control 

(n=24) Mean

SD

SE

Pretest
4.16

1.01

.23

Posttest
3.89

.88

.20

Experimental 1 

(n=29) Mean 

SD 

SE

3.64

1.08

.22

4.24

.78

.16

 
DF
Sum of Squares
Mean Square
F-Value
P-Value
Group
1
.16
.16
.21
.6522
ERROR
42
32.79
.78
 
 
Repeated Meas.
1
1.14
1.14
1.14
.2916
Interaction
1
4.02
4.02
4.04
.0510
ERROR
42
41.84
1.00
 
 
 

All four experimental classes showed an interaction effect on question 12, "How much do you expect to learn about the arts outside of school?" The control group had lowered expectations over the course of the semester about how much they would learn about art once school was over and the children in the experimental classes reported that their expectations had increased during the semester.

By the end of the study, the experimental students reported that they expected to learn more and had improved attitudes about school and about art and better perceptions of self-efficacy, although the majority of the differences were not statistically significant. Data indicated that there were no significant differences between the groups with the exception of the interactions discussed above. This was perhaps due to the limited intervention in one semester that made up this initial study.

Linguistic Domain

The language the children used to define the arts and discuss its importance showed noticeable change over the semester. Analysis showed a decrease in career-related language and an increase in academic and cognitive terms that showed students' awareness of their own learning processes.

A linguistic domain is the expression of a group's culture, knowledge and interests. The linguistic domain of each classroom was examined in relation to the arts because it contains the seeds of new knowledge gained. It may also indicate change in the children's linguistic environment related to their experience of the Arts Integration Program.

Data for the linguistic domain analysis was gathered in two ways. First, to get a picture of the children's linguistic domain relating to art they were asked at the beginning of the questionnaire to answer the question, "What are the arts?"

This is the only question on the first page of the Perceived Self-efficacy, Attitude, and Linguistic Domain Questionnaire. The protocol called for the questionnaire to be administered with as little discussion as possible before the students were finished. In this way it was hoped to minimize the effect of the language of the rest of the questions on the children's responses.

The responses of each child were compared for change in the character of the words used. The change each class showed over the course of the Arts Integration Program reflects the students' new construction of meaning. Responses to this question showed not only some predictable language use, but also revealed some interesting associations and change in word use.

The children's responses were coded in the six categories:

1. Affect: "Pretty things I like."

2. Self: "When I draw"

3. Activity/process: "Drawing and painting."

4. Other individuals: "Picasso"

5. Object/thing: "A painting."

6. Subject: "Art class"

The seventy-eight students in the participating classes who filled in both the pre- and post- semester questionnaires showed a strong initial tendency to define art as an activity or process (e.g., drawing, learning). Totals in this category increased over the semester. Table 2, below, shows the results of this question. Class 1 showed a strong, almost 50%, gain by the posttest. Conversely, these classes showed a lessening tendency to classify the arts as objects (e.g., paintings). The following chart shows the distribution of responses to question One. Class 5 is the comparison class, which did not use the Arts Integration Program lesson outlines. The last column is a total for the experimental classes 1-4.
 
 

Table 2, AIP I: Question One. What are the Arts?

Pretest and Posttest Results
 
Class 1
Class 2
Class 3
Class 4
Class 5
Total 1-4
 
pre-post
pre-post
pre-post
pre-post
pre-post
pre-post
Affect
2 0
2 2
4 0
3 0
1 0
11 2
Self
0 0
0 1
0 0
1 0
1 0
1 1
Activity
9 17 
7 8 
10 10 
5 5
8 8
31 40
Others
1 1
1 1
0 2
0 1
1 1
2 5 
Object
7 2
7 5
5 2
8 5
5 6
27 14 
Subject
4 3
0 0
0 5
2 8 
0 1
6 16
 
The second approach to the children's linguistic domain involved a group activity. The last question on the questionnaire was a brainstorming exercise for the whole class. Breaking up into small groups, the students were asked to brainstorm their ideas about why it is important for them to learn about the arts. This was done in order to survey the groupsí attitudes about this question in a social collaborative process of working together and sharing ideas. Each group listed their ideas on posters. Each individual then selected from those lists the ideas they thought most appropriate. The ideas recorded by the students were categorized as follows: 1. Academic--learning about art would help in a school subject, such as science.

2. Cognitive--learning about art would help in acquiring a cognitive skill such as reading.

3. Meta-cognitive--it would help in being able to think about learning.

4. Direct application--it would help in doing art things.

5. Career--learning about art would help in getting a job.

6. Affective--learning about art would increase their enjoyment or change their behavior.

7. Not applicable--items not related to the task.

Children used words to describe the importance of learning about the arts selected from lists that they generated in a small group brainstorming activity. Children showed an initial tendency to use words related to the idea of careers, such as, "So you can be a writer." ". . . [be] a clothes designer." ". . . be an artist." "To be on television." And, "To choose your own career." Few children made academic associations. However, there were many responses in the cognitive, direct application, and affective categories. Very few made meta-cognitive associations.

Figures 2 & 3, below, show the changes that occurred in total responses over the semester for all the experimental classes and the control group as they collaborated and reflected and finally chose those reasons why it is important to learn about the arts.

Figure 2. AIP I: Why is it important to learn about the arts?

Pretest Results

Figure 3. AIP I: Why is it important to learn about the arts?

Posttest Results

Although there were changes that were specific to individual class groups, two noticeable global changes took place over the course of the intervention. A comparison of Figures 2 and 3, above, shows that the number of ideas or responses categorized as academic and cognitive each shows a large overall increase, while the number of brainstorming ideas related to the career category declined.

Teacher response

The most important focus of the Arts Integration Program was on the teachers. They were co-investigators in this inquiry. Structured interviews lasting an average of about 30 minutes each were conducted at the beginning and end of the semester. These were recorded and transcribed. Teachers were asked about their experience and training, their subject preferences, and their outside interests. In particular, they were asked about their experience in the arts. They were also asked about their perceived self-efficacy in the arts and in academic subject areas. Follow-up interviews were videotaped. Probes, based on the initial responses, showed changes in attitude or self-efficacy on the part of the teachers that might be associated with their AIP experience. Individual differences between the teachers would have an effect on how the Arts Integration Program curriculum materials were presented because each teacher facilitated learning in his or her own way.

The length of experience and professional development varied from no experience to over 12 years. Personal relationships to the arts were different for each teacher. Some saw it as a form of relaxation, some as an important activity for personal growth. Each had a different experience with art and a different degree of perceived self-efficacy with regard to art. These initial teacher differences may have had an important effect on the outcomes of this study. Some had arts training in their background and personal interest and experience in an arts discipline. Others had very little experience in the arts beyond appreciation and interest in how art might help them in the classroom. This group of teachers were most confident in their abilities to teach math, science, and social studies.

These results are summarized in Figure 4 below.
 

Figure 4. AIP I: Final Teacher Interviews

Teacher (School)
Years Exp.
Areas of strength
Arts interest
Needed support
AIP Experience

(A)

10+ years
music & drama
painting & music
dance, science
"Gained confidence."
2

(B)

none

(1st year)

math & science
photography & architecture
language arts, English
"Learned not to be so rigid."
3

(C)

12 years
math & reading
crafts & music
math
"...saw ways to integrate."
4

(D)

10+ years
social studies
crafts, sewing
science
"...professional growth."
 
In spite of a busy schedule of arts lessons and units, guest arts specialists from four arts disciplines, and testing crammed into one short semester, the first study showed the teachers to be very enthusiastic about the program at the end.

Second Study (AIP II)

In 1993 the Tucson Pima Arts Council was looking for ways to continue to promulgate the successful three-year-old Arts Integration Program. A Mentor-teacher model was proposed as a process that would use the experience with AIP gained by the first participating teachers to spread the program in their schools by having them mentor their peers. Teachers and principals who had expressed an interest were contacted about participating. Teachers chose to focus on only the theatre arts lessons. There was no content area testing. A proposal to the Arizona Arts Education Research Institute for continued support to study the development of an AIP Mentor-teacher process was funded. One of the authors (Betts) began an follow-up study of the development of this process in two schools. The focus of this study was the development of a Mentor-teacher program and the effect of the program on the attitudes, perceived self-efficacy, and linguistic domain of the children. This study was based on the student questionnaires, teacher journals, meeting notes, classroom observations, and videotapes of classroom theatre arts activities.

Two fourth grade teachers from the previous study each mentored two new teachers in their school; one fourth grade and one third grade teacher. One of the authors (Fisher) did the preservice training, the in-class demonstrations of theatre lessons, and provided support for the teachers during the year.

The mentors took to their roles in their own styles and the two schools started out going in different directions. School A chose to have the Mentor-teacher teach the AIP lesson in the new teacher's classroom. School B began with the new teachers observing the mentor in her own room. Then the mentor observed the new teachers with their own classes. School B teachers scheduled regular meetings to discuss the lessons, and plan for the future. School A did not meet regularly at first, but the positive effect was so pointed in School B that they were informed and subsequently adopted the practice.

The Perceived Self-efficacy, Attitude, and Linguistic Domain questionnaires showed a slightly stronger effect of the AIP lessons when compared to the first study's experimental and comparison classes. There was an increase in reported self-efficacy and in attitudes toward language arts, theatre, and school in general. There was a very clear difference between the two schools in this year-long study. Data from School A and B show an interaction effect when compared. One school's total scores went up, and the other's went down. See Figure 5, below. This school/teacher effect may have been due to the way the Mentor-teacher model was implemented.

Figure 5. AIP II: Total Perceived Self-Efficacy

F(1,103)=4.45, p = .03

The difference in total attitude value is more striking. Figure 6, below, shows that School A began significantly higher on the attitude scale than School B, yet finished significantly lower.

Figure 6. AIP II: Total Attitude

F(1,94)=5.28, p = .02

More particularly, School B had an interaction effect with School A with regard to the total perceived self-efficacy in art. As shown in Figure 7, below, School A began significantly higher on the perceived self-efficacy in art scale than School B, yet finished significantly lower.

Figure 7. AIP II: Total Perceived Self-Efficacy-Art

F(1,109)=8.78, p < .01 (.0037)

And, significantly for the Arts Integration Program's theater lessons, all classes in both schools showed improvement on the perceived self-efficacy in all school subject scores. Figure 8 below, shows this graphically.

Figure 8. AIP II: Perceived Self-Efficacy-All Subjects

F(1,108)=152.76, p < .0001

A closer examination of the individual questions in this instrument showed a strong teacher effect consistently within each school. This effect may account for the interaction effect noted above. Figure 9 below, shows that one teacher in each school stood out, one on each end of the scale. Question 29 ("When its time for theatre, I feel . . .") showed a strong interaction.

It should be noted that the children in classes 2 and 3 did not manifest their feelings about theatre in the classroom. In fact, their performances were among the most skillful. Class 2, in particular, benefited from their teacher's professional stage experience, and were perhaps more challenged by it. See Figure 9, below.

Figure 9. AIP II: Question 29 "When it's time for theatre, I feel . . . ?"

F(5,104)=4.77, p = .0006





Linguistic Domain

Two items on the questionnaire were designed to elicit a word list related to the arts. As described above, question one asked for an open-ended definition of the arts. The last question was part of a brainstorming process in which students were asked why it is important to learn about the arts. Student responses to the first question on the questionnaire, (What are the arts?) showed changes reflecting their experiences during the year and their individual development. Many went from a conception of art in school as an activity that they enjoyed, to broader definitions that encompassed performance, cooperation, literacy, and learning. The following examples from student responses show some of these changes. (Student spelling has been corrected)
 

Student
Pretest
Posttest
#219 
"It is a project and it is fun."
". . .where you draw and paint."
#124
"Drawing, Painting, Coloring, Making 

things."

"Drama, acting, Dancing, Drawing, 

Writing."

#315 
"People who can paint or draw good 

pictures."

"Theatre, and when you dance."
#504
"Tracing, coloring, cubism . . ."
"Mime, color, working together."
 
 

Some students learned that not just what 'famous people' did, but also what they did, was part of the arts. For example:
 

Student
Pretest
Posttest
#316
"People who can paint or draw good 

pictures."

"Theater, and when you dance."
#326
"Famous people who paint beautiful 

pictures and get a lot of money."

"Theatre and painting."
#419
"Somebody who writes good, or builds 

things, or makes paper, . . ."

"It's something you can draw, 

a picture."

 
Many of the posttest responses to this question, when compared to the pretests, show results of participation in the Arts Integration Program theatre lessons.
Student
Pretest
Posttest
#421 
"Painting a lot of pictures and putting 

them in a museum."

"Your voice, arms, legs, movements. 

Your body moving is the arts." 

#513
"There are many kinds of them."
"Using you whole body. It's fun to use mime, use your voice."
#302
"It is a fun class. You make things and 

you learn how to build things."

"It is the theatre."
 
Children who completed both the pre-test and the posttest in this study showed an expanded view of the arts that included their classroom activities and abilities as well as cultural icons such as famous painters and paintings. They included more performance in their definitions. Certainly, they showed that they were more aware of the theatre arts after completing the year-long program.

The children were very favorable in their reported perceptions of the arts. Their enjoyment of the arts started high at the beginning of the year and continued to the end. "Mi favorita ting in school. Me gusto much el artes [sic]" (#329, Posttest).

The last question on the questionnaire again involved a brainstorming, or focus group, activity. Students were asked to brainstorm in small groups some answers to the question "Why is it important to learn about the arts?" The reasons listed by each group were presented to the class, and individually the students selected from the lists those reasons each thought were most important. Students' responses from all six classes were mostly in the cognitive and affective categories. They understood the purpose of the arts to be learning, and they liked, or disliked, doing art. The graph shows that each class had a unique characteristic distribution among the categories.

The responses were categorized as in AIP I. Figures 11 and 12 (below) show the results of the brainstorming activity.
 
 

Figure 11. AIP II: Brainstorming Pretest

Figure 12. AIP II: Brainstorming Posttest

Figure 12, above, shows that the students' responses on the posttest were more evenly distributed. The patterns changed over the course of the school year. At the end the students no longer showed such an affective association for the importance of learning about the arts. While there were fewer responses in the cognitive category, there were approximately 50% more responses categorized as meta-cognitive. And, the number of responses in the career category almost tripled.

Discussion

The teachers were very pleased with the results of the Arts Integration Program for their classes. Teachers reported that their students on the whole had increased self-confidence at the end of the year. They stated that their classes showed a greater cohesiveness than classes they had before. That is, they and their students had created a supportive environment where they felt they could take risks.

One teacher noted in her journal that the class, "felt safe expressing their feelings and thoughts about issues that they had experienced or were meaningful to them. The more we did it the more believable and in depth their presentation became."

This feeling of safety that all the teachers noted enabled the children to benefit from these exercises in a way that was somewhat indirectly generalizable to other school situations. Another, third grade, teacher noted that when her class did the next lesson, Peer Themes, they were able to work directly on real conflict resolution based on incidents in the school yard at recess.

A third grade teacher wrote in his journal that "the atmosphere created during theatre dovetailed perfectly with the idea of personal responsibility we are trying to instill in our kids." He saw the mediation provided by the theatre lessons very directly. "The theatre module provides an excellent and non-threatening bridge between these two worlds."

Teachers all had good reports about the Mentor-teacher model. The two teams of teachers stated that they were pleased with the teamwork and mutual support the program offered. Notes taken during the regular teacher meetings and entries in their journals show that the model was useful and valuable to the teachers. They reported at the end of the year that they were comfortable adapting and integrating the AIP lessons into their teaching. They noticed a change in their classrooms toward a more supportive atmosphere among the students which they attributed to the program.

In addition, the principals of both schools reported their satisfaction with the program. Each made accommodations during the year for the out-of-classroom time required by the AIP Mentor-teacher process. They appreciated their time spent as substitute teachers, at the classroom level, while their teachers took advantage of an opportunity for professional advancement. The Mentor-teacher process was continued in both schools the following year, involving the entire school in the case of School A, and four additional classes with peer cross-age tutors in School B. Plans are currently to extend the program again in both schools and to offer it in additional locations.

The Arts Integration Program showed a definite positive effect on the classroom learning environment. Teachers overcame their inexperience and nervousness about doing theater and found new ways of using the arts to mediate learning. Children showed that they could learn through the arts experience. They showed that they could find relationships that integrated their theatre arts experiences with their academic subjects and their real lives. By using theatre to convey their understanding of text, they also showed that they could master creative drama techniques which allowed them to transmediate meaning (Harste, 1995). They showed marked improvement in self-confidence and class cohesion and they showed this by being able to work collaboratively at new, higher levels.

Perhaps effects are reciprocally determined in such a program, but the teachers showed improvement that paralleled the childrens'. Skills and self-confidence grew together. Both the teachers and the students showed an improved ability to relate to, appreciate and integrate the work of other visiting artists and artists-in-residence. The level of teacher collaboration in all areas increased based on working together on the AIP lessons.

This kind of iterative, collaborative, and developmental study will have to be repeated often. Programs such as the Tucson Pima Arts Council's AIP, in many different contexts, and with many various lessons and activities should be studied in order to best meet the needs of classroom teachers for stimulating, holistic, and theory-based learning activities.

This research led the authors to conclude the following about a successful, long-range program of arts integration:

1. An integration program must link arts and education so that a teacher can continue presenting the same curriculum. It should not burden a teacher.

2. All participating teachers need to want to learn about art integration and should receive adequate training.

3. Teachers have to understand how art integration can help the classroom community. These same teachers need to have participated in the planning for the program as co-developers along with artists, parents, children, arts organizations, and administrators who support the porgram.

4. Integration programs must be inclusive of the whole school community and must demonstrate understanding of how a school works.

5. Integration programs must be continually assessed and documented and there must be a verifiable consistency between their claims and their outcomes.

An arts integration program has the power to turn a classroom into a creative environment full of friendly, accessible resources where the art of learning and the art of teaching thrive together. Teachers become empowered to utilize arts in their classrooms. And, children benefit in an enriched learning environment.



References

Berghoff, Beth (1993). Moving Toward Aesthetic Literacy in the First Grade. In D.J. Lin & C.K. Kinzer (Eds.) Examing Central Issues in Literacy Research, Theory, and Practice. Chicago:National Reading Conference. pp. 217-226.

Bruner, J. (1991). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gardner, H. (1991). The unschooled mind. New York: Basic Books.

Eisner, E. (1994). Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered. 2nd Edition. NY:Teachers College Press

Moll, L. C. (1991). Vygotsky in education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Harste, J., Short, K. & Burke, C. (1988). Creating classrooms for authors: The reading writing connection. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hartse, J. (1994) Transmediation in the classroom. Presentation at the Tucson Area Whole Language Conference, October 28, 1994, Tucson AZ.

Suhor, C. (1992) Semiotics and the English Language Arts. LanguageArts. V69. March 1992. pp. 228-230.
 
 

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For further information contact:

J. David Betts, Ph.D
Paul Fisher
2821 W. Giaconda Pl.
722 W. Vanover Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85741
Tucson, AZ 85705
bettsj@u.arizona.edu
pmfisher@u.arizona.edu
520 621-4087
520 882-5308
 
FAX: Tucson Pima Arts Council 520 624-3001

This study was funded in part by the Arizona Art Education Research Institute and the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Many thanks for their support. Thanks also to Dr. William Valmont for his excellent suggestions.