Subject-centered teaching models, the traditional form of instruction in the United States, inadvertently favor one select learning style. More recently, however, educational leaders and brain researchers have begun to search for more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary strategies to improve these conventional educational practices, including studying the integration of creative arts content with academic learning. Art education research, too, has begun pursuing the process of teaching and learning with diverse theoretical pedagogies, and although presently how to integrate academic and art content into teaching and learning methodology remains the challenge, the authors conclude this change would be the most significant means to inform thinking, and to increase academic scores as well as academic excellence.
BIGThink, a collaborative between experts in art, technology, and education with leading teachers at Black River Public School, a progressive Michigan K-12 Charter Academy, pursue this goal. They contend that delivering and receiving content should be a reciprocal process where teaching and learning thresholds are not as clearly delineated as in a subject-centered approach. Drawing from both the researched premises of BIGThink’s Creative Learning Program and through the hands-on research of teachers at Black River Public School, we conclude that subject-centered educational practices impede learning styles. While some students are certainly able to thrive regardless of teaching methodology, notable outcomes from these terminal practices result in poor student performance, student apathy, increased state and national high school dropout rates, and lowered international educational rankings. This conclusion does not negate the effect of socio-economic conditions, but teaching and learning practices remain the decisive qualitative factors. Educational change can be difficult to implement, but if the United States is to succeed as an enlightened society where students with varied learning styles excel in both art and other academics, it will happen through significantly adjusting educational curricula towards the Integrated Teaching and Learning Model.
|Keywords:||Multi-Media, Integrated Teaching, Learning, Arts Education, Learning Styles, Black River Public School, BIGThink, Progressive Education, Interdisciplinary|
President, Black River Public School, Glen, Michigan, USA
Vice-President BIGthink, Education and Curriculum, Black River Public School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
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