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Lesson Plans

Re: Art & Science & Integration

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 00:14:48 -0500


I appreciate the points you made in your message regarding integration and
will try to briefly respond to them:

>The struggle for integration of subject matter is difficult and complex. I'm
>not sure how the call for "natural" links as opposed to "artificial" links
>helps to clarify it, at least for me. School is, by its very nature,
>artificial. Schools create atmospheres for learning isolated from the world
>around us.

Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. Schooling, for the most part, does
seem to present students with "artificial" learning experiences. I think
our challenge as educators today (in any subject area) is to try to offer
learning experiences (integrated or otherwise) which enable students to
"confront, understand, engage...etc.," their own knowledge and their
world(s) in more meaningful and connected ways. The issue, for me at
least, is how to make these experiences "authentic," compelling and useful
to the students...and whether this is best achieved via a traditional
discipline-focused curriculum or an integrated school curriculum.

>I was talking once to a wonderful teacher, John Nichols, a professor of
>education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. John passed away about a
>year and a half ago. But when I first met him, we got into a conversation
>about something going on in a local Chicago public school. He referred to a
>teacher there. I asked, "What does she teach?" meaning the subject matter, of
>course. "Children," he responded, knowing very well what I meant. This
>teasing went on for a number of years. He chastized me for thinking of myself
>narrowly as an art teacher. I laughed, pointing out that here he was, a
>professor of educational psychology in the College of Education in the
>College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. How much
>more discrete could one get!

>But if we want to place blame for this condition, we ought
>to see how we are all victims of a tradition of education that isolates
>knowledge, isolates teachers, and isolates children.

Point well taken. I think when we talk about "connecting" we need to
consider not only making connections between subjects, between the
classroom and real world, but also between the subject matter and
children's own knowledge and experiences.

>Of course there is a discipline of art that is has structures and language
>and systems that are unique. But its not a turf, needing to be defended
>against the scientific barbarians at our gates. When others look at knowledge
>to narrowly, we should point to the larger picture. It will undoubtedly take
>time and patience.

Yes, I agree. Where and when it is possible to point to the larger
picture, I think we must do so. Art certainly offers a wealth of
possibilities for integration. But, lets not jump blindly onto this latest
bandwagon without knowing where we're headed.


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax

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