When I teach Art History I always relate it to social history. I think it is
important that they get a feeling for the fact that, when certain events
happened in history, artists, writers, composers were creating art which
frequently reflects those events or even prompted some of them.
If that doesn't demonstrate the connectedness of all subjects for students,
then I guess I won't be doing that. I teach Art for Art's sake because it is
an important subject all by itself.
I think that school curricula that attempt to teach everything in relation to
the arts are a good idea as long as the teachers of the other subjects have
had enough Art to be able to do that. I taught in a school with a similar
plan. The "academic" teachers had no idea how to relate what they taught to
what we were doing in visual arts, video production, theater, music, and
dance. Even when we suggested relationships, they made the usual excuse of
having to teach their curricula and not having enough time to teach anything
extra! However, we were frequently told to put our curricula on hold while
the students did some school wide research or some other project that ended
up having nothing to do with our curricula, on our time. We couldn't use any
of the academic time because they had "to teach their curricula". What it
ended up being was the students' time in Arts classes was held hostage. If
they did not perform well in an academic subject, they would not be allowed
to come to our class for weeks at the time until they were caught up to that
teacher's satisfaction. I guess what I am trying to say here is that it
always sounds so good, when you hear the proposal. But the reality is that
there are darn few "academic" teachers or administrators who can pull it off.
There are even fewer who will actually listen to or implement ideas from the
teachers in the arts.