A Historical, International Comparison of Integrated and Dis-Integrated Arts in Curriculum and Pedagogy
Archeological and anthropological studies indicate that the arts for prehistoric humans were of an integrated nature, that is rituals employed mixed use of visual arts, language arts, music, dance, and theatre. Cognitive science tells us that the brain is by nature an integrative system. We take in information through our senses in response to experience, store that information and then, as new experiences arise, we retrieve and compare stored information as needed to make sense of new experiences. We use the left and right hemispheres, the reptilian and mammalian areas of the brain, etc. As more and more humans became agricultural beginning in the late Neolithic period, cultures arose in response to the needs posed by the geographic locations of large populations. Different cultures had different effects on activities, including the role and structure of the arts and education. This study compares the role and structure of the arts and education with particular attention to integrated and not (dis-) integrated arts in curricular and pedagogical practices. This paper relies heavily on current research in the “International Handbook of Research in Arts Education (Bresler, Ed., 2007). Findings indicate that (1) the arts, both in formal education and in societies at large, tended to go from integrated towards not (dis-) integrated as cultures evolved, (2) the early twentieth century progressive education movement influenced a rise in re-integrating the arts in education, and (3) changes in late twentieth and twenty-first century pedagogy and curriculum as well as trends in professional fine arts show evidence of growing interest in integrated arts.
Keywords: Integrated Arts, Curriculum, Pedagogy
Dr. Teresa Cotner
Assistent Professor in Art Education, Department of Art and Art History, California State University