Arts experts answer students’ questions about classroom art integration

Arts programs have been dwindling in staff and support in American schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education. To prepare future teachers to cope with this deficiency, the BYU Arts Partnership recently conducted an arts field day for BYU McKay School elementary education students. At this event, students learned how to integrate the arts into curricular areas such as language arts, math, science, and social studies in their classrooms.

The event included a panel discussion with faculty members of the Arts Partnership in which McKay students were invited to ask panel members questions about the arts in education. Here are some of the highlights of the panel discussion:

1. What do you do if your school does not support the arts?

  • Be an example by incorporating the arts in your own classroom.
  • Make sure parents can see their children’s art to encourage their support.
  • Find a shared language with your administrators by working towards shared goals.
  • Match arts benefits to objectives of other subjects to show how arts support learning.
  • Speak up, be a change agent, and advocate for arts programs.

2. Should arts be incorporated as means to an end or taught as specific subjects?

  • Arts should be both incorporated and taught specifically.
  • Consider the development of a child more than covering a subject area; “you are teaching children, not subjects.”
  • Think of the arts as an option that contributes toward becoming a more effective educator.
  • Think of the arts as opportunities rather than responsibilities.

3. How do you best assess the arts in a classroom?

  • Identify what criteria you are assessing.
  • Recognize that the arts embrace interpretation; there is not a right or wrong answer, so focus more on criteria such as “Can the student justify his/her artistic decisions?” or “Did the student grow from the experience?”
  • Consider different assessment options: teacher observation, self-assessment, procedure rather than product assessment, or no assessment.
  • Remember, “Not everything counted matters and not everything that matters is counted.”

The Arts Partnership panel also suggested various resources, such as BYU Arts Partnership’s website and programs, that a teacher can use to advocate for teaching the arts in school. To view the full discussion with Arts Partnership board members Christine Palmer, Mark Graham, Marilyn Berrett, Julia Ashworth, Teresa Love and Jerry Jaccard, watch the video below.


Field Friday Arts Panel Discussion February 8, 2013 on Vimeo