The Art of Teaching

There is little that is more exciting to me than finding ways of teaching through the arts. When teaching the three and four year olds in my class I try to involve as many of the childrenís senses as possible, because I have come to realize that the more immersed a child is in any given subject, the more apt he or she is to remember and integrate that knowledge into what they already know of the world. I have found the arts to be the perfect vehicle for such immersion, which leaves me to wonder why children older than pre-school cease to have such rich and varied paths to learning as they did when they first entered school.

I, myself, was a student with a tremendous amount of difficulty in school because I am dyslexic (which was not actually diagnosed until my first year of college). I was, in fact, in remedial classes until I was fortunate enough to have a teacher in seventh grade, Mr. Dacey, who realized that I was bright, but that something was amiss and that I needed to be taught in an unconventional way. Reading aloud had always been extremely anxiety-inducing for me, which Mr. Dacey soon realized, so he had me read Shakespeare to music that matched the meter. Something shifted in me that day. It was the first time in my life that I felt intelligent, hopeful, and excited about learning. If I never had this life-altering experience, I sometimes wonder if I would have ever even gone to college for my bachelors, much less my graduate degree, for fear of failure. Were it not for this experience, I certainly could never have recently graduated from my graduate school with honors.

I didnít realize it at the time, but I was a person that needed the arts to help me understand my own self-worth, to gain a love of learning, and to reach my full potential. I want this to be possible for all children, especially for those that have challenges and may need to traverse many paths before they fully understand a particular subject and/or concept. I believe that art integration is that path.

"In harnessing the arts to other subjects, arts integration turns the curriculum toward work that does not merely reproduce knowledge, but uses knowledge in authentic, intellectual ways (Rabkin, Redmond, 2006, pg 63)."