KOCHI: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to integrate art with teaching and learning process in all academic subjects for all classes from 2019-20. This has been done after identifying that art education is primary pathway to learning. CBSE has also instructed that every CBSE school shall compulsorily reserve a minimum of two periods per week per class for art education. All the four main streams covered by the term arts such as music, dance, visual arts and theatre should be included in the curriculum. The approach should be participatory, interactive and experiential rather than instructive.
According to Fr Mathew Kareethara, principal, Chavara Public School, Pala, art integration is introduced for better learning outcomes. "The methods used are according to the age and level of the students," said Fr Kareethara. "Both experiential learning and art integration have been introduced to better skill students. The students can be divided into three categories according to their method of learning. These are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Some learn by seeing, some by listening and some by doing are the three categories.
"Some lessons in English, especially regarding rules in grammar, can be taught using rhyming poems which makes a deep imprint on the minds of the students. Their learning process also becomes smooth. Teachers make sure that the three domains of development - cognitive, psychomotor and affective - are touched while teaching a lesson via art-integrated activities. Thus the knowledge skills and attitude of the students are developed through the teaching-learning process," he said.
According to Radha Viswakumar, principal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan School, Manvila, the integration of art into the curriculum for subjects such as math, science, social science and even language has been shown to increase understanding and retention, and aids in the development of creative problem-solving skills.
"Arts can encompass many forms, including visual arts, music, performing arts and dance. Unfortunately, many art programmes are being cut in schools these days, forcing students to find programmes outside of school in order to express their creativity, talent, and imagination," said Ms Viswakumar.
"Some students have a difficult time expressing themselves through writing. Children, especially those learning English or with special needs, might find that drawing helps them explain themselves and communicate better. Vocabulary, grammar, and writing can then be developed based on their chosen form of art," she said.
"Songs and chants not only aid the children's core music skills, but also stick in the memory and can help children remember mathematical facts. The time-tables are often taught in this way, but you could change the words to any song to incorporate other maths facts, or methods of solving maths problems. Singing also helps build a group dynamic. My advice to teachers is to use the arts to breathe new life into your lessons. It will improve your children's confidence in subjects, and your own pleasure and joy in teaching," said Ms Viswakumar.
"Integration happens only after students have been directly taught the arts. Without this background knowledge, neither the students nor the subject teacher will be able to integrate art in education. For example, the notes in Hindustani classical music or western instrumental music can be aligned with the teaching of fractions in mathematics. Low frequency and high frequency sound can be easily understood in physics if it is integrated with pitch in music," says Joy M. Varghese, principal, LeCole Chempaka Silver Rocks, Sreekaryam, Thiruvananth-apuram.
"The visuals created by an artist using different strokes are pure physics in art. The effect of using straight long lines, short lines, curved lines, circular lines, broader lines, thinner lines, darker lines, lighter lines is all a play of physics in art," he said.
"A dress designer integrates artistic skills with geometry, physics and economics. CBSE had insisted that schools upload the art integrated curriculum of every school midsession. CBSE and other education boards will need stronger approaches to challenge the entrance coaching industries to effectively roll out the vision of art integrated teaching and learning," said Joy M Varghese.
According to Deepa Chandran, principal, Greets Public School, Kaloor, Kochi, the age of learning by rote and memory learning is giving way to new methods and the 21st century demands multiple skills for students and the new methods propose to equip them with these skills. One among them is art integration.
"For example while learning a history lesson, what if the students play the characters in that portion in a drama or skit? Those acting the role of the characters and those seeing it will enjoy it and learn easily from it. It will leave a deep imprint in their minds," said Ms Chandran.
"Even public speaking is an art and through debates and group discussions, students are prompted to understand concepts and study portions better. The teachers are asked to include such ideas in their lesson plans," said Ms Chandran.
"We asked students to do a collage on a campaign like 'say no to drugs". They drew materials from here and there and in the process learn a lot of things. While teaching about the election system the students are prompted to undertake a mock election exercise, which helps them understand the nitty-gritties without much effort and fast. Skills like communication and decision-making of the students are improved through such processes," she said.