Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change
Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change

Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783209552
Publisher: Intellect, Limited
Publication date: 08/15/2018
Series: Theatre in Education Series
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Gail Humphries Mardirosian is the dean of the School of Performing Arts at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Yvonne Pelletier Lewis is an education consultant for Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland, and adjunct instructor in the Department of Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University in Washington, DC.

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Arts Integration in Education

Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change Theory, Impact, Practice

By Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Yvonne Pelletier Lewis, Robert Lautman

Intellect Ltd

Copyright © 2016 Intellect Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-78320-525-7


Cognition, Knowledge Construction, and Motivation to Learn: Models and Theories

Lynn H. Fox, Ph.D.


Learning is a complex task and the process of learning may vary based on characteristics of the learner, prior experiences of the learner, characteristics of the material to be mastered, the learning environment or context, and the instructional strategies that are employed. Theories or models of learning focus on or emphasize these dimensions in varying degrees. Most of the models begin with some assumptions about the nature of cognition and the interaction of learner characteristics with instructional strategies.

This chapter reviews some of the theories, notably those that can be argued to support the value of arts-based teaching and learning or arts-infused curriculum. The first section of this chapter summarizes some of the major theories of learning that have developed over the past 100 years, including the work of Piaget (1952), Vygotsky (1978), Skinner (1953), Bruner (1966), Bandura (1986), and the Information Processing Model of Thinking. The second section considers briefly the ancillary topics of intelligence, creativity, and motivation, as they are closely linked to theories of learning and are relevant for developing models for instruction. The challenge for educators is to translate theory and research into effective classroom practice, a challenge that has been met by some of the contributors to this book. The third section of this chapter describes some models for instructional practice that have been developed based on theory and research. The chapter concludes with a summary of the implications of theory and research for the development of instructional programs and teacher preparation, particularly as they support the approaches to the integration of the arts into teaching and learning across the curriculum.

A Note Regarding This Chapter

In this chapter, the terms arts-based/arts-integrated teaching and arts-based/arts-integrated learning refer to an emerging paradigm for pedagogy that embraces the notion of multiple intelligences and, concomitantly, multiple paths to learning. The paradigm assumes that divergent approaches to instructional practice are necessary in order to reach all students – either by incorporating some type of arts-based experience in the presentation of knowledge and skills and/or inviting students to actively experience and respond to learning. Specifically, it is teaching (or learning) that occurs when some form of visual or performing arts – story, dance, poetry, painting, drawing, sculpting, music, dialogue, and dramatization – is used in conjunction with content or skills in other curricular domains reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. This type of teaching and learning, which can involve multiple media and modalities, enables learning by making it more accessible to students, by motivating them, and by helping them construct their own unique knowledge. For example:

• Students read a story and then rewrite the story as a dialogue between the characters in the story. To do this, they must identify the key components of the plot and the role of each character in developing the plot. This dramatization activity can be done quickly as an "improv" game or built into a major scriptwriting project or extended to set construction and costume design.

• A teacher's lesson on fractions might use musical rhythmic patterns and have students clap those patterns, recognizing the difference in values of whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. This can be done as a whole class activity or in groups to permit comparing and sharing the rhythm patterns that are created.

• A mathematics lesson on ration and proportion might develop scale drawings of floor plans for a house or for a stage set or a playground.

• Students studying the culture of Japan might be asked to draw pictures to represent what they have learned about life in Japan in terms of housing, natural environments, climate, and work.

• Writing scripts and performing skits about important moments in history, such as the Rosa Parks Story, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, or the Women's Suffrage Movement, may help students not only understand the historic moment, but also develop empathy with the characters and an emotional connection to the material they are learning.


Most theories and models of learning begin with some assumptions about the nature of cognition and some speculation as to the nature of the interaction between learner characteristics and instructional strategies. While some theories place emphasis on the social/ cultural context in which learning occurs, others focus on understanding the dynamics of motivational factors by which the learner becomes engaged and committed to the process of acquiring or constructing meaningful knowledge.

Piaget's Developmental Model

Jean Piaget, a Swiss biologist and an epistemologist, began to study young children's thinking in the early 1920s. Piaget believed that children constructed knowledge about their environment as a result of their direct interaction with it (Piaget 1959, p. 59). He postulated that children developed mental "schemes" to understand concepts and that these schemes were constantly being reorganized and adjusted as new experiences necessitated. Piaget explained the process of construction as a series of assimilations and accommodations. New stimuli or experiences cause a state of "disequilibrium" and the child is motivated to return to a state of "equilibrium" or mental harmony. To do so, new knowledge must be incorporated into existing schema (assimilation) and/or the schema must be modified to "accommodate" the new information; or in some cases, the learner may create an entirely new schema. For Piaget, cognitive development was also tied to neurological changes or levels of readiness. Thus, an infant or toddler processes experience differently than older children and adults.

Piaget proposed four stages of cognitive development. The sensorimotor stage from birth to around age 2, followed by a preoperational stage until ages 6 or 7. This, in turn, was followed by the concrete operational stage up to the ages 11 or 12. The final formal operational stage could begin as early as ages 11 or 12 and continue through adulthood. This final stage required formal logical thought and, in later work, Piaget acknowledged that perhaps not all adults obtained this stage.

Piaget's theory about children's thinking, language development, and implications for teaching has resulted in a large body of research that has been continued by others. Current thinking about cognitive development has moved away from a focus on "stages" linked to age, but many of Piaget's assumptions about children's construction of knowledge and the importance of interaction with the world continue to influence development of curriculum models and instructional design.

Social Constructivism

Lev Vygotsky's research on children's thinking was conducted between 1920 and 1934 in Russia but was not translated and appreciated by western psychologists until much later. Vygotsky believed that a child's cognitive development was shaped by his/her culture (Vygotsky 1978). For Vygotsky, the origins of thought were rooted in social interactions, especially interactions with adults. He also believed that language and social dialogue were essential for cognitive development. In both formal and informal interactions, adults convey to children the ways in which they should understand their world. Peer interactions are also important but it is adults and formal schooling that are the primary shapers of beliefs, knowledge, and skills. Thus, Vygotsky's theory is sometimes referred to as a sociocultural view of learning.

Another interesting idea proposed by Vygotsky was the notion of a "zone of proximal development." This is the area in which children can perform tasks when assisted or guided by more competent individuals, that is, children must be presented with challenging tasks above their level of independent competence in order for them to develop new skills and understandings. Vygotsky believed we should expect a wide range of individual differences and provide as much individualized instruction as possible (Ormrod 2003; Vygotsky 1978).

Vygotsky's work has led to interest in the notion of "scaffolding." This is where teachers or other more able individuals provide a structure and form of guidance to lead children through tasks within their "zone of proximal development." Vygotsky valued cooperative learning instructional strategies because students can provide scaffolding for one another. The concept of cognitive apprenticeships, wherein students learn how to think about a task as well as perform it, was also an outgrowth of Vygotsky's theory. For example, teachers might "think out loud" in order to model the thought processes involved in solving a mathematics problem, or provide support by deconstructing a complex task into smaller or easier components.

Social-Cognitive Constructivism

Jerome Bruner's theory merged Piaget's basic ideas with those of Vygotsky. He expanded upon them by focusing on their implications for formal instruction. For Bruner, cognitive development involves an interaction between human capabilities and culture (Bruner 1966). Bruner postulated that there were three stages or modes of thinking. First, learning is action-based, that is, an enactive stage involving muscle memory. In the next stage, information is stored in a visual form called the iconic phase. In the final stage, learning is symbolic, wherein abstract information is stored in a symbolic form such as language. Although in some ways, this is similar to Piaget's stages, Bruner believes that any learner at any age may, when confronted with novel concepts, learn best by experiencing the concept first in an enactive way, then in an iconic way, and, finally, in a symbolic representation with language or code.

Another major departure from Piaget was the notion of readiness for learning. Bruner believes that any subject can be taught in some form to any child at any stage of development. This leads to the notion of a spiral curriculum where subjects can be introduced at simplified levels, then revisited later at more complex levels. Bruner is also often cited as the first to introduce the notion of discovery learning as the logical extension of the belief that learners must construct knowledge. Drawing from Vygotsky's notion of zone of proximal development and scaffolding led Bruner to propose an instructional approach sometimes described as guided discovery.


Behaviorism, as put forth by Skinner (1953) defines learning as an observable change in behavior. This involves either acquisition of new behaviors or changes to the existing patterns of behavior. There is virtually no interest in the internal nature of thought or "cognition." What is learned could be the recall of factual knowledge or a skill. Learning occurs when the application of rewards or punishments results in either the increase or decrease in the frequency of particular behaviors in response to particular stimuli. The role of language in the acquisition of knowledge is not addressed. Individual differences in learning outcomes result from the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the reinforcements or schedule of reinforcements.

Social Learning Theory

Bandura (1986) merged behaviorism with a more cognitive view by proposing that learning can occur through the observation of models. Bandura extended the notion of reinforcement of learning as a consequence of rewards to include vicarious reinforcement by observing behaviors of a model. Bandura postulated four conditions necessary for observational learning to occur. First, learners must pay attention to the model, their behavior, and the consequences of their behavior. Second, they must be able to remember what they saw. Third, they must be capable of performing the behavior. Finally, learners must be motivated to imitate the model. Presumably, the motivation is a result of observing the consequences for the behavior, such as rewards or punishments.

Information-Processing Models of Cognition

Modern cognitive researchers have moved away from the research on stages of development to focus on understanding memory, problem-solving, or higher-order thinking skills, and metacognition. This, in turn, has created interest in the concepts of intelligence and creativity as well as motivation and instructional design.

Most work on memory proposes a distinction between short-term or working memory and long-term memory. In addition, much of the research makes a distinction between learning in terms of declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge. Research on the learning of declarative knowledge has emphasized the effectiveness of different types of activity. Rehearsal (repetition of information either mentally or aloud), although typically necessary, is not by itself highly effective. When new information is linked in some manner to prior knowledge, the material becomes more "meaningful" and thus more readily learned. Another way to increase the meaningfulness of material and thus its effective recall is by organizing or creating patterns or analyzing structure. Visual imagery can be a powerful tool to enhance the encoding of information into long-term storage. Elaboration is another strategy by which the learner expands upon the new information, perhaps by thinking about the application of the information or generating concrete examples. Organization, elaboration, and visual imagery are all ways that the learner actively "constructs" knowledge or schemas. In the absence of links to prior knowledge, it is sometimes appropriate to construct mnemonic devices, such as acronyms, as aids to memory.


Excerpted from Arts Integration in Education by Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Yvonne Pelletier Lewis, Robert Lautman. Copyright © 2016 Intellect Ltd. Excerpted by permission of Intellect Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Teachers First
Yvonne Pelletier Lewis and Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Ph.D.

Section I: Theory: Foundations of Arts Integration and Teacher Training
Reflection: Cognitive and Affective Frameworks for Arts-Based Teaching and Teacher Change
Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Ph.D.

Chapter 1: Cognition, Knowledge Construction, and Motivation to Learn: Models and Theories
Lynn H. Fox, Ph.D.

Chapter 2: Creativity, Collaboration, and Integration: The Ideas of Howard Gardner for Education in the Arts
Anne Fletcher, Ph.D. and Seymour Simmons, III, Ed.D.

Chapter 3: Emotional Aspects of the Theoretical Dimensions of Arts
Nancy Thorndike Greenspan and Jacob C. Greenspan

Chapter 4: School Reform with a Brain: The Neuropsychological Foundations for Arts Integration
William R. Stixrud, Ph.D. and Bruce A. Marlowe, Ph.D.

Section II: Impact: Training Teachers and Teaching Artists in Arts Integration
Reflection: Transform the Teacher, Transform Teaching
Yvonne Pelletier Lewis

Chapter 5: The Imagination Quest (IQ) Way of Teaching and Learning
Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Ph.D.

Chapter 6: The Passion and Purpose of the Teaching Artist: A Connective and Transformative Power
David Markey

Chapter 7: Prepare the Teacher, Prepare the Student: Arts-Based Pre-Service Teacher Training
Raina Ames

Chapter 8: Drama and Action Techniques in University Teaching
Sally Bailey

Chapter 9: The Use of Drama in Teacher Training: A Czech Perspective
Hana Kasíková, Ph.D.

Chapter 10: Culture Clashes and Arts Integration at the University
Martha Harrison, Ph.D.

Chapter 11: Training Teachers in the Classics: Shakespeare in Action in the Classroom
Lucretia M. Anderson

Chapter 12: Training Teachers in Science Through Theater: How Did They Do That?
Willa J. Taylor

Chapter 13: Embracing the Energy of the Early Years: Training to Teach Through Theater
Bethany Lynn Corey

Chapter 14: Transformative Education Processes: Difficult Dialogues and Global Citizenry
Karen Berman, Ph.D.

Section III: Practice: Arts Integration in the Classroom, the School, the Community
Reflection: Systematic Activation of Change: From Teacher to School to Community
Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Ph.D.

Chapter 15: Arts Integration for School Change
Tanya Thomas

Chapter 16: Reenergizing School and Community Through the Arts: The Little School That Could 
Patrick N. Pope and Carol Foster

Chapter 17: Engagement in Learning: Inclusive Arts Integration Interventions
Alida Anderson, Ph.D.

Chapter 18: Engaging Students in Learning Through Theater Skills and Strategies
Marjorie Gaines

Chapter 19: Dancing with the Brain: Brain-Compatible Dance Education in University-Level Teaching and Community Outreach Programs
Susan Taylor Lennon

Chapter 20: A Story Impact in Pedagogy: Why New Orleans Matters
Topher Kandik

Chapter 21: Tell Me Your Story and I’ll Tell you Mine: Transformation Through Writing and Performance
Caleen Sinette Jennings

Chapter 22: Personal Stories as Motivators: The Playback Theatre Experience
Tim Reagan, Ph.D.

Chapter 23: Science Learning Through Arts-Based Instruction
Leslie J. McRobie

Chapter 24: The Bilingual Classroom: Teaching Through Verbal and Physical Language
Elena Velasco

Chapter 25: Arts Education: Systemic Change and Sustainability
Kathi R. Levin

Conclusion: Looking Forward: Infinite Possibilities for Teaching and Learning 
Yvonne Pelletier Lewis


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