A Historical, International Comparison of Integrated and Dis-Integrated Arts

By Teresa Cotner.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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. 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. 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

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp.33-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.210MB).

Dr. Teresa Cotner

Assistent Professor in Art Education, Department of Art and Art History, California State University, Chico, USA

Teresa Cotner is from Los Angeles, California. She earned a BA in Art at California State University, Sonoma, an MA in Art History and Single Subject Teaching Credential at California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD in Art Education at Stanford University. She taught high school art in Los Angeles and after completing her PhD she taught at California State University, San Bernardino for five years and is currently finishing her third year at California State University, Chico. Her research interests include qualitative inquiry, classroom discourse and integrated arts. She has published papers in Art Education, Studies in Art Education, the International Journal of Education, a book review in the International Journal of Education and the Arts, and a chapter in “Teaching Art in Context.” She presents annually at CAEA and NAEA and recently presented a paper at InSEA, Osaka, Japan 2008.


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