Thesis Update: Arts Integration in Elementary School

My name is Angela Marie Bryant. I am currently an elementary school teacher working with students with disabilities I have been at a school in East Harlem for the past 10 years. When I’m not teaching I enjoy going to museums, reading, theatre, and creating artwork. I’ve created most of my art pieces being inspired by artists such as Faith Ringgold, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence.

Remembering my school days as a child I often recall doing projects in my classroom that would assist in my academic learning process. So in my teaching I thought that art would aid my students as well, and started to implement art into my lessons in the classroom. By doing so my students are more engaged in conversations and around there artwork and academic content of the lessons.

In January of 2016 I decided to come back to school this time to earn a Master’s in Art Education to aid in my teaching. I wanted to really bring art into my lessons so that my students can learn about artists who has created works of art that are connected to so many of the academic content we cover in our lessons.

At present I am conducting research on the teacher and student experience when art is being integrated into the academic learning in the classroom. I want to know if other teachers and students are benefiting whether in engagement or academically. Most scholarly research I have found speaks to the benefits of art being integrated into the academic lessons. I have conducted my first teacher survey in a case study of a NYC public school where some artmaking is being done in classrooms while being incorporated into teacher lesson plans. I have learned the teachers were integrating art into their lessons, but mostly because it made a lesson enjoyable and fun for their students, but some didn’t include the artmaking in their lesson plans. I am intending to gather more information in my study through classroom observations of student learning as well as teacher focus groups. I hope that my research can help classroom teachers, art teachers, and students to get on the road to Art Integration!!

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