A lot of times when we are discussing school curriculums, we talk about how our curriculums are just largely based on academics and not on co-curricular or extra-curricular activities. Why is it that no one talks about a different approach to learning? We look at the words Arts and Sports Integration and think of Arts and Sports being included as subjects. Let's take a look at what it means.
What is Arts Integration?
A study published in the 2017 International Journal for the Arts by Ludwig, Boyle, and Lindsay defines arts integration “… as a strategy for connecting development of skills and concepts in the arts with skills and concepts from other areas of learning through multiple modes of engagement in classrooms.”
It means integrating and interconnecting two key concepts: academic skills collaborated with activity-based learning. Arts Integration into the school curriculum would mean that students learn the same things as before, but when the syllabus is integrated with arts, they grasp the concepts better and at the same time develop skills that promote their cognitive and motor skills.
Keep in mind that this is not the same as creating projects or posters on chart papers for class display. These drawings will not be assessed. Assessment of it will make the process Art Enhancement and not Art Integration. This process of combining Arts and Literature will reinforce the story and at the same time allow them to reflect on ideas and lessons the story is trying to reflect in the young minds.
Arts Integration has been said to significantly improve scores and enhance the ability to cope with learning. Students who otherwise failed to understand key concepts in subjects like Maths, when taught with the integration of skills outside of the classroom are proven to adapt the concepts easier and faster.
A general example would be a collaboration of the Literature class with the Arts class. Learning a story in literature class through recitation or storytelling will enforce the story in their mind. The same story will be used as a theme or an inspiration for the Arts class to reinforce the concepts learned in the story by asking them to draw comic strips for a character they loved or create a thumbnail for the story. Another example would be collaborating in science class and integrating the concepts learned through an art model. For example, learning the concept of the Solar system in Science class and integrating the same topic in Arts class by painting different types and sizes of balls according to the characteristics of a particular planet.
What is Sports Integration?
Sports Integration is similar to Arts Integration. Instead of artistic skills, it uses physical and sports skills to reinforce concepts in minds of learners. According to the technical definition, Sports integration utilizes physical activities to help develop skills such as collaboration, self-initiative, self-direction, self-discipline, teamwork, responsibility, and citizenship.
The process of Sports Integration into the school curriculum is a long overdue. Curtailing to the learning habits of the school-age group, Sports Integration not only makes the process of learning fun but also addresses issues like mind blocks, boredom in the classroom, and dullness in students. It makes them active and attentive. It enforces them to apply their presence of mind.
It is one thing to have a physical education class in the timetable but it is a whole other thing to collaborate physical and sports skills with academics. Often we mistake the idea of sports integration as including sporty activities in the weekly timetable which includes playing games or races. That is not Sports Integration, it is Sports enhancement.
For example, collaborating a Physics class with a Sports class. The concepts in Physics like the relation between Speed, Gravity and Weight can be taught by a game of throwing balls using balls of different weights. In the science class, the students can learn the academic definitions and formulae, but they will learn the real-life application of sports.
The inclusion of Sports not only stimulates cognitive but also disciplinary and motor learning. It reinforces fitness and academics at the same time, sharpening the instincts of the learners through an active process instead of rote learning with textbooks.
Why is it important to inculcate Arts and Sports Integration in the Curriculum?
We have learned about what is Arts and Sports Integration into the Curriculum. What makes it so important and why should it be inculcated in the school curriculum? Here are some of the ways students can benefit from Arts and Sports Integration into the Curriculum:
Arts and Sports Integration will not only remove the classroom boredom and dull process of rote learning, but it will also enhance the abilities of students to adapt the concepts better and quicker.
When learning becomes fun, students have the motivation and want to learn. New concepts become easier to grasp and this ease and efficiency encourage them to learn more. It makes them disciplined in their learning too because the process is no longer dull.
There is no doubt that the different interesting methods of learning will spark an amber of creativity in them too.
When two segments of skilled learning will be combined, it will result in the all-around development of students. It will target and sharpen their cognitive, motor, sensory and holistic skills.
The practice of combining two important segments: arts and sports in everyday academic learning will be a tricky process to infuse but worth it. Everything in the curriculum now is largely technology based too which means students spend way too much time with power points than with actual methods of learning. The integration of Art and Sports will drive them out of the tech box and will allow them to self-reflect too.
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