Integration of Performing Arts in Education:
A Joyful, Retentive and Transformative Learning
Mayuri Agarwal1, Anjana Verma2
1Junior Research Fellow, Department of Pedagogical Sciences, Faculty of Education,
Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed to be University), Dayalbagh, Agra, 282005, U.P., India.
2Assistant Professor, Department of Pedagogical Sciences, Faculty of Education,
Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed to be University), Dayalbagh, Agra, 282005, U.P., India.
Art has been a traditional source of informing people about art and culture. Integration of performing arts in education is a modern way of teaching various concepts and theories. The integration of various art forms like dance, drama, music, puppetry, etc. in the classroom teaching learning process makes the environment joyful in which students learn with interest and it makes their learning retentive i.e., long-lasting and transformative which they can apply in their real world. This study shows that the integration of performing art makes learning more enjoyable and meaningful which is supported by several research works. The researcher has also discussed the various strategies to integrate various forms of performing arts at various levels of education in different subjects. Challenges and problems that teachers face in integrating performing arts in classes and their ways to overcome them have also been discussed in the study.
Education is the process of educating people with the required knowledge, skills, values and beliefs. It transfers the heritage of society in the form of knowledge and skills. Earlier, teacher was the centre of education and textbooks were considered as the only resource of education. All the teaching-learning process was solely decided and guided by the teacher, with very less or no role for students. But now the era has changed. Now education demands to make learning joyful, retentive and transformative so that students can reflect on their learning in daily life. In the present scenario, the child has become the center of teaching and learning process and all the activities need to be planned according to their needs and abilities. With the suggestions of the National Curriculum Framework (2005)1 rote learning was discouraged and more emphasis was given to creating knowledge rather than memorizing it, students were allowed to learn outside the classroom and it was made joyful without any burden. National Policy on Education (2020)2 focused on activity-based, play-based, discovery learning, and experiential learning for elementary students. The aforementioned components of the joyful learning focus by NPE 2020 can be effectively fused into the learning process by integrating arts in education. Arts in education are the blend of various skills and forms of arts in the daily teaching-learning process. CBSE in Circular No. Acad-12/2019 (8 March 2019)3 said that 'One universally accepted manner of making learning joyful and innovative is art integrated learning. Aesthetic sensibility and experience are the prime sites of the growing child's creativity. Art-integrated learning makes classroom transactions joyful and creative and also promotes the appreciation of our rich art and cultural heritage. CBSE mentions art as "the process of fulfillment running through every aspect of life that goes on in a creative, productive, and joyful manner." NCERT Position Paper (2019)4 threw light on the current situation of the education system that the approach to organize the curriculum is to present knowledge as 'packaged' usually in textbooks, along with associated rituals of examinations to access, where knowledge acquisition and marks becomes a way of judging competence in the subject area.
Now the main focus is on making education a multi-disciplinary approach in which art is not only studied as a separate subject but is considered as a tool to make the teaching of every subject joyful and retentive and can transform how the learning has been done till now. Art as a tool implies the implication of numerous art forms in the teaching-learning process of various subjects. Arts in education mean applying the various aspects of arts in education to make learning more effective, joyful and retentive.
Art Integrated Education:
The term art integrated education implies education 'through arts' and 'with arts'. It refers to the process of teaching with the help of various forms of art. Art integration in education is teaching various concepts through arts. It is a type of experiential learning.
NCERT in its Art Integrated Learning Guidelines (2019) 5 stated that Art Integrated Learning (AIL) is a framework of experiential learning that provides an equitable environment for all students to learn at their own pace and they can construct their own knowledge with the support of art integrated activities provided to them. Art integration includes both fine and performing arts. Visual art involves painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, and architecture in education. While performing arts includes applying music, drama, dance, theatre, etc to the teaching-learning process.
CBSE stated that art education should be considered both as a tool and a compulsory subject to teach in every school up to 10th. UNESCO's General Conference in 2011 (Resolution 36/C55)6 indicated "art education is key to training a generation capable of reinventing the world that they have inherited. It supports the vitality of cultural identities by emphasizing their link with other cultures." Art education develops various skills, values, and attitudes among students. It is based on the concept of learning by doing under which the students themselves are involved in the teaching-learning process and construct knowledge on their own.
In India, performing arts has their roots in ancient times. Performing art is a form of art in which artists use their bodies to express their feelings. It is the art that is performed by using body, voices, animated objects and facial expressions. Performing arts focus on all three domains of child development i.e. cognitive, affective and psychomotor. It develops intellectual skills, imagination power, correlation ability, critical reflection, concentration power, memory, etc. which are a part of the cognitive domain. It also focuses on the affective domain by developing expression, attitude, sensitivity, communication skills, cooperation ability, self-confidence, empathy, fun, emotional outlet, etc. Through performing arts students learn to read, perform, control situations, coordinate among various activities and be physically fit which develops the psychomotor domain in the child. The major types of performing arts that we can integrate with education are music, dance, drama and puppets.
Music is a form of art that includes two major art forms that are music (vocal and instrumental) and dance. Music is an art form that is used to express feelings and emotions. Music is the organized combination of words and sounds. It has high aesthetic value as it allows the person to feel and express various types of emotions. In the field of education, music plays a pivotal role as it enables the teacher to attract and sustain the interest of the students and also helps in creating a joyful environment in the class.
Dance is a form of art that is performed by moving the body rhythmically according to the song or the music. Dance not only includes physical movements but also talks about facial expressions. That's why it is considered a form of non-verbal communication as it communicates our emotions to the audience without using words.
Drama is a form of art in which the artists depict some story or some opinions using their bodies, facial expressions, and voice. It is a combination of speech, music, dance, spectacles, lights and gestures. These are commonly called plays and the writers are known as playwrights or dramatists and the persons performing them are called performers. Drama is an interesting teaching tool that allows students to participate, observe and develop their skills creatively and naturally. It also develops students' imagination, thinking power, vocabulary, expression and confidence. It helps in the development of three domains cognitive, affective and psychomotor.
Puppetry is the art that involves the manipulation and use of inanimate objects like dolls or toys representing some human or animal. The person who performs it is called a puppeteer. The puppeteer uses strings, rods and hand movements to make the puppet's hands, mouth, head and waist move. Under it, the puppeteer creates different sounds which suit the character and moves the related part of the puppet to synchronize the speech. It is a helpful way of teaching students as it develops all three domains of the child.
Joyful learning is learning which gives pleasure to the students. In such learning students are not forced to learn or study; they learn it with self-intrinsic motivation and curiosity as they enjoy learning. It is about creating such an environment in which a child feels free and learns happily. It is a kind of learning which makes use of such methods, techniques and activities that not only provide knowledge to the students but also provides the feeling of joy and pleasure while learning. Joyful learning brings improvement in learning as proved by various pieces of research.
Importance of Joyful Learning:
· It makes the learner creative as it uses the inhibited talent of the students.
· It reduces the burden on the students as they learn without getting bored and learn according to their interests.
· It focuses on all three domains of child development thus bringing holistic development in the students.
· It helps in retaining the topic for a longer time as students learn things while doing it and while enjoying it.
· It develops the values, attitudes, interests and modifies the behavior of the child.
Retentive learning is that learning a person can store or retain in his mind for a long time and can be retrieved when it is required i.e., in response to prompts. People usually muddle memory and retention but there is a variation between the two, memory is what we have stored in our minds but retentive learning explains the retention and recall of both. Art integration involves the students in the teaching-learning process and provides a pictorial representation of the topic.
Importance of Retentive Learning:
· Retentive learning strengthens the knowledge and skills of the students.
· It supports the students in the application of the learned knowledge and skills while encouraging the achievement of the results and program.
· It helps the students to solve their real-life problems later also.
Transformative learning is a form of deep and meaningful learning. It is the kind of learning in which the learner perceives the knowledge deeply and attains the real meaning of the concepts going beyond simply understanding the knowledge. It is one of types of constructive learning where students complete the third cyclic phase of learn, remember and do. Transformative learning is an important form of learning in today's world as it makes the learner able to bring change in their thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and feelings. It develops the intellectual level of the students as it is a mental process. It also brings development in the affective domain of the child as the child learns by heart and applies and transfers in the required situation.
Importance of Transformative Learning:
· It modifies the students' understanding of real situations.
· It helps the students to solve their real-life problems.
· It modifies the behavior of the child by reflecting the learned matter in their behavior and changes their mind-set.
· It makes learning meaningful and motivates students to active participation and on-going improvement.
Performing arts plays an important role in making learning long-lasting and meaningful. Performing arts helps in improving the learning of the child by involving him/her in activities. Integration of arts in education makes learning more effective, retentive and joyful. Brown Center Chalkboard, (2019)7 depicted in its research findings that there is a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students' social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Results show that there is a 3.6% reduction in disciplinary infractions and 13% increase in academics and 8% increase in compassion for others. Fatma, M.(2018)8 concluded in her findings that art integration can help students to understand concepts easily and through different art forms like dancing, drama, etc. students can effectively express their views and opinions on cultural and social issues. Ahmadi, R. (2017)9 in his research findings depicted that telling stories by the puppet developed speaking fluency and motivation among pre-intermediate EFL learners. Buonincontro,J., Anderson,R. (2020)10 in their research stated that drama-based instruction engages students in learning through verbal and gestures and highlights the importance of meaning-making through body gestures and expressions. Mehling, H.(2017)11 conducted a study that shows that integrating performing arts (drama) in education helped children with autism in behavioral expressions and facial emotional recognition. Palavan, O.(2017)12 in his study enunciated that confidence and the ability to solve problems efficiently were improved among the students after the drama intervention. Batdi,V. and Batdi, H.(2015)13 indicated that creative drama had a significant and positive effect on academic achievement and the qualitative findings indicated that it had influential outcomes on a variety of domains in general. Taskin, B. (2013)14 in their findings concluded that the achievement and scientific skills of the experimental group increased and it also resulted in the development of creativity and critical thinking among learners. Performing arts provides the scope for maximum engagement of students and also helps in making learning a joyful, engaging and creative process and also ensures meaningful and retentive learning. Apart from these skills it also increases the happiness index of the students which motivates them to come to school willingly not forcefully.
Strategies to Integrate Performing Arts in Education:
These strategies help the teacher to teach with the use of arts in a proper way and also help the teacher in increasing the student's engagement in learning. Teachers should adapt these strategies to create a joyful environment in the class and to make their learners active.
Following are the strategies that can help integrate performing arts in education:
1. Integration of Music in Education:
Music has been integrated with education from ancient times. In ancient times, music played an important role in teaching and practicing Vedas. One of our Veda i.e., Sama Veda is based on music. In this Veda, deities were invited by singing hymns and mantras were recited during rituals.
At the primary level teachers can integrate singing in their teaching by making the students sing English and Hindi rhymes, mathematical counting and other math's related facts, basic grammar rules, social science stories, cultural traditions and historical events, science topics like a food chain, pollution, etc. Some other topics like moral issues and healthy habits can also be taught through the use of music. Music can be used to teach different languages and cultures. Teachers can teach nearly every topic through music by using a familiar tune, beats and rhythm. Teachers can also make use of instruments to teach various concepts to the students like signs, symbols, traffic rules, physical training, etc.
Teachers can integrate the singing aspect of performing arts at the secondary level by motivating the students and providing them opportunities to sing and compose songs, short stories, rules of accounts, theories of sciences, historical events like various civilizations, concepts of geography like planets, environment concepts and in other subjects also. Teachers can conduct yoga classes, provide physical training, and practice marching past with the use of musical instruments like whistles and drums.
2. Integration of Dance in Education:
Dance is another form of performing art that helps the performers to express their thoughts in both verbal and non-verbal manner through their expressions. Integration of dance will not only develop the understanding of concepts but will also help in the physical development of the child. Following are some strategies to integrate dance at both primary and secondary levels:
Teachers can integrate the dance activity at the primary level by asking the students to create letters using their body postures, forming the numbers in mathematics. Teachers can conduct the activity of move and freeze which is fun and helps the students to learn various dance movements like skip, twirl, gallop, etc. Dance can be used to teach science by stimulating the life cycle of animals and depicting the photosynthesis process. Dances and rituals of various cultures can also be taught with the integration of dance which will develop the cultural values and dignity for the different cultures in India; it will also flourish the we feeling among students.
Teachers can integrate dance at the secondary level by challenging the students to depict English and Hindi stories through dance; can motivate them to prepare a song and dance for concepts of mathematics and science. Teachers can use dance to sensitize the students about unsound activities of society and teach the ways for minimizing them. Feeling of national integration and respect towards religion can be taught through dance. Many concepts of History like historical characters and events can also be taught through dance-like characters of Rani Laxmi Bai, Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, etc.
3. Integration of Drama in Education:
Drama education has been proven useful for the development of various skills among students. Role play can help the students in presenting their ideas creatively and grasp the attention of their audience. It can be applied at every level of education. Following are some suggested ways to integrate play at both primary and secondary levels of education.
At the primary level, teachers can use the play in their classroom by allowing the students to present a play on moral issues, teach healthy habits, dramatize the English and Hindi stories, to teach mathematical concepts like shapes and measurement. Teachers can use the role-play method to foster drama skills in students. At a very basic level teachers can ask the students to mimic their favorite person just to develop their interest in drama. It can be used to show various cultures of India and helps to develop respect for all. Teachers can ask the students to act out the emotion e.g., anger, joy, etc. Drama can be used to teach science chapters e.g., parts of a cell. Integration of drama will also enhance the language skills of the students as they will perform the drama and dialogues which will boost their understanding of language including pitch and tone of voice, voice modulation and appropriate expression.
Figure 1: Drama performed by teachers at the elementary level
Teachers can integrate the play at the secondary level by challenging the students to mimic the inspiring leaders, performing a play on social science issues, showing the cause and effect relation of science, taking the students to the society to do street play, performing various awareness programs like road safety, fire safety, etc., give chance to students to sit on 'hot seat' to understand the character by giving the answers to the question relating to the character. Teachers can conduct the activity of puzzle pieces in which a piece of the puzzle is given to the student and he/she has to create his/her own story which matches that piece. Various topics of commerce like ethics, profit and loss, etc., rasa and alankar of Hindi, dialogues of history, geography and EVS can be taught with the use of drama.
4. Integration of Puppets in Education
Puppets have been used from older times to depict the stories mainly in Rajasthan and other related areas. Using puppets in education will create a joyful and creative environment in classrooms. We can integrate the use of puppets in teaching various concepts of various subjects at both primary and secondary levels in the following ways:
At the primary level teachers can integrate puppetry in teaching counting and before-after in mathematics, basic grammar rules, and healthy habits. Puppets can be used to demonstrate real-life problems and their solutions, in English and Hindi stories. Teachers can teach the students about wrong and right through puppets, ask students to explain the learned topic, puppets can be used to tell the classroom rules and regulations, and teachers can provide knowledge about sports and their rules, and the importance of physical fitness.
Figure 2: Shadow puppetry by an elementary teacher (Author’s own)
At the secondary level teachers can integrate puppetry by providing opportunities to the students for depicting the history chapters, and English stories, various social and personal conflicts can be solved through puppets by teaching them the ways to respond and solve them. Teachers can give chances to the students to create their own stories and present them through puppetry shows, science facts and different geographical concepts can be taught through puppets. Teachers can use puppets to make students aware of politics and its workings, real-life situations can be given to students and ask them to find their solution and present it through puppets, and the economic condition of the country can be shown with puppets. Various languages can also be taught through voice modulation in puppetry.
Figure 3: Showing the hand puppets made by students (Author’s own)
Performing arts has its significance in various fields like rituals and personal expression and it is also a source of living for many of us. But in the field of education, it has a vital role to play. Performing arts develop various skills in students and bring a change in their behavior to improve their learning. It helps in making the teaching-learning process engaging and joyful and increases the engagement of learners. Enhanced engagement of the learners helps in their better performance (Artiand Santi, 2017)15. It is beneficial for the overall development and exposure of various skills and abilities among students. It helps in all round development of the students by developing all the aspects of a child's personality. Performing arts improves critical thinking, logical thinking, divergent thinking and reasoning power and ensures social and personal development of the learners as stated by Hakan Uskali (2018)16 in his work.
The attention span of the students also increases as they become active and take interest in the learning process. Performing arts fulfils an important aim of education i.e., to develop the life skills like cooperation, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, etc. among students. The significance of performing arts in education can be seen as it helps the students to express their feelings and emotions. Integration of performing arts enhances the self-efficacy of the learners which further improves the academic achievement of them (Neena and Sneh, 2019)17. A study done by Grant, Jacklyn, Taryn and Garrett (2021)18 stated that theatre arts program increases student outcomes through social and emotional development, enhancing self-beliefs, and increasing theatre arts skills. Performing arts brings elements of play, humor and laughter to those taking part, improves motivation and reduces stress which makes learning joyful. It is a multi-sensory approach to learning as it involves various senses of the learners. This approach lays positive impact in learning various language skills like English (Swati, 2019)19. Performing arts bring team spirit, integrity, understanding and coordination skills in students when they unite for a group. With the help of art integration, the teacher can easily and effectively develop a feeling of respect and a positive attitude toward every culture of society. Integrating arts in education also provide the practical and efficient ways to boost the self-esteem and self-confidence of the students as reported by Hei Wan and Daisy (2019) (20) in their work. Art integration also promotes personal awareness among the learners.
Drama, theatre and other performing arts improve verbal and non-verbal communication by improving vocal projection, articulation, tone of speech and expression. Performing arts will develop the motor skills of the students. Through performing arts students will get physically fit. J.Matt, Emmaand Eckart (2021)21 in their study revealed that performing art laid positive effect on physical and mental health of students. It will help and motivate the students to participate in other co-curricular activities.
Challenges in the integration of Performing Arts in Education:
Despite the suggestions of various committees, considerable efforts of the Government and charitable investment the quality and extent of arts integration is considerably low. The reasons behind the low speed of integration are the challenges that are being faced by the education system, schools and teachers of India. Following are the challenges in the integration of performing arts in education:
1. Lack of training of teachers - Teachers is not trained in the ways of integrating art practices with their regular classroom activities. They don't know the methods and strategies to deliver the content of core courses by integrating art into them. Teachers are not aware of the correlation of these activities like music, drama and dance with academic subjects. Such lack of knowledge becomes a challenge for them and they do not use performing art in their teaching activities.
2. Lack of support from the administration - A supportive administration is key when someone is trying to do something new. In the Indian scenario, art integration became a challenge because of the unsupportive administration. The teachers cannot conduct performing art activities in their class even when they want to because of the lack of permission from their authority.
3. Lack of funds – Funds or money is the blood for any work. For anyone to start something new they need funds. Another main challenge of arts integration is the lack of funds provided by the government to schools. Money is required for purchasing costumes, props, make-up, light, and sound system for the drama or dance. Funds are also required for various little expenses like stage, space, etc. and schools do not have enough funds to conduct art integrated activities in their schools.
4. Lack of time – Our curriculum is so wide that it takes a long period to complete. Teachers and school management do not have enough time to complete their courses; in such situations, it seems a great challenge to integrate arts in their education because it needs time to provide interdisciplinary education and conduct various activities along with the course.
5. Lack of teacher motivation - Teachers are the ones who will plan how the integration has to be done and what activities have to be conducted to develop necessary skills in students. And when the teacher is not motivated to integrate arts in their subjects then there is no way to provide integrated education to students. Teachers' attitude towards such integration is one of the important challenges of arts integration. The teacher does not want to be trained in such fields as he/she thinks that it is not his/her area of teaching.
6. Lack of resources – It is another one of the main challenges of art integration in education. In India, we do not have enough resources including physical resources, capital resources and human resources. Lack of such resources creates a challenge to conduct various art-integrated activities in schools, to provide training to the teachers on integration, to provide various labs and laboratories to students, to provide various opportunities which will enable the students to use various arts in their learning, etc.
7. Lack of parental support – The disagreement of the parents is another challenge that we have to face to integrate arts in education. Indian parents think that such integration would not be beneficial for their children and will waste their time also. Their basic tendency is that a student should only focus on his studies and should do best in academics. However such thinking of parents is now changing but still, we can see it in most Indian parents.
8. Difficult to organize activities in the classroom- Teachers find it difficult to organize art-integrated practices in their daily classrooms as it may create chaos and a clamorous atmosphere in the classroom. Sometimes it leads to in-disciplinary acts from students because of which teachers and the administration do not want to take steps to provide art-integrated learning. There is also the problem of sufficient space in the schools for organizing dance or drama.
Ways to Overcome Challenges
It is quite obvious to face challenges in the process of adopting or starting something new but the best solution is to find ways of minimizing or overcoming the challenges. Following are some ways by which the challenges can be overcome:
1. Create Awareness- Government and Training Institutions should organize programs/workshops/ lectures etc. about various forms of performing art to develop awareness and create interest in the schools and the teachers. These programs must be conducted in every district ensuring that no teacher or school is left behind from this opportunity.
2. Provide training to teachers – School teachers should be trained and exposed to the art strategies and methods to integrate performing art in education. The training can be provided through organizing workshops, orientation courses and camps. And the training should be provided free of cost so that everyone takes interest and can attend them.
3. Make funds available– Government should provide funds to the school management so that they can conduct art-integrated education in their schools. Government should also have proper checks on the utilization of these funds to reduce the chances of misuse of funds and ensure art-integrated classrooms.
4. Reduce the workload of teachers – School management should reduce the workload of teachers by making them free from nonteaching work. Sufficient time should be given to teachers so that they can work on their teaching skills and can improve that by integrating art into them.
5. Counselling of parents and teachers – A meeting or counselling should be conducted with parents and teachers where they can know the importance of art in student life and can get the knowledge that integrating art in education would not divert or lowers the student's academics but will improve their various skills and will also ensure .all-round development of the child.
6. Reduce Number of Students in Class – In Indian classrooms one of the main problems is the number of students; their number should be reduced and schools should follow the idol ratio i.e., 30:1. It will be easy for the teachers to manage such numbers of students and maintain discipline.
7. Collaborative Team for Art Integrated Education- A Collaborative team from different subject teachers must be formed so that they can help each other or to brainstorming how they can use such activities in their subjects. Music teachers, dance teachers, and Craft teachers can cooperate with the other subject teachers in planning classroom activities.
Education is the key to bringing change in society. Integrating performing arts in education makes it joyful and a meaningful process. Performing arts enhances various skills among students and helps in their all-round development. It evolves the mental and motor abilities of the students and helps them to retain learning for longer period of time by involving them in the learning and providing opportunities to create their knowledge. Schools and teachers should take initiative to integrate arts in their schools and classrooms. Art forms like dance, drama, music, posters, painting, etc. should be selected according to the age and mental level of the students and must be appropriate to the subject and topic to be taught. For ensuring the effective integration of performing arts sufficient resources like funds, space and materials should be provided to the schools. Schools must ensure proper support and training for the teachers for the successful integration of performing arts in education.
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Received on 09.04.2023 Modified on 28.04.2023
Accepted on 18.05.2023 ©AandV Publications All right reserved