Art Integrated Learning (AIL) in Teaching-Learning Environment

Dhruba Jyoti Borgohain Dept of Library and Information Science, Mizoram University, Aizawl
dhrubajyoti borgohain

Introduction

School is the miniature society to develop human resource through a series of cognitive practices that to enhance mental well-being of a person to live in the society and inculcate human values. It provides learning environment and learning spaces for teaching under the direction of a mentor. Since inception of the concept of school, the pedagogical methods for imparting education and tools used in it has gained a tremendous change. One of the pedagogical tools is Art Integrated Learning. In an art integrated learning environment, students engage in art activities and develop personal meaning through their learning. AIL is a framework of learning through experience that provides a balanced learning environment for all learners. The AIL conceived as pedagogy that can be applied to all levels of school education with an aim to develop the target areas of cognitive, socio-emotional and psychomotor domains of the learner. The art integrated learning environment has opened spaces for the existence of a learning that is both interdisciplinary and holistic in nature and that too at multiple layers that compose the teaching and learning process.

Before it's implementation as a pedagogical tool, it was tested at different schools across the country for its viability and efficacy in making the process of teaching and learning meaningful and joyful. This has been made a part of NISHTHA (National Initiatives for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement), initiative of then MHRD. After receiving positive feedback of this initiative, AIL was tried to implement in schools across the country.

Importance and Objectives of AIL

The pedagogy contained in the art-based process accommodates space for varying pace of individual children. Learning and developmental needs of all children including children with special needs, weaker socioeconomic backgrounds and diverse cultures benefit from performance and expression through the medium of art. Art encourages, promotes and implements learning and living to be part of natural process. Discovery, observation as well as experimentation make learning concrete, creative and rewarding for one and all.

Celebrations like sports day, health mela, science fair and festivities in school are integrated with art to enhance appeal and add colours of warmth and welcome. Integrating local arts and crafts in different school spaces like classrooms, corridors, different rooms, and outdoor area creates home school linkages besides the school environment becoming attractive and child friendly. Integration of arts with learning has chances to promote:

  • children's need to experience processes rather than strive only for a pre fixed goal
  • experiential learning of academic content leading to holistic learning
  • interdisciplinary connections
  • expression with freedom and opportunity for self-reflection
  • development of different domains
  • possibility for children with different social backgrounds to interact on one common platform
  • active participation of every child
  • growth of social skills by giving students experiences of working as a team
  • emotional expression and stability
  • appreciation for diversity and cultural confidence
  • observation, experimentation and building scientific temper
  • aesthetic sensibility and respect for national and cultural heritage

Conclusion

Art Integrated Learning (AIL) is a teaching-learning model which is based on learning 'through the arts' and 'with the arts': it is a process where art becomes the medium of teaching-learning, a key to understanding concepts within any subject of the curriculum. Learners explore creatively while building connections between different concepts through various art forms. Art experiences, both in visual (drawing and painting, clay modelling, pottery, paper crafts, mask and puppet making, heritage crafts etc.) and performing arts (music, dance, theatre, puppetry etc.) lead to a better understanding and construction of knowledge about different concepts. Arts have the flexibility to accommodate age-appropriate opportunities for learners who can explore at their individual pace. This resonates with the experiential learning approach.

There is significant academic research that corroborates the importance of arts in the process of learning. Learning through the arts aims at the development of cognitive (thinking, recalling and reflecting), affective (social and emotional) and psychomotor (use of body and movement) abilities of the learner. Khan and Ali (2016) in their 'The Importance of Fine Arts Education an Overview' found that study and participation in the fine arts influences learner behaviour and attitudes: "An effective education in the fine arts helps students to see what they look at, hear what they listen to, and feel what they touch. Engagement in the fine arts helps students to stretch their minds beyond the boundaries of the printed text or the rules of what is provable."

Govt schools of Assam had been assets to produce eminent scholars who have name and fame across the globe. The undeclared competition among parents of today to admit their children in private schools has really ruined the schooling culture of Assam. For the parents who can't afford the luxurious private schools with state-of-the art learning equipment, the government schools are their only option. So, the teachers in those schools must take their responsibility to teach the students of socially and economically backward parents applying all effort. AIL is such an effort which is economically viable and technologically feasible.