HISTORY THROUGH THE ARTS: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING APPROACH
My project explores the ability of art to provide a meaningful tool for history teachers to use in the classroom.
It begins by establishing the need for improvement in American public school systems regarding the teaching of both art and history. The performance of students in these areas has been inadequate; moreover, arts programs have been cut from public school curricula in recent years due to budgetary restrictions. I contend that art education is crucial to student development and should be part of the regular curriculum. Interdisciplinary study between art and history allows students to gain necessary exposure to the arts while increasing their engagement with history lessons. Familiarity with visual art is important for creating a student population prepared to function effectively in an increasingly visual world. My thesis outlines a plan for history teachers to bring art into the classroom in a way that enhances history programing and gives students the foundational visual training that they need to be visually literate members of society. Instruction is oriented not towards teaching students to make art but rather toward analysis and appreciation of history through art. Merging art and history improves education in both areas while also helping to improve problem-solving skills. My plan has the additional benefit of returning art to the public school curriculum without requiring a dedicated visual arts teacher or classroom space. The approach draws on state learning objectives to create comprehensive learning routines teachers may apply to preexisting lesson plans. With this methodology teachers will be empowered to improve their lessons, allowing students to gain a deeper knowledge of historical events as well as gain experience working with art.
SECTOR B: Art and Culture of Seeing
ADVISERS: Michael Leja (ARTH) ) | Catherine Rhodes (HIST)