Integrated curriculum: an approach to collegiate preservice teacher training using the fine arts in the elementary classroom



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Texas Tech University


Current pedagogical practices, supported by recent research data, emphasize the importance of an integrated approach to curriculum in creating the optimum learning environment for students. Effective integration programs must have carefully conceived design components and must provide both discipline-based and interdisciplinary experiences.

The dissertation examines five areas of relevant research: (1) the human brain and human learning, (2) individual learning preferences, (3) instructional strategies that address individual student need according to ability and interest, (4) integrated curriculum models, and (5) contributions of fine arts experts who emphasize the importance of intellectual and artistic stimulation in early childhood. Using this research, the study establishes guidelines for incorporating the fine arts in an integrated model with the core subject curriculum at the elementary level. The outcome is a college course model design used in preservice teacher training for elementary education majors that demonstrates how the fine arts enhance learning and understanding of the core subject disciplines.

Four topical units from language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, with the fine arts elements of music, art, and physical education/movement as integrating components, are introduced as examples of an integrated teaching approach at the elementary level. Each unit is accompanied by a specific individual lesson plan. Syllabi used in an integrated fine arts college course model for preservice teacher training are included. In addition, important issues emanating from the use of an integrated or interdisciplinary design are examined in detail.

Many instructional models are currently being proposed, implemented, and evaluated for effectively addressing the individual and collective needs and interests of students. The fine arts, offered both as specialized courses and as integrated aspects of the general curriculum, are essential in equipping students with attitudes and skills necessary for productive living in the 21st century.