The Use of the Integrated Arts to Support English Language Leaners
When asked about the role of the arts in the daily classroom, the average person may not think “educational,” but in today’s society the arts can be just that. Integrating the arts into everyday lessons has proven not only to aid those who speak English, but those who are English Language Leaners (ELLs) as well. In today’s society, ELLs make up 10% of the student population (Brouillette, 2012, p. 68). Therefore, educators must take it upon themselves to not only teach these students the core subjects that they are required to learn, but to speak English as well. Many educators have found that creating a culturally responsive classroom, as well as integrating the arts into their classrooms has greatly supported their English Language Leaners in more ways than one.
Culturally Responsive Classrooms
The first way that educators have supported their English Language Leaners, is by creating a culturally responsive classroom. Creating culturally responsive classrooms allows educators to establish meaningful bonds with each and every one of their students. One way that this can be done is through celebrating the many different cultural heritages that are present in the classroom, and incorporating them into the daily instruction (Grant & Reif, 2010, p. 100). This type of inclusion results in the students being confident in who they are, and feeling as though they belong in the classroom. Grant and Reif (2010) add that as a result of a culturally responsive classroom, “…students develop into individuals who are proud of their backgrounds, languages, families, traditions, and experiences” (p. 102). Creating a culturally responsive classroom can also be accomplished by implementing a multitude of instructional strategies in order to meet the needs of every learner. Using instructional strategies that integrate the arts results in the success of many ELLs because they not only engage the students, but allow them to express what they are thinking in many different forms. Integrating forms of art such as painting, drawing, and sculpting permits students to represent what they are thinking in a way that otherwise would not make sense to them (Grant & Reif, 2010, p. 102).
Painting, Drawing, and Sculpting
Integrating forms of art such as painting, drawing, and sculpting has become highly valued by many educators because they have provided them with a way to overcome the language barriers that exist with ELLs (Greenfader & Brouillette, 2013, p. 172). These types of non-linguistic art forms have been so beneficial to educators because they allow communication to occur when English language skills are either not there, or are just emerging. Drawing and painting can be anything from a quick sketch, to a significantly detailed piece. They can also be used in multiple ways, such as note taking, or organizing ideas (Grant & Reif, 2010, p. 104). The possibilities are truly...