What Do We Expect from In-depth Arts Integration? Criteria for Designing “Aesthetic Teaching” Activities

  • Marina Sotiropoulou-ZormpalaEmail author


It seems that when the arts are included in contemporary formal education, they mainly have two educational roles: either that of a teaching discipline or that of a teaching medium. A third rarely used role, in which the arts are ways of (aesthetically) approaching the taught subject, might lead to an “aesthetic teaching”. In this chapter, “aesthetic teaching” is examined methodologically, in an effort to link its conceptual framework with classroom practice. Correlations are then sought between various contemporary theoretical principles and the expected outcomes from aesthetic teaching. Thus, some of the basic characteristics that should govern aesthetic teaching activities are revealed. Evidence that arose from pilot implementations of such activities contributes to this process. This study concludes with an articulation of a new, more analytical definition of aesthetic teaching, as a situation that encourages both educators and children to approach the taught subject in a multisensory-productive, connotative-creative, multilogical-multifaceted, aesthetic and motivational way. The last section, on the basis of this definition, deals with the specific criteria for designing aesthetic teaching activities.


  1. Albers, P., & Harste, J. (2007). The arts, new literacies, and multimodality. English Education, 40(1), 6–20.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. (2016). Learning from an artistically crafted moment: Valuing aesthetic experience in the student teacher’s drama education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(1). Retrieved from
  3. Bamford, A. (2006). The wow factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education. New York: Waxmann Verlag.Google Scholar
  4. Bal, M. (1998). See signs: The use of semiotics for the understanding of visual art. In M. Cheetham, et al. (Eds.), The subjects of art history: Historical objects in contemporary perspective (pp. 74–93). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barthes, R., Lavers, A., & Smith, C. (1967). Elements of semiology. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  6. Biscotte, S. (2015). The necessity of teaching for aesthetic learning experiences in undergraduate general education science. The Journal of General Education, 64(3), 242–254.Google Scholar
  7. Blanken-Webb, J. (2014). The difference differentiation makes: Extending Eisner’s account. Educational Theory, 64(1), 55–74.Google Scholar
  8. Blumenfeld-Jones, D. S. (2012). Curriculum and the aesthetic life: Hermeneutics, body, democracy, and ethics in curriculum theory and practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  9. Bresler, L. (2002). Out of the trenches: The joys (and risks) of cross-disciplinary collaborations. Council of Research in Music Education, 152, 17–39.Google Scholar
  10. Bresler, L. (Ed). (2007). International handbook of research in arts education (Vol. 16). Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  11. Broda, M. B. (2010). Multiple intelligences. Essay, 3(13), 24–30.Google Scholar
  12. Broudy, H. S. (1994). Enlightened cherishing. An essay on aesthetic education. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  13. Burnaford, G., Brown, S., Doherty, J., & McLaughlin, H. J. (2007). Arts integration frameworks, research and practice: A literature review. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.Google Scholar
  14. Burton, J., Horowitz, R., & Abeles, H. (1999). Learning in and through the arts: Curriculum implications. In E. Fiske (Ed.), Champions of change: The impact of the arts on learning (pp. 35–46). Washington, DC: The Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.Google Scholar
  15. Catterall, J. (2005). Conversation and silence. Transfer of learning through the arts. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 1(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  16. Cho, C. L., & Vitale, J. L. (2014). Art that is heard and music that is seen: Cultivating student engagement through interactive art strategies. What works? Research into practice, Ontario association of deans of education. Research Monograph #53, 1–4.Google Scholar
  17. Cobb, P., Confrey, J., DiSessa, A., Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 9–13.Google Scholar
  18. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2000). Multiliteracies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2015). The things you do to know: An introduction to the pedagogy of multiliteracies. In B. Cope & M. Kalantzis (Eds.), A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Learning by design (pp. 1–36). London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  20. Crotty, Y. (2014). Promoting a creative educational entrepreneurial approach in higher education. International Journal for Transformative Research, 1(1), 75–100.Google Scholar
  21. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  22. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Applications of flow in human development and education: The collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Deasy, R. (Ed.). (2002). Critical links: Learning in the arts and student academic and social development. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.Google Scholar
  24. Deasy, R. (Ed.). (2003). Creating quality integrated and interdisciplinary arts programs: A report of the arts education national forum. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.Google Scholar
  25. Denac, O. (2014). The Significance and role of aesthetic education in schooling. Creative Education, 5, 1714–1719.Google Scholar
  26. Dobbs, S. M. (1998). Learning in and through art: A guide to discipline-based art education. Los Angeles: Getty publication.Google Scholar
  27. Dorn, C. (1999). Mind in art: Cognitive foundations in art education. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  28. Dorn, C. M. (2000). The renewal of excellence. Arts Education Policy Review, 101(30), 17–18.Google Scholar
  29. Duncum, P. (2002). Visual culture art education: Why, what and how. Journal of Art and Design Education, 21(1), 14–23.Google Scholar
  30. Eco, U. (1976). A theory of semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Efland, A. (2002). Art and cognition: Integrating the visual arts in the curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  32. Efland, A. (2004). The arts and the creation of mind: Eisner’s contributions to the arts in education. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 38(4), 71–80. Scholar
  33. Eisner, E. W. (1985). Aesthetic modes of knowing. Learning and teaching the ways of knowing (pp. 23–25). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Eisner, E. W. (1999). Does experience in the arts boost academic achievement? Clearing House, 72(3), 143–149.Google Scholar
  35. Eisner, E. W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Heaven, Conn.: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Eisner, E. W. (2004). What can education learn from the arts about the practice of education? International Journal of Education & the Arts, 5(4). Retrieved from
  37. Eisner, E. W. (2006). Two visions of education. (The Arts Education Collaborative Monograph no. 2). Pittsburgh PA: Arts Education Collaborative.Google Scholar
  38. Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (2001). Participant observation and fieldnotes. In P. Atkinson, A. Coffey, S. Delamont, J. Lofland, & L. Lofland (Eds.), Handbook of ethnography (pp. 356–357). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Eurydice. (2009). Arts and cultural education at school in Europe. Brussels.Google Scholar
  40. Fiske, E. B. (Ed.). (1999). Champions of change: The impact of the arts on learning. Washington, DC: The Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.Google Scholar
  41. Gale, R. (2005). Aesthetic literacy and the “living of lyrical moments”. Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning, 2(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  42. Garces-Bacsal, R. M., Cohen, L., & Tan, L. S. (2011). Soul behind the skill, heart behind the technique experiences of flow among artistically talented students in Singapore. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55(3), 194–207.Google Scholar
  43. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  44. Gardner, H. (1999a). Intelligence reframed. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  45. Gardner, H. (1999b). The happy meeting of multiple intelligences and the arts. Harvard Education Letter, 15(6), 1–6.Google Scholar
  46. Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  47. Garrett, C. E. (2013). Promoting student engagement and creativity by infusing art across the curriculum: The arts integration initiative at Oklahoma City University. About Campus, 18(2), 27–32.Google Scholar
  48. Gazzaniga, M. (2008). Learning, arts, and the brain: The Dana consortium report on arts and cognition. Washington, DC: Dana Press.Google Scholar
  49. Gelineau, R. P. (2012). Integrating the arts across the elementary school curriculum (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.Google Scholar
  50. Goff, R., & Ludwig, M. (2013). Teacher practice and student outcomes in arts-integrated learning settings: A review of literature. Washington, DC: American institutes for research.Google Scholar
  51. Goodman, N. (1978). Ways of worldmaking. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  52. Granger, D. (2006). Teaching aesthetics and aesthetic teaching: Toward a Deweyan perspective. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 40(2), 45–66.Google Scholar
  53. Greene, M. (1981). Aesthetic literacy and general education. In J. F. Soltis (Ed.), Philosophy and education, 80th yearbook of the national society for the study of education (pp. 115–141). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  54. Greene, M. (2001). Variations on a blue guitar: The Lincoln Center Institute lectures on aesthetic education. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  55. Griffin, S. M., Rowsell, J., Winters, K-L., Vietgen, P., McLauchlan, D., & McQueen-Fuentes, G. (2017). A reason to respond: Finding agency through the arts. International Journal of Education and the Arts, 18(25). Retrieved from
  56. Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education, 28(3), 269–289.Google Scholar
  57. Hartley, J. (2002). Communication, media and cultural studies: The key concepts. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  58. Haynes, F. (2004). Seeing education as metaphorical relation. Change: Transformations in Education, 7(2), 35–47.Google Scholar
  59. Hellenic Pedagogical Institute–Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. (2003, March 13). Ministerial decisions 21072a/C2 and 21072b/C2. Cross-curricular thematic framework and curricula of primary and secondary education [available in Greek]. Official Government Gazette 303 v.A’ and 304 v.B’. Athens: National Printing Office.Google Scholar
  60. Hetland, L., Winner, E., Veenema, S., & Sheridan, K. (2013). Studio thinking 2: The real benefits of visual arts education (2nd revised ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  61. Ho, K. L. C. (2017). In search of an aesthetic pathway: Young children’s encounters with drama. Early Child Development and Care, 187(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  62. Horowitz, R., & Webb-Dempsey, J. (2002). Promising signs of positive effects: Lessons from the multi-arts studies. In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical links: Learning in the arts and student academic and social development (pp. 98–100). Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.Google Scholar
  63. Hyde, K. L., Lerch, J., Norton, A., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A. C., et al. (2009). Musical training shapes structural brain development. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 3019–3025.Google Scholar
  64. Jensen, S. (2015). The nature of imagination in education for sustainability. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 31(2), 289–292.Google Scholar
  65. Kress, G. (2007). Thinking about meaning and learning in a world of instability and multiplicity. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 2(1), 19–34. Scholar
  66. LaJevic, L. (2013). Arts integration: What is really happening in the elementary classroom? Journal for Learning through the Arts, 9(1). Retrieved from:
  67. Levin, J., Levin, S., & Waddoups, G. (2014). Multiplicity in learning and teaching. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(2), 256–269. Scholar
  68. Lindstrom, L. (2012). Aesthetic learning about, in, with and through the arts: A curriculum study. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 21(2), 166–179.Google Scholar
  69. Lynch, P. (2007). Making meaning many ways: An exploratory look at integrating the arts with classroom curriculum. Art Education, 60(4), 33–38.Google Scholar
  70. Macintyre Latta, M. (2004). Traces, patterns, textures: In search of aesthetic teaching/learning encounters. In D. M. Callejo-Perez, S. M. Fain, & J. J. Slater (Eds.), Pedagogy of place (pp. 79–96). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  71. Markovic, S. (2011). Components of aesthetic experience: Aesthetic fascination, aesthetic appraisal, and aesthetic emotion. I-Perception, 3, 1–17. Scholar
  72. Melnick, S., Witmer, J., & Strickland, M. (2011). Cognition and student learning through the arts. Arts Education Policy Review, 112(3), 154–162.Google Scholar
  73. Miller, J. P. (2007). The holistic curriculum. Toronto: OISE Press.Google Scholar
  74. Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2002). The concept of flow. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 89–105). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Narey, M. (Ed.). (2008). Making meaning: Constructing multimodal perspectives of language, literacy, and learning through arts-based early childhood education. USA: Springer.Google Scholar
  76. Nattiez, J. J. (1976). Fondements d’ une sémiologie de la musique. Collection Esthétique. Paris: Union générale d’ éditions.Google Scholar
  77. OECD. (2012). Education at a glance 2012. OECD indicators: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  78. Oreck, B. (2002). The arts in teaching: An investigation of factors influencing teachers’ use of the arts in the classroom. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
  79. Parsons, M. (1990). Aesthetic literacy: The psychological context. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 24(1), 135–146.Google Scholar
  80. Parsons, M. (1992). Cognition as interpretation in art education. In B. Reimer & R. A. Smith (Eds.), The Arts, education, and aesthetic knowing: Ninety-first yearbook of the national society for the study of education, part 2 (pp. 70–91). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  81. Parsons, M. (2004). Art and integrated curriculum. In E. Eisner & M. Day (Eds.), Handbook of research and policy in art education (pp. 775–794). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  82. Pike, M. (2004). Aesthetic teaching. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 38(2), 20–37. Scholar
  83. Posner, M., & Patoine, B. (2009). How arts training improves attention and cognition. Retrieved from: Cerebrum.
  84. Potts, A. (1996). Sign. In R. Nelson & R. Shiff (Eds.), Critical terms for art history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  85. Read, H. (1943). Education through art. London: Fabre and Fabre.Google Scholar
  86. Reimer, B., & Smith, R. (Eds.). (1992). The arts, education, and aesthetic knowing. Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.Google Scholar
  87. Richmond, S. (2009). Art’s educational value. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 43(1), 92–105.Google Scholar
  88. Rooney, R. (2004). Arts-based teaching and learning. Review of the literature. Washington, DC: WESTAT Rockville, Maryland. Retrieved from
  89. Rosenblatt, L. (1986). The aesthetic transaction. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 20, 122–128.Google Scholar
  90. Rosenblatt, L. (2005). Making meaning with texts: Selected essays. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  91. Russell-Bowie, D. (2009). Syntegration or disintegration? Models of integrating the arts across the primary curriculum. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 10(28). Retrieved from
  92. Russell, J., & Zembylas, M. (2007). Arts integration in the curriculum: A review of research and implications for teaching and learning. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International handbook of research in arts education (pp. 287–302). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  93. Sean, M., & Ihanainen, P. (2015). Aesthetic literacy: Observable phenomena and pedagogical applications for mobile lifelong learning. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 18(1), 15–34.Google Scholar
  94. Shernoff, D. J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). Flow in schools: Cultivating engaged learners and optimal learning environments. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in schools (pp. 131–145). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  95. Smith, R. A. (1991). Philosophy and theory of aesthetic education. In R. A. Smith & A. Simpson (Eds.), Aesthetics and arts education (pp. 134–148). Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  96. Smith, R. A. (1995). On the third realm—integrated and interdisciplinary learning in arts education. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 29(1), 1–4.Google Scholar
  97. Smith, R. A. (2005). On reviewing: A response to Mary Ann Stankiewicz. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 39(1), 93–99.Google Scholar
  98. Smithrim, K., & Upitis, R. (2005). Learning through the arts: Lessons of engagement. Canadian Journal of Education, 289(1/2), 109–127.Google Scholar
  99. Sotiropoulou-Zormpala, M. (2012a). Aesthetic teaching: Seeking a balance between teaching arts and teaching through the arts. Arts Education Policy Review, 113(4), 123–128. Scholar
  100. Sotiropoulou-Zormpala, M. (2012b). Reflections on aesthetic teaching. An approach to language arts in early childhood curriculum. Art Education, 65(1), 6–10.Google Scholar
  101. Sotiropoulou-Zormpala, M. (2016). Seeking a higher level of arts integration across the curriculum. Arts Education Policy Review, 117(1), 43–54. Scholar
  102. Strand, K. (2016). Composition in an integrated arts program. Music Educators Journal, 102(3), 66–70.Google Scholar
  103. Suttie, J. 2012. Can schools help students find flow? Greater Good, April 16. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from
  104. The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60–93.Google Scholar
  105. Upitis, R. (2011). Art education or the development of the whole child. Toronto: Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.Google Scholar
  106. Veblen, K., & Elliott, D. J. (2000). Integration: For or against? General Music Today, 14(1), 4–12.Google Scholar
  107. Vygotsky, L. (1933). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Retrieved August 2005, from
  108. Winner, E., Goldstein, T., & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013). Art for Art’s Sake? The impact of arts education. OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  109. Winner, E., & Hetland, L. (2007). Art for our sake. Boston Globe. Sept 2, E1-2. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from
  110. Whitin, P., & Moench, C. (2015). Preparing elementary teachers for arts integration. Art Education, 68(2), 36–41.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CreteRethimnoGreece

Personalised recommendations