Art-integrated learning finds room in Chennai’s CBSE schools

Origami to learn mathematics, clay modelling for geography, skits at the end of English lessons — art is no longer sidelined in the syllabus

Learning mathematics through kolam patterns and origami, clay modelling to depict geographical landforms, and putting up skits at the end of English lessons — with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) having called for the implementation of art-integrated education for all classes, many of its affiliated schools in the city have taken steps to do just that over the last year.

“We have focused on not just integrating arts with regard to teaching, but the assessment pattern as well. Instead of simply administering worksheets or tests, we are encouraging children to present what they have learnt in the form of songs, skits or art models. Across classes, children are enjoying this process,” said K. R. Maalathi, adviser, SRM Public School, Guduvanchery.

While murals were used to depict latitudes and longitudes, the musical instrument jal tarang was brought into class to teach younger students about water as a part of a science lesson.

Working together

At the Vikas Mantra Public School in Chengalpet, Ms. Maalathi said that the mathematics and art departments worked together to introduce art-integrated learning from Classes I to IX with diverse activities such as quilling, glass painting and doll-making.

The guidelines issued by the CBSE state that art-integrated learning can be implemented in classrooms through an ice-breaking activity to introduce a topic and undertaking trans-disciplinary projects for cohesive understanding among the students.

At the Chennai Public School, Thirumazhisai, students got to participate in a mock Lok Sabha session to better understand how the Indian Parliament system works, and even passed a Bill. For lessons on politicians and keeping up with current affairs, they are encouraged to prepare and enact mock interviews with elected representatives.

Scope for creativity

“While some schools have for long practised art integration, the CBSE guidelines have encouraged all schools to stop solely focussing on marks and exams. This has given a lot of scope for creativity and critical thinking which has made students happier learners,” said Lakshmi Prabha, Principal, Prasan Vidya Mandir.

Among the school’s interventions are origami, kolam patterns, story-telling and traditional games to teach mathematics. “Learning mathematics through traditional games, for instance, has resulted in children developing a great deal more interest and affinity to the subject,” she noted.

Mangala Madhavan, Principal, Shri Ram Universal School, said that for effective teaching and learning to happen, students have to undergo some kind of experience. “Instead of being singularly focused on driving the concept home, teachers can use visual aids or incorporate various forms of music or art, which will enhance the learning experience so that students can connect better to what is being taught,” she explained.

Not sidelined

In several schools, art classes are often kept in the sidelines or even done away with in favour of other subjects. “Teachers, instead, should be focusing on how they can effectively integrate art forms students are familiar with and which are being taught in art classes, into their regular subject classes,” she added.

To aid the implementation of art-integrated learning in schools, the CBSE has been conducting workshops for prospective resource persons across cities. Chennai, too, hosted such a workshop recently.

“Across schools, we have tweaked our lesson planning strategy to explore how new concepts can be introduced in classrooms through some form of art,” said Asha Nathan, Principal, Chennai Public School.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:18:16 AM |

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