Imagine, children studying in a school in Himachal Pradesh creating a film on Kathakali, one of the traditional dance forms of Kerala and learn about different subjects like history, mathematics, and so on. Similarly, children in schools of Kerala learning the Kangra Miniature Paintings, traditional art form of Himachal Pradesh. If you think this is a far-fetched dream, then you would be wrong. This is the current reality in our schools across India.
Art-Integrated Learning (AIL) has become an essential part of the school curriculum and pedagogical processes from academic year 2020-21. Quoting the Draft National Policy of Education 2019, “Art-Integration is a cross-curricular pedagogical approach that utilizes various aspects and forms of art and culture as the basis for experiencing the learning of concepts across subjects. As a part of the thrust on experiential learning, art-integrated education will be embedded in classroom transactions not only for creating joyful classrooms, but also for imbibing the Indian ethos through integration of Indian art and culture in the teaching and learning process at every level. This art-integrated approach will strengthen the linkages between education and culture”.1
Under this initiative, all states of India have been paired up for promoting learning about the other’s art and culture. Students of classes I-X have to mandatorily do at least one project in a year on the art form of the paired state. Students of classes IX and X have to take up an art-integrated group project as a subject enrichment activity in all the subjects for internal assessment. Students of classes I – VIII also have to work on art-integrated projects which should be trans-disciplinary in nature.
Art-Integrated Learning is different from art education. While the latter falls under the co-scholastic area, the aim of AIL is to use art as a tool or medium to learn about different subjects. Experiencing the beauty of arts and indulging in simple art-based activities makes learning joyful and also promotes competency-based education. Through exploration of different art forms, both visual and performing, children will also learn about the vast and diverse culture of our country. AIL makes attainment of learning outcomes a simple, meaningful and a joyful process which in turn enables students to come up with their wonderful and beautiful creative expressions.