Rationale: Part Three: Why We Should Teach the Arts
Howard Gardner's theory of the multiple intelligences explains why it is that our classrooms are so diverse in terms of the way children learn and respond to instruction. "It is of the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied human intelligences, and all of the combinations of intelligences. We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences" (Gardner as cited in Armstrong, 2000, p. 1). Gardner suggests that educators cannot effectively teach and successfully reach all of the students in their classrooms if they refuse to pay attention to the multiple intelligences. The intelligences interact in complex ways, yet all students have the capacity to develop all eight intelligences-linguistic, spatial, logical, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic-to a competent level of performance if given "appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction" (Armstrong, 2000, p. 9). The arts offer the best way to appeal to all of the human intelligences.
Integrating arts modalities into the academic curriculum is as important a priority as any issue facing American education. For both the student and the teacher, the arts offer the opportunity to reflect on both content and process, and play an integral role in joining fact and meaning in a person's education.