The Power of Creative Arts in Online Instruction

In a time of immense uncertainty, worry, and fear, we can all lean into the long lasting power of the Creative Arts as many of us transition from face-to-face to online learning. The power of learning through the arts is associated with a deeper understanding of concepts through multi-layered dimensional learning.

Visual Art, Music, Dance, and Drama have preserved our histories, cultures, and stories throughout the ages. In addition to preservation of our ancestral roots, the Arts have allowed us to connect to a deeper sense of understanding regarding community and self. 

Have you all seen the recent viral video of hundreds of Italians singing from their apartment windows in various melodies creating a sense of calmness through music during social isolation? The power of the Arts for much of history has allowed communities to come together and create a cohesion that can be felt in a deeper level. When we create with our mind, body, and heart we are able to learn with multiple senses feeling of a sense of connectivity and belonging. 

The Creative Arts have allowed healing and catharsis in times of extreme stress and worry. Since we have all been catapulted into taking much of the human contact out of our teaching equation, how about adding Art Modalities into your virtual classes for the next few weeks to allow your students to have a sense of human connection during a time of social distancing?

Here are a few ways you can add various creative arts modalities into your current online instruction to add variety to your lessons:

  • Evaluate a concept and apply knowledge taught by asking your student to create a picture by sketching, drawing, collaging, or painting. Ask the student to convey without words their interpretation of the concept being taught. 
  • Analyze a historical figure by asking your students to create a playlist for that character. Have them explain why they chose the songs for the individual to support their reasons. 
  • Apply a current concept by having students record themselves and  “reteach” the concept through role-play to a particular audience.
  • Create a unit where the student becomes the expert over a particular concept. Allow them to reinforce their own learning by blogging, animating, podcasting, filming, or role playing the lesson.
  • Engage and honor your students that are parents and students during this stressful time. Ask them to involve their children in a lesson. Have them create a puppet show with their kids teaching a concept.

During this time when our pedagogical practices are challenged, stretched, and perhaps even forcefully tested, we can take this transition in stride.  We can learn new skills and practices that will allow our lessons to have a deeper sense of involvement, engagement, and depth. Good luck during this time of transition and engagement.

Jemmie Godwin has worked for VSCC for 12 years as an adjunct in the department of Humanities. She has a M.A. in Drama Therapy/Speech Communication and a M.A.T. She is an Arts Integration Advocate for students’ of all ages. Please email her with any questions:  jemmie.godwin@gmail.com.

illustration of cat painting a wall