Harvard Educational Review
  1. Arts and Learning

    An Integrated Approach to Teaching and Learning in Multicultural and Multilingual Settings

    By Merryl Goldberg

    New York: Longman, 1997. 201 pp. $30.00

    The relationship between the arts and education in the United States has long been tenuous and controversial. There are those who believe that the arts play a vital role in the education of young people. Others believe that the arts are extras, secondary to the “basics” that students must be taught. Educational policy and financing within the United States tend to reflect the views of the latter. Where the arts are given a place in schools, they are often taught as separate subjects and are relegated to a low slot on the priority hierarchy; when budgets must be cut, the arts are usually the casualties.

    Merryl Goldberg, by the title of her book, Arts and Learning: An Integrated Approach to Teaching and Learning in Multicultural and Multilingual Settings, makes clear where she stands in terms of the relationship between the arts and education. Goldberg accords equal weight — in her title and in her book — to the arts and to learning, bringing the two together in a way that makes them compatible, congruous, and healthfully codependent in a multitude of educational environments. As a professional musician, an elementary and middle school music educator, and now a university professor exploring the evolving relationship between the arts and learning, Goldberg, who comes from a family of artists, brings both personal and professional expertise to her work.

    Arts and Learning is an excellent introduction to the field of arts and education, particularly for teachers who want to make the arts — drama, dance, music, visual arts, and poetry, for example — a part of teaching and learning in their classrooms. First, Goldberg sets a framework for understanding the relationship between arts and learning, making a distinction among three different manifestations of this relationship: “learning about the arts” (i.e., the arts are taught as subjects separate and apart from the other academic subjects), “learning with the arts” (e.g., students study the songs of a particular time to learn about that period in history), and “learning through the arts,” in which students use art forms to both communicate and deepen what they know about a particular content area. In succeeding chapters, Goldberg explores specifically how learning can take place with and through the arts in various subject areas: literacy, history and social studies, geography, science, and math. The final chapter focuses on ways that teachers can connect with and develop the arts in their local communities.

    At the end of each chapter, Goldberg provides several “Questions to Ponder,” pushing the reader to think more deeply about the ideas in the chapter, and a few “Explorations to Try,” activities intended to help the reader clarify and actively expand on the key concepts in the chapter. Through these questions and activities, Goldberg models the ways that teachers might use the ideas in this book with their students. This format also allows teachers and teacher educators to use the book as a text for a course on arts and education.

    Teachers across the country who integrate arts and learning in their classrooms continually provide testimony to the importance of the arts in the teaching and learning process. Unfortunately, policy and funding have not kept pace with the experiences of teachers and students. As a result, most teachers are not trained to use the arts in their classrooms. Merryl Goldberg’s Arts and Learning provides a strong foundation for teachers who want to make the arts an integral aspect of their teaching and learning.



Tribal Sovereigns
Reframing Research in American Indian Education
K. Tsianina Lomawaima
Symposium: "Habits of Thought and Work"
The Disciplines and Qualitative Research
Reba N. Page, George Spindler, Lorie Hammond, Shirley Brice Heath, Mary Haywood Metz, Annie G. Rogers, and Magdalene Lampert

Book Notes

Imagining to Learn
By Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Brian Edmiston

New Perspectives on the Holocaust
Edited by Rochelle L. Millen, with Timothy A. Bennett, Jack D. Mann, Joseph E. O’Connor, and Robert P. Welker

Natives and Academics Researching and Writing about American Indians
Edited by Devon A. Mihesuah

The Struggle of Latino/Latina University Students
By Felix M. Padilla

Inside a Head Start Center
By Deborah Ceglowski

Students as Researchers
Edited by Shirley R. Steinberg and Joe L. Kincheloe

Arts and Learning
By Merryl Goldberg

A Passion for Teaching
Edited by Sarah Levine

The House of Joshua
By Mindy Thompson Fullilove

Charter Schools
By Seymour B. Sarason

Many Faces of Mexico
By Octavio Ruiz, Amy Sanders, and Meredith Sommers

Debatable Diversity
By Raymond V. Padilla and Miguel Montiel