The Innovative Curriculum Design Team
Inspired by Art as Inquiry
Late last August, ten seasoned teachers from across the Columbus City School District joined together in a small conference room within OSU’s School of Teaching and Learning. In that meeting, they were introduced to the concept of an “inquiry group” and then tasked by OSU and CCS with becoming one. They were designated, “The Innovative Curriculum Design Team”, or just simply, “The ICDT”.
Guided by the Granville Studio of Visual Arts, the ICDT teachers focused on expanding the boundaries of their own professional practices through integrating art into their content areas. It was hoped that the teachers’ explorations would serve as a model for how innovative curricula can be developed and implemented in urban schools.
Before they could begin to create integrated lessons, however, the team had to think deeply about what exactly art really is. Moving beyond the superficial “add-on” quality that can too easily characterize arts integration efforts, the ICDT aimed for true interdisciplinarity. Achieving this required that the teachers develop their own deep understandings of the artistic process—the kind of understandings that come from lived experience. This was a daunting challenge in and of itself, as many of the team members—all outstanding teachers of math, science and foreign language—had little formal training in the arts.
After months of critically analyzing visual culture and collaboratively experimenting with art-based materials, techniques and pedagogies, these courageous teachers each produced arts-integrated curricular units for their content areas. Then, together with GSVA artist-teachers, they implemented the units in their classrooms.
The resulting student and teacher work you see here bears witness to the year-long creative journey. The simple elegance of the installations belies the complexity of the student and teacher ideas they contain. These innovations came from deep and meaningful engagement with the arts when we all learn through them, across the curriculum, within and beyond the classroom walls.
The ICDT would like to extend a special thanks OSU’s Dr. Laurie Katz and Dr. Mindi Rhoades for their invaluable guidance. Thank you also to LaShaun Carter CCS’s ASPIRE Project Director, and Audra Slocom, OSU’s Project Director, for entrusting us with this great endeavor and for affording us the time and space to grow our creative ideas.
More about Arts Integration Collaboration at GSVA.