Can Art Integration Transform Social Studies for English Language Learners?
This paper explores the potential outcomes and benefits for English Language Learners in secondary social studies classrooms with the integration of art as part of instruction. It discusses the needs and characteristics of the ELL population that continues to grow in America and analyzes how these needs might differ in a content area classroom like social studies. Expectations, disciplinary literacy, and academic vocabulary in social studies classes is examined and then reexamined with the integration of art in order to explore how this changes both the curriculum and assessment in social studies. Then these changes are evaluated on how they can lead to improved disciplinary literacy, knowledge, and skills for English Language Learners. Authentic tasks and conversations are included in the discussion of how art integration changes the types of instruction and assessment that would occur in these classrooms and how these types of activities would address the needs of ELLs of all levels in social studies classrooms and even in other content areas such as science as well. Implications extend beyond the social studies classroom as practice with these higher order and more refined thinking skills are important in other content areas, college, and careers.