Integrating the Arts to Facilitate Culture and Second Language Acquisition
An International Perspective
Multiculturalism and the diffusion between cultures has been a constant phenomenon due to immigration and migration of people from all around the world. When people immigrate or migrate to a new place, they face new cultural and linguistic challenges. The individual has to go through two processes: assimilation and acculturation. An individual can successfully go through these processes with much support. For this reason, educators from the USA, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, Finland and Brazil have come together in an educational forum to disseminate new and innovative ideas of how to facilitate a teaching and learning process that supports the acquisition of language and culture.
The arts as a core content area are integral to a well-rounded education. The arts have a profound ability to enrich the lives they touch and can be an invaluable tool for teachers at all levels to enhance instruction for second language learners. For example, second language learners (SLLs) in the United States enter the public school facing the multiple challenges of learning English, mastering academic content, bridging distances between the home country and their new home, and negotiating new cultural and social contexts. By integrating the arts and art making into English language teaching and learning, students will develop and deepen their understanding of their own and others’ human experience. In combination with reading, writing, speaking and listening, the arts can open doors for high levels of analysis and challenge students to explore themselves and their surroundings, and thus find avenues for sophisticated comprehension and communication. The arts convey what it means to be human, challenge the intellect and provide rich experiences in analysis, exploration, reflection, observation, imagination, experimentation, and communication as well as their social behavior.
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