Undisciplining Arts Education

Towards Arts Integration


  • Barbara Helen Snook University of Auckland
  • Ralph McKay Buck University of Auckland


arts education, arts integration, teaching and learning, students, learning, teachers


The arts, inclusive of the disciplines of dance, drama, music and visual arts have been included within the formal New Zealand school curriculum for over seventeen years. These disciplines have valuable intrinsic aesthetic and educational value and the rationale for including arts disciplines in formal education is well articulated. (Abbs, 1987; Bamford, 2006; Eisner, 1998). Current research (Buck, 2003; Fraser, Aitken & Whyte, 2013; McDonald & Melchior, 2007; Snook, 2012) reveals however, that the teaching of the arts in New Zealand schools remains sporadic with a government focus on literacy and numeracy. We propose that the arts may be valued for their instrumental roles in enhancing teaching and learning across other disciplines in the New Zealand curriculum. Our research is directed by the question: how can the disciplines of dance, drama, music and visual arts better support teaching and learning in the New Zealand curriculum? This article argues that through an introduction of an arts integration pedagogy into classrooms, teachers and students will achieve learning objectives across the entire curriculum, including the arts.

Author Biographies

Barbara Helen Snook, University of Auckland

Dr. Barbara Helen Snook, Professional Research fellow, Dance Studies, Creative Arts and Indutries, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Ralph McKay Buck, University of Auckland

Associate Professor Ralph Buck, Head of Department, Dance Studies, Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland.