Learning in and learning through the arts
Amongst the various themes that have emerged in this book, two are particularly relevant
to this chapter: inclusive/separatist conceptions of art and extrinsic/intrinsic justifications.
In a chapter published in The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning I made
the case that these dichotomies can be associated with concepts of learning in and learning
through the arts, and that this connection provides a valuable link between theory and
practice (Fleming, 2011b). At its simplest, learning through, as the preposition suggests,
looks beyond the art form itself to outcomes that are extrinsic, and often takes place when
the arts are employed across the curriculum to further learning in other subjects, e.g. the
use of visual art to teach reading, the use of drama to teach history, the use of dance to
teach religious education. Learning in the arts more often refers to learning within the
subject or discipline itself, learning that pertains to the particular art form. However, the
distinction is not just a matter of curriculum organisation but may also extend to how
aims are defined within the art subject itself.