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Benefits of Arts Education for K-12 Students | K-12 Schools

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There’s more to your child’s art class than just Crayola marker scribbles hanging off the fridge.

Jamie Kasper, Director of Arts Education Partnerships and former music teacher, said: “It’s about the process of learning.”

Policy makers, school administrators and parents may overlook the importance of arts education, but these programs can be an important part of a child’s school life. Whether practicing lines for a school play or cutting out magazine scraps for a collage, children use art to tap into their creative side and develop communication, fine motor skills, and emotional intelligence. .

“Sometimes people who aren’t in the arts focus on the product without realizing that it’s not the most important part of what we do,” says Kasper.

Arts programs often fall victim to budget cuts, but they can contribute significantly to a student’s overall success in school. Arts education can help children:

  • Reduce stress by attending school.
  • Develop social-emotional and interpersonal skills.
  • enrich the experience.
  • Handle constructive criticism.
  • improve academic performance.
  • Improve concentration.

reduce stress by attending school

Kasper says he often hears from other educators that art programs are one of the main factors motivating children to come to school.

“If they don’t want to go to school, you can’t get them,” she says. “So why not do something that makes them want to go to school? Is that also teaching them these really great skills?”

Michelle Schroeder, president of the New York State Art Teachers Association and high school animation teacher, agrees. She says art allows students to enjoy themselves throughout the day without worrying too much about stressors in other areas. This is also backed up by research. Several studies have shown that the arts, from theater to dance, have therapeutic effects.

“It’s a time when they can have fun and just play with the materials and not actually worry about the test answers,” says Schroeder.

develop social-emotional and interpersonal skills

Experts say attending an arts program, especially one that focuses on more collaborative forms such as drama and music, is a good way for students to hone their communication and social-emotional skills.

Camille Farrington, managing director and senior research associate of the School Research Consortium at the University of Chicago, says that art classes provide students with opportunities to interact with fellow students in constructive and creative ways, helping to improve social and emotional It is a process that promotes positive development. For example, one study published in the Journal of Primary Prevention found that students from low-income schools who participated in after-school dance programs tended to experience improved self-esteem and social skills.

Dennis Grail Brandenburg, arts education specialist and team leader at the National Endowment for the Arts, says building these skills is more important than ever after the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. “Arts education can support students’ social and emotional learning needs,” Brandenberg wrote in an email.

Casper also believes that artistic endeavors, such as drawing and painting, even if solitary, enable students to express and communicate their point of view through the act of perfecting their craft. He says that he can come up with creative ways to

“It teaches the fundamentals of making art…be it musical instruments, the voice, the body in motion, painting, sculpture, etc., so that students can master those skills and use them more effectively. We will be able to communicate,” she said. she says.

enrich the experience

Since its birth, human beings have practiced various arts for self-expression.

“Art greatly improves and enriches the lives of young people,” says Farrington. “It’s a core part of being human, it’s human history and culture.”

School arts programs are particularly important for children in low-income areas, where residents may have less access to arts and cultural resources that can improve their quality of life. Data from four longitudinal studies A National Endowment for the Arts analysis using .

Just as after-school sports programs allow students to learn skills not necessarily taught in the classroom, such as teamwork and self-discipline, Farrington believes the arts offer a wide range of opportunities for growth outside of rigorous academic pursuits. I will give it to my students.

“One thing that is very important for young people of all ages is the opportunity to explore different types of activities,” says Farrington. “Some people are drawn to one thing, some are drawn to another, but if you’ve never experienced it, you can’t.”

deal with constructive criticism

Unlike many other subjects, where there is often only one specific answer to a question, art allows students to come up with an almost endless variety of end products. This means that feedback is a little different when art teachers give feedback, especially for older students.

“Right after they teach something, they ask students to demonstrate that skill in a truly authentic way. It’s different,” says Kasper.

According to Schroeder, art teachers typically provide highly individualized and constructive criticism to their students. This helps students learn how to receive and respond to criticism gracefully, she says, explaining how and why they developed the artwork they did.

“In many of their careers and futures, people will either criticize or suggest improvements, and students need to get used to receiving feedback from others,” she says. So many experiences in art classes give you the opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like to have someone ask you a question, and there’s so much dialogue going on in the classroom.”

improved academic performance

Farrington says that making art for art’s sake should be enough to justify arts programs in schools, but research also shows that arts education leads to better academic performance. increase.

For example, a 2005 study of the impact of a comprehensive arts curriculum in public schools in Columbus, Ohio, found that students enrolled in arts programs performed better on statewide tests in math, science, and citizenship than students in control schools. It turns out that I got a high score. This effect was even greater for students in low-income schools.In the NEA analysis, socially and economically disadvantaged children with adequate arts education had better academic performance, including higher grades and test scores, higher graduation rates, and higher college enrollment rates than children of

Different areas also offer their own specific cognitive benefits. For example, participating in dance has been shown to sharpen spatial awareness in young children, while making music helps develop working memory in students.

improve concentration

In addition to the specific benefits of individual art practices, Kasper says art, in general, is a good way for students to learn impulse control.

Intuitively, it makes sense that the act of concentrating on perfecting a skill helps individuals develop the ability to focus on other things. It has also been shown to help sharpen your ability to pay more attention and practice self-control. In 2009, researchers at the Dana Foundation, which funds neuroscience research and programming, hypothesized, based on multiple studies, that art training stimulates and enhances the brain’s attention system.

“I think it’s something we forget that children have to learn,” says Kasper.