There is always a misconception about the place of art in education. Particularly so in favour of testing and preparation for examinations in the curriculum.
However, it has been proven that art is a central way for students to get in touch with their creativity and develop their curiosity. Hence, this prepares them for higher education and career progression when they are in adulthood.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had previously done a study on the correlation between arts education and academic development. They concluded that "students who participate in a large number of art courses have higher educational achievement (as measured by grades in school and scores on verbal and mathematical standardised tests) than those who take fewer or no arts courses" (OECD, 2013).
They are not the only ones to tout this. Plenty of research institutions and education leaders have endorsed arts education as a means to develop critical thinking and creativity. This makes art an essential and necessary part of a well-rounded education plan.
That is why ESF Sports & Language integrate art education into all our language programmes. From English to Spanish language studies, drama programmes, and more, art is an integral part of our curriculum.
Let's take a look at five major ways in which art enhances education.
The Arts allow children to express themselves in fascinating and unexpected ways. This is a great way to train their minds to think outside the box.
With art education, children are exposed to a multifaceted methodology to approaching any subject. They are encouraged to learn to combine seemingly unrelated topics and produce their own original content.
If children are practising creative thinking from a young age and all the way to their Secondary education, it will come much more easily to them in adulthood, giving them a competitive edge, and making them relevant in facing the careers of the future.
2. Motor Skills
For early learners up to Kindergarten grade, students who are actively engaged in art and music education have more developed motor skills.
This applies to simple things like playing with building blocks (to enrich their architectural structure understanding), holding a paintbrush or scribbling to encourage them to love writing and written expression, all these artistic elements contribute to a young child's early motor skills development.
When children get satisfaction and confidence in expressing themselves through action, they are more likely to continue pursuing an interest in those areas.
The arts strengthen problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It challenges young ones to step outside their comfort zone, pursue daring ideas, and express them to their peers.
Arts education encourages students to constantly ask how they might express their emotions through a creative avenue and how they might communicate their artistic ideas in unconventional ways.
In the pursuit of these creative answers, they are enhancing their ability to make decisions more confidently, to find solutions to challenging questions that they will no doubt face in adulthood.
As students persevere through painting or learning an instrument, they have to focus quite hard on developing these new skills. This encourages them to develop a habit of focusing on whatever it is that they are pursuing in life.
And certainly, the ability to focus on tasks at hand is vital for studying and learning in class, as well as for the future when they become part of the workforce.
A facet of many art programmes involves collaborative work.
For instance, joining a choir or orchestra or play requires teamwork. Students must work together to complete their project, or song, or theatre performance. They must share the responsibility and compromise to achieve their objectives.
Students in arts education will learn that their contribution to the whole is integral to its success - a principle they will take with them through any academic or professional pursuit.
By Iva Liu
Martin, L. 2014. 10 Reasons Why Arts in Education Is So Important For Kids. Learning Lift-Off.
Winner, E., Goldstein, and S. Vincent-Lancrin. 2013. Art for Art's Sake? The Impact of Arts Education. Educational Research and Innovation. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD Publishing.