It feels like our contemporary education is isolating itself from art. With examinations taking a more prominent position and fiercer competition among students, the resources in traditional schools inevitably pivot towards how to tackle tests, while subjects like art and sports are in turn getting less of a focus in the curriculum. With tutorial centres scattering across the city, standardization become the forefront of our education system, and art, a polar opposite to such an idea, is fading to the background.
While it is difficult to argue for art studies within such a utilitarian context of education, let us examine this idea of utility in art. Is there something that art could add to our current concept of effective education? Let’s investigate the function of art on a more outcome-based approach.
Creativity is the core of all artistic endeavours and at the same time an essential skill for students to navigate through their lives. Art studies encourage students to be creative and use their imagination as much as possible. As this increased emphasis on creativity happens, children cherish new ways of thinking about the world in general. Students are often asked to “think outside the box” artistically, but this is also applicable to problem-solving and innovations that are happening outside of the class. Developed creativity can be carried on into their future lives, where they face bigger challenges in their lives.
In our complex world filled with unfiltered information, there is nothing more important than being critical when approaching new ideas, and there is proof that art could help in that. In particular, art education teaches students to observe the world more closely. Art is often complex and layered with multiple elements and meanings. It requires students to investigate the underlying messages in order to accurately interpret art pieces. This process teaches students to observe and analyze the world around them more closely —skills that make up the bedrock of critical thinking.
Self Confidence and Better Behaviors
Creating is difficult. Whether it is writing, composing or painting, it requires a persistent effort in order to complete the project, and the feeling of accomplishment and pride is unmatched by any other tasks out there. Through these routines, it builds confidence, perseverance and a good work ethic in children.
Apart from a self-developmental point of view, there is also evidence showing the interpersonal benefits that art studies could bring. A meta-analysis by the Arts Education Partnership revealed that drama courses in particular helped students develop an improved understanding of social relationships and complex emotional issues. Students in dance courses were found to demonstrate a greater capacity for positive self-expression, social tolerance, and self-confidence. A 2010 study in the States also found an inverse relationship between studying the arts and disciplinary infractions. In school districts in which there was a higher percentage of students enrolled in art classes, there were fewer reported behavioural incidents.
Bringing Art Back
There are many more points that could be said about the benefits of art, but the idea is clear. Art is an essential part of a child’s healthy development and it is helpful to understand the importance of incorporating artistic studies back into our education curriculum. Even though schools might not be actively providing such opportunities, it might not be a bad idea to engage with art in activities outside the classrooms.
By Raphael Ha
Bowen, D. H., Greene, J. P., & Kisida, B. (2014). Learning to Think Critically. Educational Researcher, 43(1), 37–44. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x13512675
Chen, G. (2020, December 30). How the Arts Benefit Your Children Academically and Behaviorally | PublicSchoolReview.com. Public School Review. https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-the-arts-benefit-your-children-academically-and-behaviorally
Swapp, N. (2016, October 4). Creativity and Academics: The Power of an Arts Education. Edutopia. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/creativity-academics-power-of-arts-education-neil-swapp
Turbide, A. (2021, September 28). Why Art Programs are Beneficial to Students - Anne-Frédérique Turbide. Medium. https://email@example.com/why-art-programs-are-beneficial-to-students-3bbcbdfd9f8f