Art in the Classroom

07
Apr
Posted by The Scholar's Choice Team in Teacher, General

Why is art education important? Depending on whom you ask, you'll get a lot of different answers. Some will tell you it's because creative work improves overall achievement and raises test scores. Others will mention the development of 21st century skills and the need to produce a more competitive and innovative workforce. Then there are those who say we should study and practice art for art's sake, that art has an intrinsic value beyond what can be measured by test scores and achievement.

So who is right? They all are, of course.

"When children learn about art, they;re not just learning about line and symmetry or colour and form, " said Joy Evans, publisher and co-founder of Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. "They're learning about creativity, exploration and innovation. They're learning habits of mind that they'll put to use in all academic areas and life itself."

While construction paper, crayons, popsicle sticks and paintbrushes may not seem like the kinds of tools students need to develop critical skills for today's world, it may surprise you how much a student can learn from creating a collage, a piece of pottery or a simple painting of a flower.

According to research, art instruction helps to develop a specialized group of thinking skills that aren't often addressed in other curriculum areas. These skills include visual-spatial abilities, reflection, self-evaluation, originality and experimentation- skills that are becoming more important than ever in today's rapidly changing, technology-based environment.

Craft lessons and activities in a way that encourages genuine thinking and exploration. This will encourage real learning. Integrating art into a lesson, any kind of lesson, is a great way to get students truly absorbed in the skills they're studying. Whether it's solving division facts to complete a colour-by-number picture, using a drawing of a frog to inspire a writing response, or creating a magazine collage to learn about the parts of the body, art projects help to bring energy and excitement to lessons.

"There's so much value in art instruction," explained Joy, "because there's no wrong way to create art. All students, even those who struggle in other areas, can do well and even excel in the arts. It gives them a sense of pride that carries over to other subject areas. That allows them to approach all learning situations with a little more enthusiasm and confidence because they know they have it within them to succeed."

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