The importance of art education in schools
Arts play a crucial role in the overall development of students and benefit students by enhancing their ability to achieve. Arts benefits students irrespective of social and cultural distinctions and through the creation of a “learning field” enable them to shed their inhibitions and become a part of the learning community. According to the New Commission on the Skills of the America Workforce (2006), arts will be an important trait in individuals which will benefit them not only personally as well as professional, because the world’s best employers would prefer to hire “competent, most creative, and most innovative” individuals whom they would be most “willing to pay” “top dollar for their services”.
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Research indicates that students’ learning is enhanced when merged with arts, due to the personal, academic, and social benefits achieved by learning arts (Deasy, 2002). The ‘No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) now accords that learning of arts is an essential aspect of learning and education and can be considered as an equal of subjects like reading, mathematics, and science. The act also confirms that arts are now considered as a “core academic subject” that has the potential to contribute substantially to enhanced learning outcomes among students and children (U.S. Department of Education). Art-based learning enhances the ability of students to improve their achievements not only in the academic domain but in their personal and professional life as well. Researchers have conducted several studies and confirm with results, that students with active arts involvements were more likely to perform better in their standardized tests relative to students who were had fewer involvements with arts (Catterall, 2002). Learning of arts learning has been validated through evidence by researchers who assert that students enrolled in art-based activities had a greater likelihood to deliver higher math and verbal SAR scores as compared to the students who have no art activities (Vaughn and Winner, 2000).
Steps to improvement art education in schools
Schools should take several measures for the improvement of arts education. Teachers could begin with using arts to teach subjects so that students’ interest is initiated. Teachers and school management should work collaboratively to ensure that arts are integrated into the school curriculum. Specially trained art teachers should be available to teach students. Organizations and institutions should make more finds available to integrate arts into the school curriculum. Teachers can be given special training so that they can use music and drama to teach regular subjects to students. For instance, songs can be used to teach about the environments or dances could be used to teach about animals, movements, or even about different cultures. Most importantly, schools should organize and arrange for teaching workshops so that they can use music, art, literature, and dance to teach as strategies to teach students and make learning more interesting for them.
Who will pay for arts education?
Funding for arts education can be arranged in several ways. The fund can be arranged from school budgets or can be raised by students and parents. Schools can also arrange for local findings through local education authorities or agencies which support arts education. Fundraising activities for art projects can be arranged from trusts, charities, and foundations through partnerships between schools and arts organizations. Fund-raising could also be arranged through school programs for students and parents. Local authorities can help schools to find arts foundations within an area or region to guide them with fundraising organizations and the support which could be available to them.
Catterall, James S. (2002), “The Arts and the Transfer of Learning.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP.
Catterall, James S. (2002), “Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP.
Center on Education Policy. (2006). From the Capitol to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act (p. xi).
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Deasy, Richard J. (editor) (2002), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP.
Vaughn K. and Winner E., (2000). SAT Scores of Students Who Study the Arts: What We Can and Cannot Conclude about the Association.
2005 College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report, The College Board, 2005, Table 3-3.