After years of touting the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ) educational programs, many teachers are discovering that by adding an “A” –for ART– student learning will pick up STEAM! This latest understanding of how students learn is changing science education by adding Art education back into the mix. This integrated education approach is developing a proven track record and being incorporated into public, private and homeschool education.
At its inception, the STEM bill authorized over 150 million to help students earn a bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials. It also provided millions in additional money to help align kindergarten through grade 12 math and science curricula to better prepare students for college.
Now years later, people are asking questions like: Why are math and science viewed as standalone modalities? Why have so many schools dropped Arts education from their curriculum?
For too long, we have wrongly believed that Science and Art education were separate disciplines that demanded different teaching methods. However, now we know that Science and Art, as well as Math and Music are intrinsically related!
Educational researchers are recognizing that it is important to integrate all modalities into STEM lessons. By broadly using an integrated education curriculum, students are able to see how science education is important to aspects of everyday life. Integrated education also affords the opportunity for real-world application of the math and science education knowledge.
The use of Art as the glue that bonds these modalities shows students how form and function are guiding principles. Art is not merely illustrative or decorative, but represents an essential part of the process of inquiry, such as problem finding, problem solving, and communication.
The fervor that propels people to excel at mathematics and science education or engineering and art education are driven by the same desire: the desire to discover the intricacies and beauty in one’s world and chosen work. Furthermore, Art is also integrated into technologies such as engineering in the “form and function” debate. Does form follow function or does function follow form? Either way the two are fundamentally linked. Cars are a perfect example: From the Model-T Ford to the latest concept car, we have seen that the evolution of technology is as much about aesthetics (form) of the product as it is about functionality.
Many of the fundamental concepts of form and function are the same. Line, shape, color, structure/function relationships as well as perspective, patterning, and sequencing are the language of art and science education. Students create “an artistic representation of their ideas and solutions is a valuable way to make learning personal. This allows for a clear understanding of the underpinnings of science principles and how these principles can be extrapolated to solve existing problems. It has been proven that students who previously had difficulty in STEM classes are picking up STEAM quickly!.
There are various youth who are graduates from a pool of educational levels who due to their poor performances in the junior, senior and tertiary institutions are staying at home aimlessly. These youngsters receive the displeasure of parents, friends and other family members because of their ill performances in their examinations. Most of them are rejected in the society, mocked at and even insulted. Some parents even decide not to fend for these youngsters because they are beefed that they have thrown their financial resources in the drain. Should these youths be allowed to waste away in the community? Certainly not! These young ones can be taken through visual art education which is the best education sector for teaching practical skills in art of which they can set up their enterprises on their own.
Art education offers array of training in various fields such as Sculpting, Picture making, Graphic designing, Textile designing, Fashion designing and production, Ceramic production, Pottery production, Basketry and Cane fabrication, Leatherwork productions and a lot more. Training in these facets of art education will pave a way for skill and even talent development of these rejected youth largely as a result of poor academic performances. These learners are taken through various drawing lessons that serve as a foundation for specialization into various aspects of visual art education.
Educational trips and industrial attachments in existing art industries and small-scale enterprises by some successful learners which is part of the art curriculum help learners to experience how they can work with their acquired skills in the job market and practical ways of establishing or setting up enterprise even cottage ones in their own apartments. This great exposure is a source of inspiration for these learners.
One wonderful hallmark of visual art education is its less theoretical component and great emphasis to practical lessons. This caters for the theory-academically dull students who are however serious and hardworking. These students through numerous encouragements are able to pave their own creative paths in various parts of visual art education.
Learners are also required to hold end of term exhibitions where they display their artistic productions in classrooms for the entire student body, parents, friends and visitors to view, appreciate, criticize and even buy some of their products. No wonder majority of them are able to have a pool of customers interested in their line of creativity even before completing the programme. Managers of artistic firms even lease with teachers and hand pick excellent students for employment after their education.
Indeed, visual art education offers great opportunities of which the rejected youth in the community can tap for their skill development and future job survival. Parents who are saddened with the weak performances of their wards in other subject areas and as a result are giving up on them must enroll them in visual art education to help them gain practical, workable skills. The government and other private organizations must provide needed funding and resources to the art departments and institutions in the country for practical demonstrations and exercises. This will in a long way assist serious but needy students to equally partake in the practical lessons that usually demand the purchase of tools and materials.
It is an established fact, with numerous evidences that visual art education is indeed the surest home for the rejected youth in the community.
The rejected youth in the community who are disdained because of their weak academic outcomes can be developed in skills acquisition in the visual arts. This would make them useful citizens.
In these days of budget cuts and limited resources, it’s often the case that fine arts classes are the first to be cut. This is unfortunate, since a well-rounded education must include the arts. Studying the arts, whether in the academic study of art appreciation, or learning how to actually do art, is crucial to teach young people how to think creatively and independently. Some studies have shown that students that participate in a strong art education program demonstrate higher performance in other academic areas. Expert conjecture this is due to the fact that when people do art, they exercise the right hemisphere of the brain, where higher reasoning functioning occurs.
Art education is an area of learning based upon the visual, tangible arts, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in jewelry, pottery, weaving, and fabrics. These days, it includes photography, video, film, design, and computer art.
The first art schools were mentioned by Plato in 400 B.C. Art was taught in Europe through the Method system for centuries. Artists, like most guilds, took on apprentices who learned their trade. During the Renaissance, more formal training took place in art studios. Design was emphasized more than the fine arts, so schools of design were founded throughout Europe during the 18th century. In modern times, art education takes place across the generations in community-based institutions and organizations like museums, local arts agencies, recreation centers, places of worship, social service agencies, prisons, and schools.
There are thousands of art education curricular models, or ways to teach art appreciation and how to do art. Some experts insist that drawing is the basis of all Western art education, at least since the Renaissance. Once you teach someone how to draw, they say, you can teach them all other forms of art because drawing is an empirical activity that involves seeing, interpreting, and discovering the appropriate marks to reproduce an observed phenomena.
Many state that an important part of a well-rounded education is at least a basic understanding of art history, including the numerous movements in art throughout the ages. A good understanding of art history, however, includes more than memorizing artists, their works, and when they were created. It involves an understanding of the trends in the art world. Even artists should have a good comprehension of the history of art, if they are to find out how they wish to express themselves to the world.
A good artist needs both an in-depth education in the history and appreciation of art and lots of studio time. Most art schools devote thirty percent of their coursework to academic fields of study, like art appreciation and art history. How can you develop your artistic vision if you don’t know what’s gone before?
It has been said, “We stand on the shoulders of giants.” This is especially true in the art world. You need to be able to answer when someone asks who your influences are. What does it mean to be a post-modern painter, for example? Or an abstract impressionist? Only a well-rounded education in the arts will help you answer those questions, and how they apply to you and your work.
Visual art education is one of the vibrant and resourceful aspects of general education that ensures skills development. This form of education grooms young students in the senior high school level with strong entrepreneurial drives to set up their own small-scale industries. This assists them greatly in performing their civic responsibilities which is also quintessential in the development of the nation. After all, it helps these youngsters in producing useful and marketable products that are used in carrying out everyday life activities. It helps them in fending for themselves, their families and even employing some other youth. This form of skill development prevents the youth from engaging in gross social vices that hinders national development like armed robbery, rape, and the like. This youngster no more become a burden to the society and does not add up to the pile of unemployed youth already in the burden sack of the ruling government.
This notwithstanding, if care is not taken, the primary goal of this aspect of education which is to train and equip students with useful skills for personal and national development would lose its grip. Skills development comes naturally to talented students as well as students who do not have any artistic gift but are hardworking, well disposed, and positive minded to succeed in their chosen art profession.
However, it is very sad to admit that most parents and some heads of second cycle institutions based on their own discretion and judgment blindly push most students who are not mentally disposed to read the art programme to the visual art department.
A critical survey of the academic performances of these students revealed that they are mostly below average students and/or poor students who performed abysmally in the Basic Education Certificate Examination for Junior High School students. They feel that these students are not very good academically or theoretically and as such blindly push them to pursue the art programme without their consent, conviction and approval. Most of these students stubbornly refuse to coy themselves in their new professional environment and thus ends up performing woefully in the visual art education offered them.
This challenge has been a huge canker and burden to the visual art tutors in most senior high schools who are just at the receiving end to transform these students to sing the tunes of visual arts whether they concur or not. It is even sad to know that most of these students who are blindly pushed hardly turn out for classes or engage in practical lessons given them. Due to the unwillingness on their part to adjust to their new professional environment, they end up been truants or half-baked in their training, defeating the principal goal of the visual art education.
This attitude on the part of parents and heads of institutions must cease. They have to realize that visual art education is a prideful, innovative and respected form of education that must be accorded with the same accolades like its counterparts like Science or Business education. As such, serious and willful students who would want to pursue the programme must be allowed to read it as it is done in other subject areas’ education.
Another remedy is not silencing the students whom parents and heads of institutions want to pursue the visual art education. They can be coached, helped and heard in lengthy, flexible discussions to gradually assimilate their needs, goals and aspirations. This must be done in conjunction with visual art experts and visual art tutors who can even be called upon to give orientation sessions to buttress the prospects and essentials of visual art education to these students before they are allowed individually to decide whether to pursue the programme or not.
If these measures are taken, it will help in maximizing expected learning outcomes of visual art education. It will also help raise the image of visual art education which is rubbed in the mud, labeled as the preserve of the dull and academically deficient students. In fact, this form of education has been pursued by academically vibrant and giant students who perform even better in general courses or subjects read by all students. Visual art education must be seen as a lucrative profession as it is truly. It must not be seen as the den of truants or unfit theoretical robots. This can be averted if the blind push of students to pursue this innovative form of education ceases while opening a new chapter for the enrolment of willing, hardworking, and academically serious students.
Art education for children had all but disappeared from most American schools. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, some well-intentioned (albeit misguided) and others simply unfortunate. Despite the waning exposure kids have to the arts at school, science continues to demonstrate the many benefits of arts-based learning beginning at a young age. If the future of education continues to deprive children of exposure to the arts, it is up to parents and caregivers to advocate for arts education while finding alternative ways to provide it.
The Changing Face of American Education
Several key developments in American education have nearly stripped art-related education out of schools. The most common reason cited is funding. A focus on standards has also been instrumental in reducing educational focus on the arts due to schools competing for high marks on testing. As the economy slowly recovers from the economic turmoil of the last decade, schools in many states have begun to rebound from a funding perspective. However, rather than restore arts programs, states and school districts are placed an emphasis on beefing up STEM programs, rather than art-related learning initiatives.
Types of Art Education and Their Benefits
Creativity and innovation, both traits highly valued by employers, are developed through arts-related learning. Creativity gives rise to critical thinking, engagement and problem-solving. At every stage of a child’s life, from early childhood through college, art-related exposure and learning has been shown to greatly improve physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. In addition to these proven benefits, arts-related education increases confidence in children as well as focus, perseverance and non-verbal communication. Children learn to better handle constructive feedback and to collaborate with others. Finally, the arts improve a child’s dedication, self-discipline and accountability. Each of these skill sets directly influences a child’s academic success as well. The research reflects a strong correlation between arts education and academic achievement.
The Push to Keep Children Balanced
Educational experts provide clear recommendations for an educational approach that incorporates the arts. The research leaves little doubt that kids need arts education as a part of a comprehensive and well-rounded education, and to guarantee their future success in life. Parents, caregivers and other family members can help by advocating for more art education programs in your school district. Meanwhile, experts advise not waiting for school programs to expose your kids to the arts. Dance, music, theater and the visual arts are all of equal importance and kids should be introduced to all four in early childhood.
Private teachers can provide beneficial learning opportunities however the research is clear that kids derive significantly greater benefit from group classes, lessons and programs. If your community has a children’s arts academy, enroll your kids as early as possible. There is no fear of starting them too early and professional arts educators can tailor classes specifically to a particular age group. Students with that level of involvement were four times more likely to participate in a science or math fair, win an award for writing an essay, or be recognized for academic achievement. Parents are always on the lookout for ways to help their children get ahead. Nothing is more influential and fun than arts-related education.