Fine Arts is described from the Encarta Dictionary as being,”any art form, for example, painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, or engraving, that is considered to have purely aesthetic value” (Encarta, 2004). Although this definition is used in connection with the arts from the normal world, in relation to instruction, good arts is described as a topic beneficial, not necessary, to this learning process and is frequently phased out due to insufficient time, small learning possible, and no cash. Fine arts is only seen as drawing and painting, not a topic studied through an academic scholar. Writer Victoria Jacobs describes,”Arts in elementary schools have often been separated from the core curriculum and instead, offered as enrichment activities that are considered beneficial but not essential” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2).
What’s lacking in classrooms is the lack of teacher understanding of the advantages of keeping a art- based program. Teachers “have very little understanding of the arts as disciplines of study. They think of the arts instruction as teacher-oriented projects used to entertain or teach other disciplines” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 12). Nice arts extend the boundaries of education to the pupils and promote imaginative thinking and a deeper comprehension of the core topics, that are language arts, mathematics, science, and social research. Teachers need to integrate all of genres of fine arts, including, theater, visual art, dancing, and music, into their training plans since the arts provides the pupils motivational tools to uncover a deeper comprehension of their schooling. Educating the arts have become the most effective tool that teachers may present in their own classrooms since this enables the pupils to realize their greatest degree of learning.
From 1977 to 1988 there have been three noteworthy reports demonstrating the benefits of art instruction. These three accounts are Coming to Our Senses, from the Arts, Education and Americans Panal (1977), Can we Rescue the Arts for American Children, sponsored by the American Council for the Arts (1988), and also the very respected research, Toward Civilization, from the National Endowment for the Arts (1988). These 3 studies hypothesized that artwork instruction was crucial in attaining a higher education for our pupils. When these studies demonstrated the arts to be helpful to the learning process, it wasn’t till 2002 when the study analysis of Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development”provided evidence for enhancing learning and achievement as well as positive social outcomes when the arts were integral to students’ learning experiences” was taken seriously by lawmakers (Burns, 2003, p. 5). One study, in this analysis, was focused on the teaching of keyboard training to a classroom in order to see if student’s scores on spatial reasoning could be improved. It was then compared to those students who received computer training which involved no fine art components. This concluded that learning through the arts did improve the scores on other core curriculum subjects such as math and science where spatial reasoning is most used (Swan-Hudkins, 2003).
This study shows how one little change in the way students are taught through the arts can have a powerful impact on their learning achievements and understandings. Another study showed at-risk students who, for one year, participated in an art- based curriculum raised their standardized language arts test by an average of eight percentile points, 16 percentile points if enrolled for two years. Students not engaging in this form of activity did not show a change of percentile (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Though this may not seem like a big increase, at- risk students were able to use this style of learning to better understand their learning style thus bettering their learning patterns. The most interesting case study in this analysis involved the schools of Sampson, North Carolina, where for two years in a row their standardized test scores rose only in the schools that implemented the arts education in their school district (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Teaching the arts needs to be incorporated in every teachers daily lesson plans because, based on these studies, students who are taught through the arts raise their test and learning levels.
Due to the high volume of attention President Bush’s, No Child Left Behind Act, has required in schools, teaching the arts is left behind. Another reason for the lack of arts in the classroom author Victoria Jacobs explains,”Given that the diminishing budgets of school districts across the nation, art experts and art applications have vanished from several elementary schools” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). Fine arts are being seen as non-educational or an extra-curricular activity. Therefore, when there is a lack of money in school districts, this subject is easily being cut. Teachers need to find a way to incorporate the arts into the classroom rather than rely on outside activities and Jacobs suggests teaching”through the arts… using a way of working with the arts efficiently and in a manner it isn’t only”one more thing” they need to include in the program” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4).
The arts can open the minds of students in ways mere reading and writing will never be able to accomplish. Yet, the point of teaching this subject is not to teach about the arts, but to teach through the arts. Jacobs explains,
Teaching though the arts requires students to engage in the act of creative art. For example they might draw a picture, write a poem, act in a drama, or compose music to further their understanding of concepts in content areas other than the arts. Teaching through the arts helps students experience concepts rather than simply discussing or reading them. This approach is consistent with educational theories that highlight the importance of reaching multiple learning styles or intelligences. (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2)
Teaching through the arts can be done in many different ways depending on the teacher’s interests, but truly is the only way to reinforce the students learning experience. In a time where budget cuts and new learning laws are being established, teachers need to be more informed and educated on the negative impacts of the loss of the fine arts programs.
Three, veteran teachers at a public elementary school did a case study which involved teaching through the arts. They believed”our pupils had to undergo cycles of question wherein they heard about the arts and through the arts, which they had to observe instructors of different disciplines collaborate” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 2).
The study was based on teaching a history lesson unit on Freedom and Slavery through the arts. Ms. Bixler-Borgmann had her students listen to the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in many different styles of music, such as an African-American Quartet, Reggae, and Show Tunes. She then incorporated this lesson into the importance singing played to the slaves at that time. Ms. Berghoff had her students read samples of African-American folk literature and write down sentences that made an impact on them while they were reading. She then incorporated those sentences into group poems. Ms. Parr explored two art pieces entitled,”Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and had the students talk about artwork by asking three questions:”What is happening in this film? What do you find that makes you say ? What else could you locate?” (Berghoff, 2003). She also had the students focus on the images, concepts, and meanings which the artists wanted to depict. Ms. Parr felt this would teach the students how to uncover the hidden meanings in other core curriculum subjects (Berghoff, 2003). After the study, the students were asked what and how they had learned from this style of teaching.
Many students wrote in their journals that working in multiple sign systems in parallel ways heightened their emotional involvement. They found themselves thinking about what they were learning in class when they were at home or at work. They noted that even though they had studied slavery at other times, they had never really imagined how it felt to be a slave or thought about the slaves’ struggles and viewpoints. (Berghoff, 2003)
The pupils had learned more in the lesson as they could utilize all types of learning and have been educated from an angle that’s rarely utilized, through the arts. “Studies indicate that a successful arts integrated program will use these components to guide student learning and assess growth and development (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). The students were able to learn based on abstract thinking and find the deeper meaning of the lessons prepared by the teachers.
“The analysis of the arts has the prospect of providing different advantages traditionally associated with artwork….arts was associated with pupils’ increased critical and creative thinking skills, self-esteem, willingness to take risks, and ability to work with others” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). With these advantages, teachers can’t afford to restrict their instruction of the arts in the classroom. Teaching throughout the arts would be the crucial elements of learning and also the traits teachers attempt to establish and fortify in their pupils. By working through the arts, rather than about the arts, the pupils’ educational experience will be achieved in a different way than just teaching the standard style of learning. Former Governor of California, Gray Davis, noted,”Art instruction helps pupils develop imagination, self-expression, analytical abilities, subject, cross-cultural understandings, along with an increased appreciation for the arts” and that”pupils who create artistic expression and creative problem solving abilities are much more like to succeed at college and will be prepared for your jobs and professions of the future” (California Art Study, 2003, p. 1).
Exposing students to abstract learning will teach the students about logic and reasoning and help them grasp what might not be represented on the surface. Recent Reports from the National Art Education Association (NAEA) confirmed with Governor Davis when they reported”Students in artwork research score higher on both the Verbal and Math SAT tests than people that aren’t registered in arts classes (California Art Study, 2003, p. 5). Attached is a copy of the test scores of pupils in the arts and also students with no arts training.
What’s a much better way to boost a lesson program than to bring another dimension of learning by integrating various levels of instruction? A business which has the cornerstone of focusing on various learning styles is Links for Learning, [http://www.links-for-learning.com]. This business understands the value of integrating arts into the classroom. Former Secretary of Education, William Bennet wrote, “The arts are essential elements of education just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…Music, dance, painting, and theater are keys to unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment” (Swann-Hudkins, 2002).
A good illustration of the advantages of teaching the arts could be the analysis of a teacher that educated the water cycle lesson during music and movement. The pupils were introduced into the water cycle in the standard manner of teaching, studying and lecturing. However, in order for the pupils to completely comprehend that the”experience” of being a snowflake, the pupils listened to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (The Waltz of the Snowflakes) and shut their eyes imagining the experience snowflakes experience on there way into the floor. A wonderful side effect of dancing is that”exposure to dances foreign to them (the students) helps them to understand and appreciate differences in societies. Their minds become open to new ideas and a different perspective. This understanding helps to eliminate possible prejudice, enriching the student and our society” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p.17). While the audio was playing with the instructor asked them questions, including,”How are they going to land” and”What do you see as you are falling”. The next time listening to this audio that the pupils were asked to act out the water cycle through dance and movement. Teachers must know”a class that includes dance can make students feel empowered and actively involved in their education. In creating their own dance, students develop conceptional thinking, which is not always expressed verbally” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 17).
With these actions, the pupils could eventually become a part of this water cycle instead of merely using their listening abilities and attempting to mentally determine this particular lesson. The instructor had the students write a poem with words that they believed while they, the snowflakes, were falling into the floor (Jacobs, 1999, p.2). “The motivational powers of the arts are significant as this teacher explained,”Hooking a child is half, or even greater than half, the struggle of learning. If you’re able to hook them, then it’s possible to make them find out” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 6). Teachers need to gain access to all styles of learning which can only spark their motivational powers.
Harvard Project Researchers Winner and Hetland remarks,”The best hope for the arts within our college would be to justify them from what they are able to do this other subjects can not do too” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 18). Teachers need to gain a better education of teaching their students through the arts. Without the arts, teachers are limiting their students’ capacity to use their whole thinking process, providing less opportunity for complete understanding. Educating through the arts have become the most effective instrument that teachers may give within their classrooms since it enables the pupils to realize their greatest degree of learning.
Together with the shortage of focus artwork is getting outside the classroom, teachers can’t afford to not integrate dance, theater, visual arts, or music in their own lesson plans. Fine arts is your core curriculums continuous and many important companion. No child ought to be left behind, and instruction through the arts will probably reinforce this thought.Read More