The Effects Of Arts Education On Children's Learning And Development

Submitted By Fadams1
Words: 1344
Pages: 6

The arts are most commonly known as a hobby, an interest or simply as a recreational occupation that has been enjoyed by all people through history. From the earliest cave painting to the most cutting edge digital media, people have expressed their creativity and documented their culture through the art. In a world, where the majority of the educational systems are based on preparing youth for a future work force, education emphasizes the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and as assumed, the arts are neglected.
According to Watts, “In a time of economic instability resources are strictly distributed and the arts are ever so often first to get cut. Yet, research on the effects of arts education on children’s learning and development show significant positive outcomes on children exposed to arts programs with teacher supervision compared to children not exposed to arts education.” (Watts, p.189) Research has shown that students who were exposed to arts demonstrate more success in school, develop greater social, emotional, and cognitive skills and are more likely to earn higher degrees of education later in life than those students who haven’t been exposed to the arts.
After visiting Mike Klonsky’s house on November 21, 2014 and hearing Jose Vilson speak in regards to arts and integration within math, I have an argument to advocate for arts education. Visual arts (as well as other arts) are an excellent discipline to build and utilize critical thinking skills. I don't think we often give credit to the deep conceptual and interpretational thinking that goes into the creation of a piece of art, and this is often because art is treated as something separate from the core content areas. School does not need to be this way. In fact, I have recently seen two excellent ways that art can be used to wrestle with rigorous content from the core while allowing for creativity and expression.
It was in April 1983, that the National Commission on Excellence in Education, which was formed by the former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell, who released the report, entitled A Nation at Risk. The most famous line of this publicized report declared that: "the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people" (U.S. Department of Education, 1983). In response to the report school reform efforts focused on academic content at the expense of “extras”, such as arts education.
There are three main topics that are considered the “core” subjects to teach students. They include math, writing, and reading comprehension. These areas are considered to be the tools for scholastic achievement. It is because the school systems put so much emphasis on these areas of academic study, that there is no attention to other major areas of academics, mainly the arts.
The importance of teaching the arts to students has been viewed as less essential than to teach other core studies. Schools are constantly attempting to maintain federal standards so that they may continue to receive government funding and to ensure that the students receive an education. These standards unfortunately, focus mainly on the subjects English and Math and are extremely emphasized during standardized testing. If the school can improve student achievement within these areas, they do not lose federal funding. Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times states, “In a time when President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” policy emphasizes test results, the arts do not easily lend themselves to quantifiable measurements.” According to, Scholastics, “an integrative approach to teaching, for example, connects visualization with reading comprehension, contextualizes math, or brings an experiential context to the science or social studies classroom.” Integrating the arts into learning can assist students in understanding and applying skills to standardized exams. The theory