The values are many, but the commitment these day seems so large – most importantly time away from areas in the curriculum which will be tested. I understand. I live this each day in my own classroom, but it is a calling to which we must find the courage – to infuse our students with art – all of it – in order to develop a society of well rounded, fully capable individuals and team players.
Let’s ponder for a moment the hidden curriculum found in arts and arts education:
Determination, value of practice, cooperation, communication, independent work, stick-to-itiveness, sense of self, pride, sense of community, culture
This is not a new platform – that of the hidden values of education, but one that does seem to be brushed aside. They get that from athletics, in school, at home. But in the arts the experiences are real too and cannot be substituted. They are their own experience and who are we to deny that from our children.
These are all skills that our students will need to succeed when they enter the workplace. The arts also provide an opportunity for us to become well-rounded individuals. As educators our sole purpose shouldn’t be to just produce graduates who score high on tests. We should strive to help students become leaders, who can think for themselves, who work well with others, who pursue their passions, are confident, etc. The arts can help develop these qualities in a student which will allow them to be successful long after they leave us.
“Determination, value of practice, cooperation, communication, independent work, stick-to-itiveness, sense of self, pride, sense of community, culture”, these are not only found in sports but also in the arts as you stated above. I remember the first time a group of us in high school made a sign for the football team to run through when returning to the field at half-time. What a sense of community it built for our school and the team. We not only felt pride in our work but also learned about design, size, color, and wind factor (we actually took a pen and had to put holes in our 12 foot tepee design so the wind would not carry us away when we were holding it up waiting for the team to run through. This is a memory that is dear to my heart and collaboration made it a success. We used everyone’s strength and it was wonderful.