“If we demand quick results, the arts will not supply them.” -Eric Jenson page 1 of Arts with the Brain in Mind.
But that’s ok!
I believe I have made mention to this before. But as I read what Jenson says, I just can’t resist the urge to reflect more on how our society wants our children to learn quickly and effectively. (Is that possible?)
It actually seems that everything nowadays is so immediate.
“I just emailed you something, did you get it yet?”
“Mommy can I see the picture you just took?”
I guess it is just natural that this mentality is found in education as well. We want our students to learn something after a lesson and a few follow up activities. What is worse is that we want these to pay dividends when it comes time for standardized tests.
If you are going to integrate artistic experiences into your teaching, you (and your administration) have to realize that the benefits may not show immediately. The value in art integration is not that you will see a rise in test scores that spring, it is something MUCH deeper than that.
For one thing the arts will provide a more enriching way for your students to develop skills and internalize concepts. They may create a dramatization of a story or event in history and by putting the time into such an event, get so much knowledge out of it. Students might practice their math facts by jumping in sequence. As they move with the number concepts, some students will start to understand them better.
Another way to think of arts integration (and arts education) is that they not only provide for quality learning experiences but long lasting benefits. When you integrate arts experiences into your teaching, you are helping your students to realize the importance of such things as perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness, questioning and flexibility, independent thinking and collaboration: all the skills we want for our children and future workers in society.
The artistic process can be paralleled to the learning process – it’s exciting, it takes time and it’s never really done. What a GREAT message to send to our students whom we are encouraging to truly become life long learners.
What are your thoughts on the long lasting benefits of the arts?