Some people may be wondering… why the arts? Why when we are so knee deep in preparing for standardized tests do we need the arts? Why when we are being pushed into using more and more technology do we need the arts? Why? Because we do! The arts mold our culture. They extend who we are! They build our brain and improve its function. They are the essence of learning (unlike those tests) and now are intertwined with technology and media (which we harness).
And if we don’t start fighting for the arts now, our society will be in trouble.
We can be part of this “fight” by being proactive, by supporting our arts’ teachers and implementing the arts into all aspects of our teaching. Arts integration coupled with a solid arts education is the best way to go.
This month, the blog series will be about Getting Started with Arts Integration. It is in preparation for and to deepen the understanding of a presentation I will be doing this Saturday for #rscon11. (My presentation Getting Started with Arts Integration is scheduled for 7:00 EST)
One of the key components of getting started with the arts is arts advocacy. You need to know what you are talking about beyond, “The arts make people feel good,” or “The arts make you smarter.”
The arts are very complex in what they do for us. It’s emotional, intellectual, physical and social; logical and abstract; right brain and left brain; methodical and impulsive All at once.
There is so much to say about the arts and what they do for us and we need to be equipped with the reasons to have the arts in our schools and embedded in our teaching.
I started a Wallwisher to house some of the great resources that are out there. These resources come in the form of articles, blog posts, books, and videos. Find the ones that speak to you and will help you to relay the important message of the power of the arts in education to your communities. I ask you to add to this as well.
Here is the direct link to this Wallwisher: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/arts-advocacy
I hope this provides you with some great reading and viewing!
Our engagement with works of art provide us the opportunity to ask “what if?”. This kind of questioning is critical in our development of a 21st-century workforce. The literature and media are embracing a theme of innovation and creativity when considering future economic strength. While the arts aren’t the ONLY means towards fostering these skillsets, it’s easy to make the connection between the arts and a competitive economy.
The habit of asking “what if?” also helps to develop an engaged citizenry. An engaged electorate strengthens democracy. The alternative–a passive public–is doomed to wither under domination and control.
Being an educator and a mother, I am extremely concerned with the current direction that our educational system is headed. I was sickened when I heard the proposal that the arts program should be cut in order to save money in the town’s educational budget. I see the focus of education becoming so narrow that it has become a laser that is excising the life out of well-rounded, multiple-intelligenced, life-long learners; meanwhile, ironically, touting the benefits (and our current deficit of) of these exact same qualities. As the arts continue to take a back seat to “core” subjects, I cringe to think of the static generation that will not grow and develop to their full potential because of the lack of arts and the incredible benefits they can bring to students. I believe that it is essential for students to not only have the wide variety of experiences that art allows them, but also to have the growth and intellectual connections that it brings as well. Seeing the decrease in funding and time that is given to the arts in education, I see it as part of my job to integrate more art education into my own classroom in hopes that my students will continue to have positive growth and development from the experiences that art education and expression allows them.
This is a great comment. “meanwhile, ironically, touting the benefits (and our current deficit of) of these exact same qualities” hit home for me. The arts are so powerful in that they teach so many 21st century skills without the 21st century technology (necessarily, anyway). Collaboration, innovation, creativity, stick-to-it-iveness… we want (we NEED) our kids to have these skills!!!
Dara, You are so accurate about all of this. My children (now adults) had 2 different school experiences due to decisions made about the budget and the arts. Luckily for my oldest, who went through elementary school without art or music classes, he had a classroom teacher who worked extra hard to provide those experiences for him. It is our responsibility to provide well rounded opportunities for all students.