Including students with different thinking skills like “learning

Including the Fine Arts in education is necessary for students to do their best in school.  Many schools today are trying to get rid of their art programs because they feel as though they are too expensive or unnecessary.  However, for students to thrive in their schools and become the best they can be, they need the opportunity to be a part of some sort of art program.  Arts can lead to improved responsibility, expressiveness, confidence, and academics (Smith) if a student is given a chance to be a part of them.Teaching kids to be responsible is a challenging thing to do.  Especially when that child simply does not want to learn.  Letting a child be in the fine arts can help the to be more responsible in the arts and in turn, will help them become more responsible in life.  A psychologist, Michael Posner, conducted a study and he concluded that the arts can improve cognition because they can train children’s attention (Evans).  If a student learns to sit and finish their project, then it can teach them to do the same with school work.  Art or music can be more entertaining for students so teaching them that way can help them to be more open to the idea of working hard in school.  In “Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Art Education,” a book written by Hetland and Winner, it was discovered that the arts provide students with different thinking skills like “learning to engage and persist” and that those skills were rarely taught in school (Evans).  The arts give students a way to learn in different ways.  In turn, it can help them to stay more focused on their schoolwork.  Being a part of any arts program takes patience.  Learning a new song, trying to play a new instrument or working intently to get the most accurate drawing are all things that take time.  “Nobody becomes a Michelangelo overnight” (Wignall).  Kids need the opportunity to experience the need for patience.  The fine arts are a good and often stress free way of doing so.  Students who have learned the responsibility that comes with the fine arts will become more engaged in their education.  Those who have learned that it is beneficial to be responsible will be more likely to want to learn as much as they can which will broaden their knowledge even more (Wignall).  Helping students realize the perk of responsibility can encourage them to learn more and do better in school. Often times, schools are divided up between the social groups.  There are the jocks, the nerds, the popular, and the music geeks.  What happens if there is a student who does not fit into any one specific category?  Having the fine arts can not only combine many of these social groups, they can also let students who are usually hidden in the shadows, stand out.  As Dr. Kerry Freedman says in Grace Hwang’s article, “Art education helps them to make their mark on the world in ways that people will appreciate” (Encouraging Self-Expression Through Art).  The key is finding which type of art best suits each individual.  There are many students who are unable to easily engage in academics.  A good way to reach them is through the arts (Evans).  For many, putting feelings into words can be difficult and it might seem impossible for them to communicate what they want to say.  For instance, the artist Edvard Munch who painted “The Scream” seemed to put what he was feeling into a painting.  When looking at it, it is easy to imagine what Much was feeling at the time because it is beautifully expressed through the pained look on the figure’s face.  Students can take what they are feeling and turn it into works of art or songs to help them communicate.  As Jessica Davis says, “The arts, like no other subject, give children the media and the opportunity to shape and communicate their feelings” (Evans).  At school, there are plenty of kids who are deemed “at-risk.”  Many times the only reason these students are going to school is because they are good at one thing.  Whether it be sports,  music or just school in general, often times it is some form of the fine arts that encourage them to continue attending school.  Keeping the arts and letting them do things that are good at can help them to do better in school because they will have a good reason to be there (Archuleta).  Troubled teens need to have a way to express their emotions through a non-violent way.  Letting them be involved in art programs can have a positive effect because they will have a positive outlet rather than them being rebellious in ways that could harm themselves or their future (Wignall).  Keeping emotions in is never good for anyone, especially kids.  The arts are a valuable way for them to voice their emotions.  According to Jessica Davis, “It is not by arguing that the arts can do what other subjects already do (or do better) that a secure place can be found in the arts and education (Evans).  Having a confidence booster is good for kids and it will help to raise their self-esteem.  A study was done by the National Assembly of State Art Agencies or NASSA and it looked at how the arts influences juvenile students.  What they found was that the arts, including things like dance and music helps build confidence and that it can also help build the self-image of the student.  This “mastering a skill” is important in the education of the student and it is necessary for them to do their best.  Unfortunately, many people cannot easily afford to do all these things at home which is why it is vital for schools to offer fine arts (Archuleta).  When a child is gifted at a subject and they are given a chance to show their talent, it can help them to be more confident because they are doing something that they truly enjoy and that they are good at.  These art projects or musical instruments can take up a lot of time when working on them or when learning to play them.  A sense of accomplishment comes with finishing a project after working on it for endless hours (Lock).  Knowing that whatever was being worked on is finally done and done well can be a good way to raise self-esteem.  Art gives the chance for students who are not as academically talented to stand out (Smith).  This can help them to realize that they are just as capable as being recognized as someone who is brilliant at math or a phenomenal basketball player.  Being in art can help a student gain confidence which can encourage them to better in school because they have the confidence to try hard in other subjects as well. The arts can make it easier for students to work together on projects and help them to connect with eachother in ways that plain school work would not.  When working as a group, children’s confidence can increase because of the praise from their peers.  If they do something that is beneficial to the team and what they are working on, their classmates will be grateful towards them because of what they accomplished.  Getting praise and confirmation from other students is often times more rewarding then when it is received from an adult.  When working together on a project, students will learn how to accept criticism from their classmates which is helpful because everyone is not always going to agree (Lock).  Although it can be said that working in groups can be done in many classes, doing art projects or working on a play together is a less stressful way of working together and can make everyone more laid back.  Also, it is a way for students to all be on the same playing field.  Even more so when they are younger because their art talents would not have been developed yet.  Dory Kanter states, “The arts are a great leveler, as we are all in the same boat, learning to create and succeed in new and unexpected ways” (Lock).  Involving students in the arts are a way to get them all to be more equal with eachother in a good way which can help their self-esteem. The education system even benefits from having the arts as part of the curriculum.  James S. Catterall, a professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education, did a study on high school and middle school students.  He studied how being involved in music and the arts helped or hindered them in school.  Catterall found that students who were involved scored 16 to 18 points higher than those who were not involved (Karin).  The arts help kids to be more focused and determined to finish their work which transfers over into other subjects such as math and english.  For instance, the different music notes can help a student with fractions while they could act out a play to better understand a book or a history lesson (Smith).  There have been studies that show have shown that students who are involved in the arts more than once a week have a four times greater chance of winning an academy award for different things like science or English (The Importance of Art in Chile Development).  Performance arts can also help students find different ways to learn.  With fine arts there are many different ways to learn including visual, hands on, and listening (Archuleta).   Having different ways to learn is important because each child is different and everyone learns in their own way.  The arts can help a student discover which way is best for them which will help them do better in school. When schools are forced to cut money to the art departments and dedicate more time to the standardized tests, the schools fell behind more (Evans).  All this proves is that it is important for the schools to have the arts.  It is a good way for students to unwind after long and difficult days of hard work.  Even kids themselves understand that the school day is difficult and that they might need a break.  As Evans’s ten year old daughter said, “It cools kids down after all the other hard stuff they have to think about” (Evans).   Studies have shown that students who are not involved in any sort of the arts do not do as well on the SAT or ACT than those who are actively involved in fine arts.  They have also proved that young children who had the chance to be in the arts, with a focus in music, did better in geometry, reading a map and reading fluency (Evans).  There are multiple ways in which fine arts help students to do higher quality work in schools which is why they should not be taken from the curricular, but rather should be kept a priority. There are many reasons why administrations do not want to keep the fine arts in their school.  The most prominent reason is when there is a budget cut, the arts are deemed the least important.  “These programs often suffer because of a misguided perception that the arts are an extracurricular, non-essential part of education” (Students Benefit From Fine Arts Courses).  Fine arts are usually the first to go when there are budget cuts because many times, they are seen as the least important.  The main issue for the schools is the money.  Yes, the arts are expensive but they are beneficial to the development and education of the student.  It could also be argued that often times, there are many students who would never have the opportunity to do any of the fine arts courses that they do in school because they are too expensive for the families to pay for (Smith).  A good way for the schools to pay would be grant money.  The administration could choose to use whatever grant money to go towards keeping the arts program but at a lower cost.  Meaning the arts programs would need to use cheaper supplies or get help from parents or businesses.  That way, the schools would be able to keep their fine arts programs while not dipping into the school’s account.  It is a great way to compromise and it should be considered in schools everywhere. The idea of getting rid of the fine arts in schools is widely spreading and it should be stopped.  There are many benefits that come from using some form of art in everyday life and it should be an option for every student who wants to excel in those programs.  Aside from helping students do better in school, the arts can also boost their confidence, help them to express themselves and teach them to be responsible.  Without art, music, and drama, teaching students these things would be significantly more difficult.  Keeping the fine arts in school should be a priority to all administrations and educators.