How an Art Education degree can postively impact your students
*The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest post by Lizzie Weakley
The curriculum for all education majors incorporates at least one prerequisite art education class. This is bolstered further with required integrated lesson plans in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and even Science. Empirical data has shown that cognitive skills, learning styles, social development, and sensory and motor skills are positively impacted by art lessons. Art education programs go further by specializing in specific methods, tactics, strategies, and tools for classroom instruction. Programs equip teachers with resources that target ways to teach every content area through the application of art.
Art and Other Content Areas
Integration and differentiation are the terms used in education for finding innovative ways to fill lesson plans and curriculum with chunks of knowledge. Once educators take a step back, they realize how easy it is to create curriculum that is specific and broad at the same time. Specifically, Language Arts melds reading a book and completing a collage, or learning a new math technique by creating a model. Social Studies and Science use opportunities in much the same way. For example, developing a terrain map or drawing globes with details of each hemisphere tap Social Studies constructs, while engaging students. Science projects such as producing models of the solar system build efficacy as well as knowledge. The best part is that students are not aware they have just taken part in an art lesson.
The Skills Developed by Art Education
Cognitive skills are the cornerstone of gaining knowledge and processing information. This comes in the form of several learning styles. Art uses visual, kinetic, and even auditory to ensure all learners have a clear understanding in their learning language. Social development is taught with interaction between teachers and peers. Students learn to express themselves with art projects instead of words. This comes in the form of students presenting their projects to the class or displaying them in the classroom. Manipulation of materials allows students to develop sensory and motor skills at their individual pace. A variety can be used including clay, paint, and everyday objects such as shoe boxes, food items and more. In addition, self-esteem, spatial acuity, sequencing, and critical thinking are exercised. Planning age appropriate curriculum has a myriad of possibilities through the art education prism.
While the arts program across the educational spectrum has declined with daily classes, steps have been taken to ensure students are still exposed. This is because of the intrinsic value it brings to the holistic learning experience. Art education degree holders bring integration expertise to the table. In essence, they are magicians that cast a spell on students with hands-on applications that deliver enduring life skills.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications.