Incorporating the Arts to Enhance Learning
Research has indicated that arts inclusion increases science and math comprehension. It has been documented that students not only enhance their creativity but also their linguistic skills and self-confidence when exposed to the arts. Schools all across the country are incorporating more art education into all subjects to aid students in becoming well rounded learners. Since traditional “art” classes are some of the first to take a hit when budgets are slashed, every other subject area can benefit from finding ways to create learning opportunities using visual, performing, and written arts.
Though the arts nurture thinking skills and innovation, current legislation doesn’t reflect the importance of incorporating the arts in education. With the No Child Left Behind law signed in 2002, focus was placed primarily on annual testing, which lead to a decline in academic extras, such as art education. Another law known as the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) initiative, furthered this focus in those particular subject areas.
One bright spot, however, is that since the Every Student Succeeds Act passed last year, schools now have the freedom to revamp curriculum and avoid teaching to the test. STEM was also revised to include additional academic subjects, including the arts. The emphasis can be taken off achieving particular math and science standardized scores and placed on inclusive education. Using arts to teach across subject areas will lead to high-level attainment of STEM related skills and a more balanced education.
The new legislation allows schools to put steps in place to begin to incorporate the arts and provide a comprehensive education for our nation’s youth. Many schools have already begun designing fresh programs of study that incorporate arts and art integration. Schools nationwide will be expected to eventually integrate the arts into the teaching of all subject matter — and it’s vital for student success.