It’s almost as if when Rome fell, so did the respect for the creative arts. But what wasn’t lost was the innate human need for the arts. Children express themselves through art as soon as they develop the motor skills to create. You might not see the reason get your kids to play an instrument or other forms of art because of the established hierarchy of “valuable” subjects like maths and sciences at the top and “soft” subjects related to art at the bottom.
This led the arts to be the first subjects that suffered the many budget cuts reducing student access and pressure on students to choose more “useful” subjects. Due to the nature of art, measuring academic success cannot be done through standardized testing and as a result show no empirical evidence of studying the arts.
Straight A’s has been the golden standard of academic success since the early 20th century. And although early research showed that marking varies drastically from person to person, letter grades on report cards stuck around and continue to stick around today. Current research confirms that adhering to letter grading is damaging to students and is not the best evaluation method.
Abiding by such a strict standard ignores the fact that people learn and absorb information in different ways. It does not serve much purpose in the arts because every student performs in their own way. Studies now show that increasing arts education experiences actually has an impact on a student’s academic, social, and emotional outcomes, which all affect the overall behavior of a student.
A study found that students exposed to more art experiences saw an improvement of 13% on standardized writing scores and an 8% increase of compassion for others. Students with increased compassion for others were more interested in the well-being of others.
Benefits of Arts Education
The lack of preserving the study of the arts in schools is an open secret, but further research into the benefits of arts education can chip away the perception as “soft” subjects as lesser than math and sciences. Encouraging students to pursue their artistic talents can benefit them in these ways:
1. Art students are more well-rounded.
Mutli-disciplinary education give students a look into the different ways of the thinking for different subjects. This expands the way they process information for various subjects and decreases the pressure to learn in one specific way.
2. Art students process information differently.
Music and speech are processed by the same parts of the brain and when students learn an instrument and regularly practice, it advances both their music skills as well as language skills, which prepares them for their future education.
3. Art students are more likely to behave better.
The most important part of the arts is that it improves social tolerance. The arts contribute to the development of new generations to use empathy and further understand social issues. Humanizing these issues will strengthen the democratic values in a largely intolerable society. If the mission of education is to cultivate leaders for the future, understanding the value of arts is pertinent to shaping better education standards.