Posted on 09/02/2009 at 08:17 AM by Global Reach

 Welcome you to the new Fine Arts Blog at Northwest Area Education Agency. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do for students and the importance of your role in students’ lives as an arts educator. This blog is can also be a place for sharing of resources. If you have resources, web sites, events, and products that you have used that other arts educators may want to use in their classroom, we would encourage you to send them us to be posted.

We believe that:

  • The arts reach students who are not otherwise reached.
  • The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached.
  • The arts connect students to themselves and each other.
  • The arts transform the environment for learning.
  • The arts provide new challenges for these students already considered successful.
  • The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real work.
  • The art enable young people to have direct involvement with the arts and artists.
  • The arts support extended engagement in the artistic process.
  • The arts encourage self-directed learning.
  • The arts engage community leaders and resources.

We also believe that the arts teach students many concepts that are not tested on a standardized test but do impact the success of the student. The following is taken from The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Eisner, E. (2002). 

  1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
  2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
  3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
  4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
  5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
  6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
  7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
  8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
  9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
  10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

One issue that arts educators face every day is how their work in the areas of music, art, drama, and dance impacts student achievement.  Although we do not see this on a typical Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Test of Educational Development, we do have data that supports that students who participate in the arts tend to score better on standardized tests and have better success in college and in the work force.  

Support for the arts locally, statewide and nationally are seen in legislation as well as arts organizations teaming with each other to advocate for the arts collaboratively.

As arts educators, we know the importance the arts have on learning and achievement for students—convincing others is the challenge.  Here are a few pieces of research that may help you when you are advocating for the arts:

According to the:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001...the arts are considered a “core subject area.”
  • Critical Links: Learning In the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development (2002)… the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children and students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, and student needing remedial instruction. 
  • Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (1999) ….students who participate in the arts outperform their peers on virtually every measure.
  • Third Space: When Learning Matters… finds schools with large populations of economic poverty and failure academically of teachers and students, these schools can be transformed into vibrant and successful centers of learning and community life when the arts are infused in their culture and curriculum.
  • Dana Consortium Study, Learning Arts, and the Brain (2008) children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas.

This past August, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pointed out that according to the National Assessment of Educational Process (NAEP) 57% of 8th graders attended schools where music instruction was offered at least three to four times a week, and only 47% percent attended schools where visual arts was offered visual arts that often.

Under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), states and school districts have flexibility to support the arts. Title I, Part A of ESEA funds arts education to improve the achievement of disadvantaged students. These funds can be used for professional development of arts teachers as well as for cultural, arts, and strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations in the arts.

The United States Department’s Arts in Education program supports grants for model program development and dissemination, and for professional development for arts educators. Local school districts also can use these funds under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the arts along with other district expenses, better known as the Federal Stimulus Dollars. 

Often, fine arts teachers feel like unwanted stepchildren. However, as you can see from the above information, there is a lot of legislation, research and resources available for the fine arts teachers. Sometimes finding this support takes a lot of digging or searching. Hopefully this blog will save you time in that respect.

This means though, that we need to hear from all of you. This is your opportunity to get involved by sharing, networking and using the information. You also need to see how the professional development focus in your school district fits in with the fine arts curriculum and how that will impact student achievement.

Dr. Judy Sweetman, Educational Consultant
Marlin Jeffers, Educational Consultant

So glad there are pieces out there that concentrate on the benefits of fine arts in our schools! We make sure our students have access to hands-on activities that nurture their creativity and are able to explore art history.
Page Private School | | 07/10/2017 at 07:28 AM
This is beautiful write up highlighting the importance of fine arts.Actually fine arts is very rare art. You can see few only good at fine arts.If these students are guided properly then sky will be the limit for them.
fine arts education | | 07/10/2017 at 07:28 AM
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