Posted on 12/12/2014 at 02:51 PM by Blog Experts

From Wales comes a lot of art. Aberystwyth, Wales is the location of the International Ceramics Festival (July 3 – 5, 2015). Wales also has a national arts council whose vision “is for a creative Wales where the arts are central to the life of the nation” and where they are encouraging more people to enjoy and take part in the arts (http://www.artswales.org.uk/arts-in-wales). So it’s not so far-fetched for the Arts Council of Wales to promote the use of the arts for improving education.

According to an article by Arwyn Jones (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-24229748), “Arts education can help schools boost literacy and numeracy instead of being seen as a luxury…” In the article, ACW chair Dai Smith was quoted as saying, “’Teaching in and through the arts, far from detracting from literacy and numeracy, should be seen as an enabler to driving up standards in those academic priorities. The value of the arts therefore needs to be reiterated with schools and, importantly, schools need to be supported in taking up and delivering more imaginative approaches to cross-curricular creative activity.’”

A professor from the University of Kansas is in agreement with this, too (http://phys.org/news/2014-12-professor-art-museums-key-boosting.html). As a former middle school teacher, Arlene Barry used art for students who struggled with reading and writing. Getting students to describe a painting, surmise what the people in the painting are feeling, and forming an opinion about whether they might like to visit that place were several activities in which Barry had her students engage. As an associate professor of curriculum and teaching, Barry now takes her college students to art museums in order to model for them how to improve students’ literacy. Many of Barry’s students have a hard time identifying with students who struggle in reading and writing, but Barry said that, “viewing their subjects through the lens of art has given them a new perspective on their areas of specialty and opened them to new ideas about them.”

Grace Hwang Lynch (http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/) provides further benefits of art in child development: motor skills, language development, decision making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness, and improved academic performance. Additionally, the arts can help struggling learners (http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/how-the-arts-can-help-struggling-learners/) and boosts creative problem solving (http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-arts-and-creative-problem-solving/) according to Katrin Oddleifson Robertson.

Bob Bryant, from the Katy Independent School District in Houston, Texas summed up the importance of arts education well: “Study in the arts is integral to our society. They are a part of the cultural heritage of every American. The arts are what make us most human, most complete as people. The arts cannot be learned through occasional or random exposure any more than math or science can” (http://www.katyisd.org/dept/finearts/pages/the-importance-of-fine-arts-education-.aspx).

 

 

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