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Why is visual art so important in a school's curriculum as a learning activity?Why is...

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dalzelm | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 27, 2011 at 2:54 AM via web

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Why is visual art so important in a school's curriculum as a learning activity?

Why is visual art so important in a school's curriculum as a learning activity?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2011 at 5:47 AM (Answer #2)

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There is much to indicate that visual art, and the arts as a whole, are vital to students' learning.  Part of this resides in the fact that art is so wide open in terms of subjectivity.  Its expansive nature and scope afford it an opportunity for students' experiences and voices to be integrated into the paradigm of learning.  When other subjects are constricted to a great extent by standards and standardized approaches to learning, student voices can only be validated in this context.  Visual art is subjective and not standardized, affording it a greater opportunity to pull more students into the process of learning and appealing to those who might not find their voice in other settings.  For example, visual art construction can help in understanding in spatial relationships, geometric construction, and proportionality in a manner that might be more appealing than the traditional mathematics based instruction of such topics.  As more schools begin to experience the pang of losing art in the educational setting, it is dawning on many that there is a significantly harmful element the loss of this realm.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2011 at 7:09 AM (Answer #3)

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There is much to indicate that visual art, and the arts as a whole, are vital to students' learning.  Part of this resides in the fact that art is so wide open in terms of subjectivity.  Its expansive nature and scope afford it an opportunity for students' experiences and voices to be integrated into the paradigm of learning.  When other subjects are constricted to a great extent by standards and standardized approaches to learning, student voices can only be validated in this context.  Visual art is subjective and not standardized, affording it a greater opportunity to pull more students into the process of learning and appealing to those who might not find their voice in other settings.  For example, visual art construction can help in understanding in spatial relationships, geometric construction, and proportionality in a manner that might be more appealing than the traditional mathematics based instruction of such topics.  As more schools begin to experience the pang of losing art in the educational setting, it is dawning on many that there is a significantly harmful element the loss of this realm.

But most, if not all, of the benefits ascribed to visual arts here could be derived from the study of music.  Music can be unstructured.  Music has a lot to do with math, etc.

To me, the major benefit of visual art is that it provides the benefits described above, but it does so without the need for much in the way of equipment.  At need, people can simply draw with pencils -- there is no need for instruments as in music.

In addition, drawing is a very natural thing and is therefore easier to do than music (with the exception of singing).  A person can draw things at a young age when they would have a much harder time playing an instrument.

So, if visual arts are important, it is because they allow people to be creative and spontaneous without the need for equipment or long practice.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2011 at 1:54 PM (Answer #4)

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Studies have shown that students engaged in any of the fine arts begin to learn better in their academic courses.  Another reason that visual arts is important is that such a course appeals to students who have artistic talent that is not tapped in any of their classes.  When they can come to a class in which they are good at something, there is a confidence in themselves that develops.  For, they have found, at last, meaningful activity for them. 

Art, like music, is creative and, thus, satisfying to the soul.  Some people have musical talent and prefer music, but for others who have no talent in music, there may be an opportunity for them in learning and bettering themselves in art if it is offered in schools.  Classes such as fine arts are often the only reason some students bother coming every day. Of course, exposure to all the fine arts teaches young people art appreciation and music appreciation, qualities that will bring them enjoyment in years to come.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2011 at 5:45 PM (Answer #5)

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I think the above posts have done a great job of pointing out some of the benefits curricularly and developmentally.  I just wanted to add that one of the most basic things in any human culture that has ever existed is the creation of visual art, it is clearly an important function of all cultures and I think that gives you one more reason to include it as something that students have the chance to play with and learn about and express themselves with.

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linalarocca | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM (Answer #6)

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I believe the most valuable and, thus, the most "educational" facet of visual art is that it is a time to get to know oneself. The advantage of knowing oneself and exploring oneself is that a student will have a better understanding of what they want to achieve in their life. They can set attainable goals and have clear direction in their life. This clarity will inevitably help teenagers who are usually very confused people!

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM (Answer #7)

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Studying visual art is crucial for a child's development.  The many skills that can be gained from studying art include spatial skills, creativity and art appreciation.  If children never get exposure to these things, they are missing out on a large part of the human experience.

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