Art has long been perceived as a fun activity, with little academic impact or value in an educational system focused on literacy and test scores. Because of this misconception, art programs across the country are being eliminated in staggering numbers. While the cuts may help the bottom line, our students are paying the price. Research has proven time and time again, that art is essential to academic success, and many of our children can’t learn without it.
Why does art class matter so much? The majority of our students learn visually. They’re right-brain dominant, visual-spatial learners that need to see to think and see to learn. They are big picture, conceptual, non-linear, innovative, “whole before parts” kind of thinkers. But these visual learners are not just the artsy kids, the “creative types”. Many of our future scientists, technology specialists, engineers and mathematicians—our STEM students—are visual–spatial learners that need to participate in the arts in order to think and learn effectively.
Albert Einstein, a visual learner himself, once said, “Everyone’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.” Schools are focused on developing left-brain analytical skills, because these are the skills that test well. But our visual learners don’t test well and struggle with traditional teaching methods that rely heavily on drills, memorization and timed tests. They are the fish stuck in trees, while the water they need—the arts—are being eliminated. However, it’s participation in the arts that help our visual students develop essential learning skills. The arts—art, music, dance and theater—provide students the visual, spatial, hands-on activity they need in order to learn. Visual kids need to doodle, write, draw, use color and make their world visual. Not because it’s fun, but because it’s what their brain requires for them to learn, study and remember.
Art can no longer be considered a disposable subject matter, reserved for the creative few. Training in the fundamental skills of the visual arts is a must for all children. Art training provides opportunities for children to express themselves creatively, while developing visual and mental processes that under gird essential learning functions.
Be a champion for the arts in your school and make sure your children are getting the most out of their education!
What is your child’s learning style? There are three basic learning styles; visual, tactile, and auditory. Take the test and get immediate results: Is your child a visual learner?