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.
I have been driven for many years, in all I do, to find ways to help children be more confident and successful. Writing Being Visual was a long, labor-intensive process especially for me as a visual learner. I truly believe that when we understand the way our visual kids think, we can help them be more successful. When I hear from parents that have read and applied visual learning techniques, I am enormously grateful to be a part of this important conversation.
Dyslexia is a learning “disability” with strong ties to visual-spatial learning. Dyslexics think in pictures, struggle with language and may even struggle with sequencing. These learners can have brilliant visual- spatial abilities and need some extra help developing reading and literacy skills. These are a few activities you can do at home to help your child improve their learning skills and gain confidence:
- Bette shares her insight on….. What Parents Should Know About Their Child’s Education
- Parents and teachers alike can benefit from knowing….How to Help a Child Struggling at School
- Interested in understanding how important arts are in your child’s education? Successful Academics: The Arts Play a Vital Role
- Looking for fun activities to do at home with family members of any age? Pumpkins, Pearls and Pinterest: Creative Activities for Kids
This week I am preparing for a visit to Milwaukee. I’ve been invited to share some thoughts on Being Visual and educational strategies at the Menomonee Fall’s Optimist Club. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet people, share ideas and learn from those interactions. I must say this group especially intrigues me. There are a number of organizations with professionals from all walks of life who work together to impact their community. However, the Optimist Club is focused entirely on work that directly benefits children.
As an art kid, I spent hours and hours drawing, making and creating. To this day, I love art. Throughout elementary, high school and college, I took as many art classes as possible. Yet, while I was passionate about drawing, there was always a bit of frustration that accompanied the experience. I discovered that instruction in art education is essential to empowering children to communicate visually.
A few years ago I met Barb, a high school special education teacher. Barb had heard about Young Rembrandts and wondered how her special needs students would respond to our step-by-step method of teaching art. After some conversation about her students’ needs and our philosophy, we agreed to teach a series of four weekly classes. The classes surpassed all of our expectations. The students were fully engaged, successfully completed every drawing and were pleased to have been participants in art class. In Chapter Five of Being Visual, I share details about the initial fears of the teaching assistants, the experiences in the classrooms, our observations and our teaching method.
Art teachers are excited to welcome students back into the classroom. While we enjoy the work our children create in art class, participation in the arts is far more impactful than is often understood. As explained in my new book Being-Visual, the arts are essential for all children because it influences their ability to learn in every subject.