Art education refers to learning, instruction and programming based upon the visual and tangible arts. Art education includes performing arts like dance, music, theater, and visual arts like drawing, painting, sculpture, and design works. Design works include design in jewelry, pottery, weaving and fabrics. Education and engagement in the fine arts are an essential part of the school curriculum and an important component in the educational program of every student.
Though the arts receive relatively little attention from policymakers and school leaders, exposing young people to art and culture can have a big impact on their development.
A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership revealed that schoolchildren exposed to drama, music and dance are often more proficient at reading, writing, and math.
While school districts might be tempted to think the arts a frivolous part of the educational system, the 2002 report suggests otherwise. It looked at over 62 different studies from 100 researchers, spanning the range of fine arts from dance to the visual arts. In 2002, it was the first report of its kind to look at the impact of art on academic performance. Using this data, researchers determined that students who received more arts education did better on standardized tests, improved their social skills and were more motivated than those who had reduced or no access. While researchers at the AEP admitted that art isn’t a panacea for what ails struggling schools, the study led them to believe it could be a valuable asset for teaching students of all ages — especially those in poor communities or who need remedial education.
Teachers and students alike benefit from schools that have strong art climates, a 1999 study called “Learning In and Through the Arts” demonstrated.
People have been so wrapped up in showing how arts education benefits students, many haven’t stopped to consider how it also impacts educators. The report studied students at 12 New York, Connecticut, Virginia and South Carolina schools to compile their results. Not only were students at schools with high levels of art education earning higher scores on critical thinking tests, but teachers also seemed happier. Part of the increase in their satisfaction was a result of their charges, who were found to be generally more cooperative and expressive and enjoy a better rapport with educators. That wasn’t all, however, as teachers at schools that emphasized arts education enjoyed greater job satisfaction, were more interested in their work and likely to be innovative and pursued personal development experiences. It’s not a trivial finding, as what is good for instructors is often very good for their students as well. This is something those at online colleges for education should keep in mind.