The Arts Dynamic in Education
Why the fine arts in education are vital
Ramon C. Cortines, executive director of the Pew Network for Standards-Based Reform at Stanford University, comments:
The fine arts, taught by themselves in schools, linked to other curriculum areas, and experienced within the family, have a dynamic, positive impact on a child and on everyone involved in a child's education. Dance, music, theater, and visual arts strengthen a child's education on at least two levels: first, as art forms experienced for their own intrinsic value; and, second, as media with the unique ability to enhance learning in other areas of the curriculum. The most flexible curriculum components available for teaching students, the fine arts work on multiple levels with multiple intelligences.
For many educators, teaching the fine arts or integrating the fine arts with other curriculum areas requires a re-examination of their teaching strategies. This re-examination ultimately serves to benefit the child.
A common goal for each person involved in a child's education – parents, teachers, principals, school boards, funding sources, and students themselves – is the development of educated, literate citizens able to contribute to our society in a meaningful and productive manner. The Goals 2000 committee reinforced the value of the arts in education by stipulating that "All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject mater including…the arts."4
The world of today's youth often challenges traditional ways of learning experienced by the adults around them.
What then are the intellectual capacities that the fine arts, experienced for their own intrinsic value, contribute to? Moreover, how can the arts complement and reinforce other curriculum areas?
- Ramon C. Cortines, "Making the Case for District-Wide Arts Education," Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education (President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Arts Education Partnership, 1999).
- Ken Robinson, "Arts Education's Place in a Knowledge-Based Global Economy," Learning and the Arts: Crossing Boundaries, meeting proceedings, January 2000, p. 6. Retrieved June 2001, from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland, "The Arts and Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows," The Journal of Aesthetic Education 34 (3/4, fall/winter 2000), Retrieved August 17, 2001, from pzweb.harvard.edu/Research/REAP.htm.
- Goals 2000: Education America Art 8. Retrieved from the Goals 2000 Web site.
- Leilani Lattin Duke, director of the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, as quoted by Karen Rasmussen, "Arts Education – A Cornerstone of Basic Education." Retrieved August 17, 2001, from Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Web site www.ascd.org/readingroom/cupdate/1998/1spr.html.
- Eric Oddleifson, "A Fifty School Arts Education Demonstration project," On the Beam, New Horizons for Learning XI, 1 (fall 1990), 4-5:251. Retrieved August 17, 2001, from www.newhorizons.org/art_fiftyscharts_html.