Many people think about fine art classes in schools and wonder, “Why does this need to be taught? How does this apply to important content areas like math, reading, or science? Art classes are just a waste of the school’s money.” This kind of thinking is what is causing schools to cut back on art programs. Some people just have a difficult time understanding why art is important in schools. Art alone is very significant to teaching students how to be creative and come up with ideas on their own, but it is also very beneficial for students to use art in the curriculum of other content areas as well. An article titled “STEM + Art: A Brilliant Combination” by John Ceschini discusses the benefits of integrating art in all areas.
Ceschini found out how important art is in learning when he was a principal in 1992. His school didn’t have an art teacher, and a staff member recommended that the school needed more arts. Ceschini ended up researching for the next 22 years how integrating art is an effective strategy for learning. He saw that every time he invited an artist into the school, students became excited and engaged, and teachers had more collaborative discussions over the curriculum. The whole atmosphere of the school was more energetic. Ceschini then decided to hire an arts-integration teacher to help the staff learn how to integrate art in all of their classes. After that, scores on their state assessments improved. He also noted that neuroscience research has been done that states studying art has the ability to help young people retain information, which again, can be helpful in any content area.
Ceschini went on to be the principle at a STEAM school, which integrates the arts with science. Many may wonder what art and science looks like together. At this particular school for example, students learned about pond ecosystems while designing their own pond. Another example Ceschini gave was a science teacher instructing students to create a dance to show what happens to water if it were to freeze in a pipe.
There is absolutely nothing about this article that I disagree with. I think more schools should pick up STEAM. It would definitely help schools to become more successful. I believe integrating the arts in other content areas is so successful because it can help students learn in different ways and see something from a different perspective. Visually seeing through dance how water reacts when freezing in a pipe or learning about the ecosystem of a pond by actually creating a pond can reach out to students who may struggle learning these concepts in a typical way. Creation is one of the best ways to teach content, and the success of these schools definitely proves that to be true.
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