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Why teach the arts?  Why should your school be teaching more of the arts?


Please click on the link provided to my arts philosophy assignment (web based) 


In brief:

The arts are integral to education and society, the Arts provide alternate languages in which to express emotions which make us human; they allow us to feel, wonder, imagine and create. Now that the Arts have been recognised in the national curriculum we can start bringing them back into our classrooms in their own right and within integrated discipline projects creating rich learning experiences; allowing us to reconnect with our senses. Future citizens coming out of arts rich school curriculums will be able to contribute to their artistic world rather than simply being passive consumers with in it (Emery, 1998, p.1) and they will be equipped with minds capable of divergent thinking ready to face the problems of the 21st century (Robinson, 2009).


Some attributes of arts education:

•          The Arts stimulate students to look at the environment around them in different ways.  It helps them to learn about their world and to see it as an interconnected place ((Koster,2009, p.212) (Barnes, 2011, p.236) and (Russell-Bowie, 1997, p.227)). 

•          Education through Aesthetic Appreciation:  Rathunde explains this as “capacity to inspire and motivate learning through experiences of beauty and awe” (p. 74).  ACARA state that students who study the Arts have a higher life satisfaction and a greater sense of meaning in life (2014f).  

•          Robinson (2009) discusses finding your “element”, which is the thing that we are good at and also passionate about, and is quite often is found within the Arts, once found brings balance and fulfilment to our lives.

•          Robinson also argues that the Arts are important as they allow us to develop our creative minds.  Our creative minds can then be used in other subject areas to solve problems (2009).  It is beyond the scope of this discussion to develop this concept further, I have done so in my paper “Arts Education Philosophy” (Ellis, 2014); Ellis (2014) also enlarges on more benefits of an arts based education.

•          A characteristic of arts education should be that children have as much freedom in their choices in order to express their feelings.  Smith-Autard expresses the importance of their being an emphasis on feeling.  She quotes Foster “In dance movement takes on very closely the shape of sensation and in turn shapes it” (2002, p.12).


Further: Central to arts education is the theory of multiple intelligences, Gardner claims “that we each have a unique blend of intelligences”, he continues by adding that “the big challenge facing the development of human resources is how best to take advantage of the uniqueness conferred on us as a species exhibiting several intelligences” (1999, p.45).   The Arts nurture many of the multiple intelligences, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, (VCAA) states, the Arts “fuel the exploration of ideas that cross the gamut of human emotions and moods through holistic learning using cognitive, emotional, sensory, aesthetic, kinaesthetic and physical fields” (2014b.)   Leaning through the Arts, using Arts language; kinaesthetic, intrapersonal intelligences, sensory/iconic and symbol systems, helps students to express what they are learning and helps them relate to a concept that has been developed, across all subjects ((Koster, 2009, p.212 ) (VCAA, 2014) (Klug & Windfield, 2011, p.274) (Campbell, Campbell & Dickson, 1996, p.68) (Robinson, 2009) (Emery, 1998) (Beckman, 2007, p.1-4) and (Cutcher, 2013) (Russell-Bowie, 1997, p.228)).  Quite often students with alternate intelligences become frustrated and distracted and may be labelled as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when they are actually just bored (Robinson, 2009, p.1).  Most of these children would benefit from being taught the Arts, they may even excel in the area of the Arts and therefore increase their self-esteem and confidence which in return may increase their achievements in all subjects (Russell-Bowie, 1997, p.228).  A child’s strengths need to be focused on and built upon.  In the context of arts education students need the experiences provided by Arts teaching to unlock potential they may have ((Beckman, 2007, p.3) (Robinson 2009)). 

(Reference list can be found at this link:!references/c1wv7)

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