More and more it is becoming apparent that the arts are truly beneficial, not only as valid areas of study in their own right, but also because they tend to improve academic performance in general. Those who teach the visual arts see how the children respond, how their motivation stimulates productivity, and how their involvement in the creative process causes them to blossom and become even more productive. But what's so encouraging for arts advocates is that the arts are finally being acknowledged by authorities as beneficial.
A report in Soundpost (vol. 17, 1990, p. 21) states that "students who take arts courses tend to have higher scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) than those who do not." It continues by saying, "the more arts courses a student takes, generally speaking, the higher his or her SAT scores." That the arts actually tend to improve students' verbal and numerical skills can be seen only as a bonus by those who already value the arts for more aesthetic reasons.
Furthermore, problem-solving skills, which are essential in today's world, are readily available through stimulating and art assignments - assignments that require the children to produce numbers of novel ideas and then to make a series of choices to complete them. Such exercises require a number of important cognitive skills.
Contained in the list below are some of the most commonly accepted benefits that visual arts education provides for children:
- Heightens self-esteem
- Develops problem-solving skills
- Allows for expression and creativity
- Improves visual discrimination skills
- Develops self-discipline and responsibility
- Increases motivation to learn
- Provides fulfillment through productivity
- Creates cultural and historical awareness
- Develops ability to make aesthetic judgments
- Tends to improve academic performance
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