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Why the arts are important in schools

Every country has different curriculums that its schools must follow, but something that is shared by many is that arts funding is often cut or is continuously limited.

To decide how much we should value the arts in schools in comparison to other more traditionally academic subjects, we have to know how important they are in students’ development.

Here are reasons why we should value the arts as part of the school curriculum.

The provide future-proof skills

In the future, many current jobs’ tasks will become automated. Increasingly, uniquely human skills such as creativity, problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking will be valued in the job market. The arts directly build these skills, what with students being challenged to create things from scratch by their own design.

They grow appreciation for different cultures and perspectives

In arts syllabuses, there will be teaching on arts ideas and works from all over the world and from throughout history. For example, a music class might focus on a particular genre from a different country, and an art class might show students a painting style from hundreds of years ago.

Exploring different cultures in a fun, creative way generates an appreciation for global perspectives and opens students’ minds to understanding different cultural perspectives. In turn, this increases their social awareness and tolerance.

They have health benefits

Some studies show that the arts are great for our health. Engaging with creative tasks can have a positive impact on our psychological wellbeing, physical health, stress levels, social connectivity and memory skills.

Young people have a wide range of things to worry about these days, including social media, climate change, academic performance, international conflict and more. If part of the school day can have all of these health benefits for students, it seems important to incorporate it.

Not every student is traditionally academic

When we think of school success, we might think of high grades in subjects like maths, science and humanities. However, not every student is suited for good academic performance in these areas.

Providing viable arts routes in schools gives these students another chance to succeed. Their minds might be better suited to creative learning as opposed to traditional, academic study.

Well-rounded education results in well-rounded people

Our aim for graduating students is for them to be well-rounded, deep-thinking individuals who can appreciate many different things within the world. Having a varied curriculum throughout their schooling can greatly help this.

One way to introduce a varied curriculum is, of course, including arts subjects in the school day.

They provide creative opportunities for everyone

One argument against implementing arts teaching in the classroom is that these subjects, namely music, art and drama, are more hobbies than academic areas. However, in reality, outside of school hours they are often only hobbies for the privileged few.

Music, art and drama clubs can be expensive and not everyone can afford to attend. When these areas have a strong presence in the curriculum, every student has the opportunity to enjoy and grow from them, and some may even discover a true talent.

The arts can be used to teach about different topics

There is often overlap between subjects and this can be by design. When we want to teach students a challenging or confusing topic, we can use the arts to break it down and make it easier to understand.

For example, if we want to teach an event that happened in history, we can instruct students to make a performance piece acting it out in their drama class. If we want students to understand a scientific concept, we can get them to great 3D models of them in their art class.

Specific arts skills can be useful in other subjects

In every subject, students are required to write information in their workbooks, create posters and give presentations. Sometimes, marks are even given to the layout of these, and they are also tasks that may crop in future jobs.

Understanding concepts such as layout, colours and stylistic choices therefore is a greatly helpful transferable skill. The arts benefit both handwritten and digital presentation of work in students’ other academic subjects.

Notting Hill College has trained thousands of teachers and education professionals. Gain up-to-date, practical skills with our range of teacher training courses.



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