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Posted On October 31, 2017 By In Art, Column, Culture, Rants With 149 Views

OPINION: More Arts-Based Education Needed

The Arts; A Gift Sent From Heaven

This is not an over-exaggeration, but why?

By Simone Williamson

Before you begin to read this, put on your favourite song, look at the posters on your walls, indulge in what the arts is to you. Now think about how the arts has been a part of your life. I think the creative and performing arts are one of the most important parts of a child’s school career and personal life. I’m not some crazy mother who thinks that the Arts is a gift sent from heaven (well it kinda is), but I am someone who knows what effects the Arts can have on people young and old.

The sad truth is that the Arts is constantly being thrown away as it is seen as ‘less important’ than academics or sport. The Arts are always the ones to go in budget and funding cuts, but why? Not only does it help with students education, the Arts also helps with mental wellbeing, personal development and working as a team. Are these not important things? Apparently Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn’t think so.

Studies have shown that students who participate in the arts have “higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.” Almost all things that the Queensland Government seems to lack. The Journal Of Educational Psychology have published results that show students who are involved in the arts (drama, music, art and dance) have better academic and personal wellbeing outcomes than students who were not as involved.

These outcomes include motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, educational aspirations, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose. “Some of the strongest effects were found for students who spent high amounts of quality time in creative and performing arts subjects at school.”

This seems to have worked for me and my friends. I know a myriad of high-school students who participate in the performing arts (including myself) and their school and personal life coincides with the information above. Now, I didn’t even know the word ‘myriad’ until I listened to a musical called “Heathers,” makes you think.

Psychologist Dr Sudmalis  states, “not only does this study demonstrate that the arts help deliver positive outcomes in engagement and motivation for students outside of the arts domain, it also shows that high quality, participatory arts education has the greatest impact.”

 

Another report by the Arts Education Partnership has also revealed that children who participate in the arts are often better at reading, writing, and maths. This report looked over 62 different studies from 100 researchers. With this data it was determined that students who had better arts education did better on standardised tests, it also improved their social skills.

However, were they more motivated than those who had reduced or no education in the arts? An updated report from 2010 showed consistent results. Therefore, arts education doesn’t matter, right?

It is important to fund the Arts at school because it helps children’s social and academic development. The Arts allow children to process the world around them and helps them deal with their emotions in a positive way.

Arts incorporates all the senses, sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste (depending on the activity). “Children’s brain synapses fire away as they experiment and create, squishing paint between their fingers, mixing colors and materials, or drawing from imagination or what they see in front of them.”

New York Center for Arts Education says that kids learn to think with an open mind, to observe, describe, analyze and interpret, the arts helps practice and evolve problem solving and critical-thinking skills. Kids learn to collaborate with both children and adults and it also builds confidence.

The Arts also helps with a person’s mental wellbeing. A survey taken in 2016 revealed that adults who had over 100 hours of engagement with the arts had significantly better mental wellbeing than those with none or lower levels of engagement.

Another way the Arts helps tackle mental wellbeing is by teaching children how to deal with anxiety. When performing students learn how to deal with stage nerves, learning how to cope with these feelings can help with anxiety, it probably will not cure it, but it can help. This can also be linked to confidence.

The creative and performing arts help students be more confident, can boost their self esteem, as well as promote healthy teamwork. Maybe if Annastacia Palaszczuk and her associates participated in the arts we might have decent human beings in charge.

Building up a teenager’s confidence can be extremely conducive to a well-functioning young person, with the many assignments, exams and oral presentations, students need to be confident in what they do.

Having confidence along with high self-esteem lets children flourish and these things can be obtained from performing and creating. From hearing the audience clap at the end of a show to finally perfecting a tough instrumental piece, huge achievements to small goals can boost people’s self esteem and make them more confident.  

Performing also enhances teamwork, “during a performance, kids become part of a larger system, working toward a common goal,” says Child psychologist Annie Spell, “it is the culmination of weeks of practice, so the performance itself becomes the reward for all that work.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk, is it not obvious that the Arts are not something that should be overlooked? It is an integral part of our society and school system that should be protected and nourished. Students can help fight anxiety, learn to love school, develop into bright young men and women that can positively enhance this world.

I urge you to think about these things and to realise that cutting funding from the Arts and not making it more of a priority is detrimental to Queensland’s development. It is time to fix our connection with the Arts and our future as a society. Now think about your life without that song you put on, or the posters on your walls, who would you be, how would your life change?

 

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