Why Art Matters

Monday, July 15, 2013

I am an Art teacher, so of course you will say that Art matters to me, but why does it matter to you as a classroom teacher, why does it matter to our schools and most importantly why does it matter to our children?

It matters for all of the obvious reasons, so that children learn to use scissors and paint, so they understand color and composition. But perhaps more importantly it matters for the reasons that are not so obvious.

It matters because the Arts are the one of the few places where the answers are not prescribed to our children. They are presented with a problem and are asked to solve it in any way that works for them. It allows them to come up with their own solutions and enables them to be creative problem-solvers in a way that is lost in many other subjects.

This is critical learning for our students. We must allow our children to tinker, to play and to use their imaginations. How else will we remain one of the most innovative nations in the world without people who know how to invent and create from their own minds?

As Art teachers we need to ask ourselves if we are allowing children to create from their hearts, are we allowing them to risk, to struggle and perhaps to fail? Or are we prescribing a solution for them where all of the artwork looks great, but sadly the same. If you are a classroom teacher I would ask you the same question. When you teach Art in your classrooms I would ask you to consider going away from a craft where every students work looks the same and venture into the exciting world of allowing your students to amaze and astound you with their own creative artwork, because when given the opportunity they will amaze you!

Our children need Art in their schools and in their lives. They need to be able to wander along a path, not knowing where it will take them and have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they have to offer this world along the way. Children do this better than any of us teachers, we just need to remember to open the door for them and get out of the way! It is harder than it sounds, but oh so worth it!

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