In today’s society where technology advances rapidly and the tasks of survival and practical living requires much time and energy, aesthetic concerns are low in priority. There is an increasing focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to meet the needs of the ever changing economy, and the arts education is often regarded as a less vital component of 21st century learning. In consequence, many schools reroute funding from the arts programs to core subjects.
Arts education is at the risk of elimination in many schools despite the fact that arts education prepares students with the skills set they will need to become successful, transforming them into well-rounded thinkers. Arts are regarded as frill elements that should make way for STEM education. As a result, many students are spending too much time in rote memorisation and mere identification, focusing purely on core subjects that are deemed more relevant knowledge for their future.
In actual fact, arts education is particularly well-placed for development of higher level of thinking skills which are vital in all workplaces.
Arts Education Develop These 6 Critical Skills:
- Creativity & Critical Thinking
- Focus & Perseverance
- Cultural Awareness & Empathy
Creativity is not strictly innate even though some people are naturally more creative than others. Creativity skills can be developed by learning and applying creative thinking processes. The best way to nurture creativity in children is through arts education as it allows students to express themselves creatively and think out of the box. Studies have shown that creativity helps us see things in different perspectives and enables us to solve problems with relevance and novelty. Creative thinking is no longer a luxury but a survival skill simply because industries rise when creativity thrives. Fresh ideas are essential to innovation and progress.
Focus & Perseverance:
If the brain is a muscle, then arts education such as learning to draw or paint and playing an instrument are the ultimate exercises. Arts activities boost engagement of brain networks that are responsible for decision making and the ability to focus and inhibit impulses.
The journey of picking up a skill and practicing it definitely requires perseverance. It is a very important character trait for everyone as it means determination at working hard regardless of any odds or obstacles that may exist. It is to insist and to be firm on getting something done and not giving up.
The benefits of arts education are far-reaching as critical thinking skills are also in play when students engage in arts activities. Students go through conceptual thinking, observation, reasoning and problem solving. During the creative process, children use logic and problem solving to strategise how to reach their intended outcome. This ability to think critically to solve problems in a unique way is key to the 21st century workplace.
Arts education develop interpersonal and communication skills as when students work collaboratively on a project, they learn to communicate more effectively, compromise when necessary, and work hard for a common goal. All of these skills are essential in any work environment as the ability to work together drives greater productivity and fosters healthy relationships.
Confidence is one of the most important soft skills in the business world as a confident person is likely to be more proactive, assertive and focused. Arts education create a safe space for students to explore their talents and hone their confidence level over time through presentations and performances.
Cultural Awareness & Empathy:
Arts education plays a major role in transmission and preservation of culture which is important for the progress and development of the society. It provides a platform to discuss many different cultures, socioeconomic levels and current events. Cultural awareness also develops sensitivity and empathy for others.
Arts education encourages curiosity and one of the most important attitude is curiosity. Amazing breakthroughs and discoveries are results of curiosity. It was curiosity to invent, build and fly that led Wright Brothers to invent, build, and fly the world’s first successful airplane. Arts education triggers curiosity, encourages and embraces the thrill of discovering new ideas and sparks creativity. Curiosity is part of what makes us lifelong learners and this is what drives new ideas and performance in all workplaces.
Arts education allows educators into the hearts and minds of children. According to psychologists, adults can monitor the cognitive growth of children through their visual expression whether it be scribbling of lines or illustrations. A strong art program also intensifies students’ motivation to learn and better school attendance which in turn increases graduation rates.
The aim of education is to maximise students’ potential so arts education should integrate school curriculum rather than remain as a domain of the hidden curriculum. Education plays a pivotal role in cultivating the next generation of citizens and leaders so it is imperative that we reflect on the fundamental purpose of a well-rounded education.