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Tewksbury Tribune: Are Arts In The Schools Really Important?

(The following article was originally published on the website of the Tewksbury Tribune, the student paper of Tewksbury Memorial High School. It is reprinted with permission.)

By Caitlin Legvold
Tewksbury Tribune

Are the arts really that important in schools? The arts provide an outlet for some students, it gives them a way to express their emotions. It gives a break from book work and lets the students do what they want to instead of being told exactly what to do, they can be creative about how they do it. They give the students who might act out a way to express the emotions in a way that is productive and not disruptive.

According to the New York Times, students who study the arts seriously tend to have a better ability to learn from their mistakes, make/justify judgments, and learn to envision things. The arts can be a very useful outlet for students. Art can help with their problem solving skills, for example a student messes up on their drawing and needs to figure out a way to fix it, then eventually they do. This teaches the student not to give up on things just because they don’t go the way they wanted them to. This is a very important lesson for students, one that art can easily help teach.

Many people believe that an art degree will get you nowhere, but there are some people, like an art teacher at TMHS, Mr. Moffat, who thinks that this is not the case. In fact he says that a person can do more with an art degree than you can with an english degree, this is one good point and a big argument for keeping the arts in schools. Many people believe that an art degree is only good for drawing or painting and selling your work, but so many other things, most things need art. Everything that is not natural from the earth requires some type of art. Someone has to design the item or thing, and that person is usually someone with an art degree. 

Another reason for keeping the arts in schools is that during a study by James S. Catterall, a professor at the University of California, found that students who had more access/involvement in the arts in school and even after school tended to score better on standardized tests. The arts have more of an impact on learning than most people realize. Just by having an art class gives the student a break from all the hard classes they have and just gives their mind an outlet to be creative instead of logical. This helps when they have to go back to class, they have more focus because they just had that creative outlet.

The arts are helping teach life skills such as problem solving, making judgments and envisioning different things. Sure these things can be taught in other ways, but if they are will they be as effective? No, not likely that they will be effective. The arts are a huge part of life for some students, some kids really just need that outlet to express how they are feeling, and what is wrong. Sometimes a students home life can be really rough and they just need something to help keep them from acting out and something as simple as a creative outlet such as art can turn a kid around, a kid that would have been acting out and probably getting themselves into trouble, could now be a kid who is an artist and doing really well in school.

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