As a Music Teacher, I have been a long-time advocate for the Arts. The Arts make up a significant part of our history and culture. Opportunities to express, create, practice and work toward goals larger than Self are such key factors in nurturing whole human beings. I believe Arts Education has a place for every child in school.
But where do the Arts fit in schools? What does the Federal and State Gov't have to say? I am pleased to be able to report that the arts-including art and music are considered CORE subjects in the Federal NCLB law as well as the MA Education Reform Law. Interestingly, research is being unveiled frequently about how the arts actually assist students to learn and think critically in arts classes as well as other academic classes. Additionally-and this is very compelling!-the field of Neuroscience is mapping HOW the brain processes as a result of immersion in the arts.
THE ERA OF DIY and CONTENT CREATION
As is frequently noted on this blog, the paradigm has shifted in the world and Education must play a crucial role in adopting and exploiting new ways of doing, learning, leading and creating. Parallel to the shift to Standards-Based (Student-Centered) Education, a shift made possible by emerging technologies is the ability for individuals to create their own content (images, videos, music, etc..). This is the commonly called D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). Education should embrace the DIY movement and allow students and teachers to create as learning process. (Note that creation here is not necessary the culminating activity--but an embedded WAY to learn).
A great example of Combining the ARTS and the DIY Movement comes from students at Boyertown High School in Pennsylvania. Art programs were in danger of being cut, so the students made a video to show how they feel about their art classes. Great work for a great cause! Arts Education.