Studies have indicated, that if children find learning a pleasurable experience, espeicially in their early elementary years, they will likely thrive in school and have greater academic success throughout their lives. As a blogger on Patch I have written about the value of play and creative problem solving and how the US education plan is erroneously cutting the arts from curriculum. Two of my readers pointed to the Finnish educational system where emphasis is on creative problem solving and cooperation. Yet Finnish students rate higher than nearly every other country when they finally are tested academically at age 15. "Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play." http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/
As a tutor and educator with years of experience, I have witnessed that when art education is incorporated into academics, it is a most effective way to teach for success. And my experience has demonstrated that success is possible with any population. When asking most people to recollect their k-12 years and learning, most people remember little of what they learned. Generally, what is more readily recalled are those educational experiences that involved activities and the arts.
It is in the art rooms that we learn creative problem solving, how errors can become innovative idea, we learn cooperative learning, sharing and inspiring our peers, that what we make has value and appeal and we are taught how to organize our ideas into two and three dimentional spaces. Best of all, while we work we have the option to socialize, adding more pleasure to our creative experiences.
Though most of my private and public school experience is with the general population, I have worked with the severely physically disabled, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, chronically sick and neurologically damaged. In the inner city I taught children in crisis both in the magnet system in Buffalo, NY and in the Bronx. In the Bronx I conducted art-based math support classes, literacy through visual arts, bilingual art classes and art for elementary through high school levels, and special education. Therapeutic occupational therapy (OT) exercises may be frustrating, by putting the focus on art and craft exercises, important tasks can be disguised. It is rare to find an adult or child who won't participate with enthusiasm to doing art work.
As a PT English (as a Second Language; adult ESL) teacher, I incorporate art tasks in my teaching. When I ask my students to evaluate and comment about their learning year, more than half cite the art related experiences as things they want more of. I am currently working with a moderate-severe autistic 10 year old. In just 4 months he went from scribbling like a 3 year old to drawing Buzz lightyear and self expressing through cartoons. He is in OT and speech therapy. His mom shared that what I am doing with him has been so impactful that he is now drawing all the time and his OT and speech therapists have incorporated drawing in their sessions with him.
Let's not only keep arts in education but let's promote them!
email: email@example.com. Black is a Katonah, NY based and NYS and NYC licensed educator. Her client ratings along with pictures and a more detailed description regarding her tutoring, can be found by visiting the following: http://www.WyzAnt.com/Tutors/ArtTherapistAcademicSupport
or on Facebook: Rosemary @ www.wyzant.com/Tutors/NY/Katonah/7732077/