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Transforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning The Arts - March 1997


"Here, then, is my conclusion. First, we need the arts to express feelings words cannot convey. Second, we need the arts to expand the child's way of knowing and to bring creativity to the Nation's classrooms. Third, we need the arts to help students integrate their learning and discover the connectedness of things. Fourth, we need the arts in education to help children who are emotionally and physically restricted. Above all, the arts can build community not only within the school but beyond it as well: in neighborhoods, in different cultures, and across the generations. Learning in the arts truly is lifelong. It's a deeply satisfying journey that I am convinced should never end."
Boyer 53

If arts educators are to be successful in having their specialties recognized as critical parts of the curriculum, it will be important that they comprehend the messages coming from researchers and effective classrooms. They need to strive to help their schools reach high standards in all core subjects, including the arts. Many of them need to become more sensitive to the nature of their role as team members in school renewal.

Increasing student academic achievement is at the core of current school improvement efforts. To accomplish this, schools must be safe; parents, businesses, and communities need to be involved; teachers need innovative training; and students need to be ready to learn. The arts can contribute to the successful development of all these goals.

Processes that focus on the individual student are vital in arts education, as they should be in all subjects. Arts teachers need to think of themselves both as resources for knowledge, as well as planners of challenges that will result in the growth of individuals and artists. While skills in the arts are very important, teamwork, a sense of discipline, persistence, and creativity are equally valuable products of school arts experiences. Arts curricula should be built from the best possible arts experiences, but each encounter must have significance for the student at the time it is presented. When we remember that the term "to educate" means both "to lead forth" and "to draw out," we can see that the arts contribute to education as both a body of knowledge to be led to and a means to draw out every child.

[A Major Asset of the Arts in Education is to Make Schools a More Engaging Learning Environment] [Table of Contents] [Notes]