Art education in high schools
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Art education in high schools

Today education has become a token of an advanced, healthy and competent society. In fact, modern education more than ever before is aiming to provide experiences that will be useful in life (Smith 153). In the process of deciding which activities are effective and should be included in the high school curriculum, a clash between opinions often arises. People especially disagree on the question of the necessity for art education. Some of them claim that the teaching of the arts should not be included in high schools, whereas others say that art education is an inseparable part of schooling and people’s lives. Is it necessary then to include the arts in the high school curriculum? Yes. Art education should be required in high schools because it has a crucially important impact on students’ understandings, development, and transformation into considerate, intelligent, and interdependent members of society.

Notwithstanding, many people, including students, their parents, and educators, strongly object to compulsory art education. They say that artistic disciplines at school occupy the precious time that might be devoted to more “serious” studies. Instead of drawing a nonsensical picture, a student, they say, could better cram for physics. The ignorance of the arts has also to do with an increasing focus on scientific and technological education (Barry 203). The antagonists of art education say that scientific and technological studies bring more apparent and tangible results, whereas the use of the arts can be only surmised. Additionally, technological education can benefit societies by creating new machines, devices, and medicine that would improve people’s lives. Consequently, the opposition says that as much time as possible should be devoted to technological and scientific studies. Another claim against the necessity of art education concerns the aptitudes and abilities of students. Some people are considered to be artistically incapable. Therefore the arts, the opposition suggests, should not be imposed on students against their wills and capabilities. The arts are also ignored because they are considered to be dealing only with emotions, not with the mind (Williams 66). Finally people tend to protest the required art education in high schools because few colleges require artistic experience in the admission process (Williams 66). Therefore, a number of people think that the arts in high schools are studied in vain.

Many years of observations and studies have shown, however, that the arts are an important school discipline that brings positive long-term results. The arts are no less serious than any other discipline in the high school curriculum because they positively influence the attainment of the goals of education and provide valuable life experiences. The artistic studies bring intangible and somewhat hidden benefits that are as important as those brought by sciences and technology. Besides that, the avail of art education has been observed and clearly defined by many scholars. The arts contribute to the creation of a better life because they highly improve those aspects of human life that cannot be improved by technology and science. In addition, the assertions that some people are artistically incapable are not true. Different paths lead to aesthetic disciplines, and students may experience art education in many different ways. Their abilities develop at different rates, but no one is incapable of doing the arts (U.S. Department). As an educational psychologist Don Hamachek wrote, “One does not necessarily have to be a great composer or painter or writer or scientist to be creative” (202). In contrast to popular opinion, the arts involve not only emotions, but minds, too. Creating and appreciating images and sounds requires more mental activity than can be expected. (Williams 66). The arts should be part of the high school curriculum because they have many positive impacts on students’ preparation for their college studies and personal lives.

The arts can become an enjoyable and appealing experience for every student (Kneller 238). The artistic disciplines may help students relax from tense work and monotonous activities (U.S. Department). Although the arts also incorporate the mind, they do not require such intense mental activity. Many students listen to music because they find it to be a form of entertainment and relaxation. Aesthetic studies can bring pleasure by enabling students to express their emotions and feelings (Barry 212). The Nobel Prize winner, physicist Richard Feynman, started to draw at the age of 44, though his paintings were “terrible” in high school. He said that drawing was the only way to express his feelings about the universe. Richard Feynman found this way of expression to be extremely appealing and joyful (Williams 66). The presence of the arts in high schools can help students find the path to their favorite activity. Art education indeed helps students to understand what people’s needs and interests are, as well as who they are themselves (Barry 212). The arts may also serve as a shelter protecting students from a tedious reality. Students, while performing the arts, may escape a boring daily routine and make their lives more interesting, sapid, and joyful.

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