I’m continuing my research on the effects of incorporating art classes in public schools. I have always enjoyed taking art classes– art, theatre, music– you name it, and I’ve always supported the belief that they should be used in all schools. Now that I’m officially researching this topic, however, it’s nice to find actual facts on the effects art classes have and how they stimulate student’s minds. Finding articles for the annotated bibliography was extremely critical in helping me learn more about my topic and find new sources of information.
While most articles I found were in favor of the arts, it was equally as important for me to find articles that were not in favor of art classes. I found that most not in favor of the arts were teachers who were fed up with the No Child Left Behind Act, which in part was intended to increase the use of the arts in schools. Most seemed to feel that the NCLB really didn’t perform the job it was intended to, and it left art teachers feeling even less important than before. Teachers felt that by being forced to use art in their classes, it distracted students from core subjects. While I still do not know everything about the NCLB, I have been able to gather that many were not in favor of it. If one measure taken by the government failed, then another needs to be enacted instead.
Despite people’s frustrations with it, I still have found an overwhelming amount of reasons why the arts should be used. One of my favorite articles I found was titled “State of the Arts,” written by Sabrina Holcomb. In it, she expresses an experiment performed by an elementary teacher in Texas, Ms. Coleman. Instead of her normal teaching approaches, Ms. Coleman instead used theatre in her classes and would dress up and perform while teaching her lessons. She found that students in her classes were experiencing rapid rates of learning. She also found that her student’s reading levels were jumping multiple grades by the end of the year- far more rapidly than in the past. I especially enjoyed this article because it is easy to find many sources that just mindlessly list a variety of facts, however, this one took observations directly from a teacher who used the argument that I am trying to make. This will make a huge difference when I write my paper about using the arts in schools. What do you think? Are art classes required in your school, and do you feel like they make a difference?