Education is a system of collaboration. Each subject, even though it may seem distinct in its own way, relates to the knowledge students gain in other subjects. In this way, students learn about the world by making connections. This inter-relatedness is easily seen between subjects which have clear links, such as Chemistry and Biology, for example, but there are many other links which teachers may not be aware of.
Art is such a subject which is often neglected by teachers as it is viewed as a superficial subject, a filler subject which is used to occupy a slot in the timetable. This ignorance of teachers to the benefits of learning art must be the reason Art as a subject is not given as much importance as it should.
Instruction in fine art encourages creative thinking, imagination and self-expression. Learning about art means that students are not only learning about the subject but are learning to think and communicate differently, too. Plus, Art as a subject has clear links to literature, drama, dance and music but also to mathematics, language, science and social studies.
Teachers may feel that art subjects are very teacher-led, but this does not have to be the case as art lessons are very practical and students can be left to their devices to express themselves. While teachers are definitely needed to provide a model and a framework for the students to follow, students can be given the responsibility to accomplish their goal however they see fit. Of course, some students will be better than others with the practical elements of art, but they will still all benefit from the experience.
However, it is also possible to incorporate elements of art into your classroom lessons without reverting to an entire Art lesson. Teachers can supplement the theoretical learning of their subject with activities based on artistic practices. Teaching theory using another medium will aid students’ retention and contribute to their comprehension.
If teachers feel a little apprehensive about incorporating art or design principles and practices into the classroom, perhaps if they feel they are not artistic themselves, they can make use of the Internet for ideas. Many art galleries have links on their websites to various activities which relate to works of art or art techniques and other subject material.
Or teachers can make use of the outside world. No matter where you are, there are bound to be local art schools in your community. Local art schools provide a wealth of information on art and offer an opportunity to engage with artists and their work.
Students can visit art exhibitions and view artworks of local artists, or they could take art lessons from professional art teachers. It may even be possible for students to meet and engage with the artists to discuss their work. This can release the pressure from the teachers as they will still be there to guide and assist their learners where necessary, but there won’t be a need for them to be showcase their own artistic skills.
There are many reasons Art should not be overlooked as a serious subject in our school curriculum. Art has been shown to benefit our students in a number of different ways, and it provides a welcome change from other lessons. Even if the teacher is not comfortable dealing with art concepts and projects, there are still ways for art to be incorporated into our lessons.