The Art of Education
In high school, there are courses that are mandatory and those that are not. One course that is not currently required is art. Not the crafty art classes they have in middle school, but serious art classes that really teach students about styles, mediums, history, and technique. High school students would benefit enormously from mandatory art courses.
Creating art is more than just drawing lines on a paper or swishing a bush around a canvas. It’s more than just copying what you see. Art is a high level cognitive function and should be taught as such. When a person draws an object, for example, they begin by forming a mental replica of the object. In order to portray the object on the page, the person must be able to visualize the object and understand its spacial properties. To do this, they construct the object in their mind, much like creating a 3-dimensional image on a computer. Then they reconstruct that onto the paper with their pencil. Eventually, a person can learn how to construct images in their mind without looking at the real, physical object. Through art, students can be taught how to think 3-dimensionally and abstractly. All of this improves students’ cognitive skills and mental abilities which will help them in other courses throughout their education.
Art is also a very successful form of self expression. A problem a lot of students seem to have nowadays, is learning how to express themselves. Many don’t know how and turn to methods that are ineffective or harmful to themselves and/or others. Art is a safe and relaxing way for people to express themselves. And, because the expression has taken a physical form in art, a person can see their troubles and concerns right in front of them and be able to work through them.
Another thing about art courses, which the students will definitely support, is that it can be a very fun class. So many times students grumble and complain about having to go to this class or that class. But art is a class that everyone can find something to enjoy and everyone can be good at. Just because one student can’t render well doesn’t mean they’re bad at art. Styles such as abstract and impressionism are very popular around the world, so why can’t they be in the classroom? They can and should be explored as much as any other style. Everyone has different tastes, so learning about all of the styles will make sure that everyone can find something they find pleasing and can enjoy.
High schools should make art courses mandatory for students. Art will help the students develop and grow mentally, as well as be able to express themselves in an appropriate manner. Plus, art is fun! It’s a class that students, parents, and teachers will all be happy about.