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The Impact of Not Having the Arts in Elementary Schools

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The Impact of Not Having The Arts in Elementary Schools
A Review of the Literature
Detra B. Bynum
Capella University

Author Note
This paper was prepared for Education 5200, taught by
Leonard Snyder

My literature review will show a connection between cognition, social and emotional development and the arts. Some students in schools where the arts are an integral part of the academic program tend to do better in school than those students where that is not the case. It will also show why it is so important to have art and music classes in the elementary schools. It will also show how the teachers can help develop cognitive skills by using the arts in their lesson plan. They can intertwine the creative arts curriculum with other subject such as reading; math and science to develop better studying, concentration and listening skills. Studies will show that children need expressionism with the other subjects to complete their learning process. The review will show why the arts need to be implemented back in the curriculum of elementary schools.

We have the opinions of others, that younger school children should be required to study math language; science and history are those people who think it may not be necessary to learn art and music. Contrary to those people's viewpoint, my strong opinion regarding that statement is that younger school children have to be required to study art and music. This literature review may point out that art and music play unique roles in our society. We can see art or hear music almost everywhere in our lives. For instance, art exists in our lamps, in our bottles, in our computers, or even in nature. Also, we can find music in restaurants, in concerts, in our phone rings, or even in the chirps of birds hopping on the fences of our balconies. To make a hypothesis, if art and music disappear, how could we live? How could we enjoy our day? We would feel bored and meaningless. It is needed in our lives; we would understand it is significant to possess art and music. “Certain brain areas respond only to music while others are devoted to initiating and coordinating movement from intense running to the delicate sway of the arms. Drama provokes specialized networks that focus on spoken language and stimulate emotions. Visual arts excite the internal visual processing system to recall reality or create fantasy with the same ease.” (Sousa, 2006).

Author’s Personal Thoughts When studying of the arts, students are more likely to be able to describe their thoughts in greater detail, reason better with multiple critical factors, and predict findings from the information they have been given. Students without a strong art background are less likely to be able to think on those levels or to reach such thinking levels effectively. It’s like we’re moving backward instead of forward. With all of the findings pointing towards the benefits of the arts in our schools, it’s hard to believe why politicians and school boards are considering cutting art from the curriculum. As the debate rages, it will only help that we increase studies and keep reporting the findings. Our dim future of facts and figures will only change into a bright one with art and culture if we keep pressing our point the way the opposition does. Maybe if the lawmakers work with the teachers to see what a day is like with the arts as part of the curriculum, they will understand a little better. The Unique Roles the Arts have on our Society A point worth mentioning is that, studying art and music not only means learning two new subjects, but also two kinds of media to discover, appreciate and create beauty in our lives. As we know, art and music serve for delight, for ability, and for philosophy. Requiring children to study them is essential to our modern education. Nowadays, children need to learn the knowledge, which is able to launch a rocket into space, as well as the knowledge that can assist us in finding our internal sound. What is more, when their knowledge structures are complete and skills are mature, inspiration will flow into their minds. Hence, it is necessary to get them studying art and music in addition to math, language, science and history.

In sum, there is absolutely no reason for me to reject the idea that children should be required to study art and music, in addition to math, language, science and history. By given the statement above, it is not ridiculous for me to conclude that children ought to learn more to have an idea of the definition of beauty. The basic statement is unlikely to be challenged by anyone involved in education; this is what I believe due to how they made changes to the education law. In the sometimes-harsh reality of limited time and funding for instruction, however, the inclusion of the arts in every student's education can sometimes be relegated to a distant wish rather than an exciting reality. It doesn't have to be that way. All that's needed is a clear message sent to all those who must make the hard choices involved in running a school or school system. The basic message is that the arts programs in the schools help our kids and communities in real and substantial ways. The following facts about the benefits of music education, based on a growing body of convincing research, to move decision-makers to make the right choices. Each of us wants our children; and the children of all those around us to achieve success in school, success in employment, and success in the social structures through which we move. We also want our children to experience "success" on a broader scale. Participation in music, often, which is based on grounding in music education during the formative school years, brings countless benefits to each individual throughout life. The benefits may be psychological or spiritual, and they may be physical as well.

Dr. DeBakey states that, "Studying music encourages self-discipline and diligence, traits that carry over into intellectual pursuits that lead to effective study and work habits. An association of music and math has, in fact, long been noted. Creating and performing music promotes self-expression and provides self-gratification while giving pleasure to others. In medicine, increasing published reports demonstrate that music has a healing effect on patients. For all these reasons, it deserves strong support in our educational system, along with the other arts, the sciences, and athletics." (Stopps, 2006)
How does art and music help the students learn?
“The ability to create a form of experience that can be regarded as artistic requires a mind that animates our imaginative capacities, be it visual, choreographic musical, dramatic, literary, or poetic, ergo the arts require many forms of thinking.” (Eisner, 2002) Here are some indicators why the arts should be in the schools; “It contributes to making a well-rounded student, encourages the pursuit of extracurricular hobbies, fantastic stress reliever, provides a sense of worth and it is a showcase for creative expression. Art encourage your child’s inner artist by given them freedom to be messy, draw outside lines and see beauty in there wild scribbles.” (Eisner, 2002) By having art classes it will boosts creativity, releases stress or frustration in a healthy way and there is no wrong answer. Also the best thing about painting and drawing is that students of all ages can do it at any skill level. Instruction in basic art class includes learning about the color wheel, different mediums (oil, charcoal, and watercolor paints) and experimenting with landscapes.
Who is affected by not having art and music in schools? The Teacher or students?
“The federal law mandate has been blamed for the reduction of learning opportunities in the arts and other subjects because schools are required to test children in math and reading.” (Spohn, 2008) “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." (Albert Einstein, n.d)
Teachers teach children to read, write, do math, and much more. They use games, videos, computers, and other tools to teach children different subjects. They show students skills. They also explain information. Teachers plan their lessons before they teach which can take a lot of time. Teachers try to make their lessons easy to understand. They teach things in different ways so that different students can learn in the way that is easiest for them. Teachers might use a chalkboard, a projector, or a computer. They make posters or worksheets before class starts. Teachers plan the schedule for the day. Most teachers have to teach what the principal tells them. However, the children need the process of the art, this allows the artist to give image, word, sound, or movement to something that is often intangible - that is what young children do every day. They are born artists and scientists. Young children explore the arts with both a creative and a scientific "eye." The artist in them searches for creative expression, and the scientist figures out the way to do it! Our role is to provide them with the materials and inspiration, then to stand back and let them go!
What does having art and music in the schools do for the children? “This reciprocal system of art and music reinforcing other content areas and other content areas reinforcing art and music helps students see connections across the curriculum and results in a more integrated approach to learning.” (Wolpow,r & Tonjes, M. (2006) This concept is readily seen in the field of literacy. Also stated in Alverman & Phelps, 2002; Readence, Bean, & Baldwin, (2004) The current focus on literacy in elementary schools has spawned the inclusion of reading and writing strategies into most, if not all, content areas, and research has shown the effectiveness of this assimilation. During reading instruction, students are often taught to use visualization as an aid to comprehension. We encourage them to create pictures in their minds to make their own personal meanings and connections (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000; Routman, 2003).
In addition, as part of most music curriculums, instruments were discussed, and students became familiar with their sounds and contributions to the selection. Developing this ability to visualize and closely listen can aid students in many subject areas besides language arts and music.
Why was art and music taken out of schools? “Currently, the nation is implementing national legislation designed to teach every child to read, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). A major intent is to screen early reading failure and begin remediation to avoid enrolling children in special education. Federal grants go to states that fund specific projects to carry out this presidential initiative. What instruction should be employed to help this funding accomplish the legislative objectives? Does music have a role in ensuring that children can read? If so, what would be the most effective music-related reading instruction? What specific reading skills are affected by music instruction? What does the music-reading research reveal concerning these issues? Because Annual Yearly Progress only measures math and reading skills, schools have no incentive to test any other subjects. Achievement in other areas would not affect funding and, therefore, schools also have no incentive to fund them properly.” (Beveridge, 2010) The problem is that these decisions are normally made by people who have no idea about the education process. All they understand are money and regulations. When we place our problems in the hands of legislatures, that’s what we can expect. Politicians take a look at the schools and see an art budget. They ask what impact art has on our students. But, not enough studies back the fact that art impacts learning across the curriculum. . It was once said by Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States: “Music is about communication, creativity and cooperation and by studying the arts in school; students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives and experience the world from a new perspective.” (American.Gov, 2008) The nation’s elementary school children have felt the impact of No Child Left Behind in many different fashions. Not only are the so called 'normal children' being impacted by the act's mandates, the children who are identified as 'underserved' are also feeling the impact. These are children who are receiving services in gifted education programs, special education programs, and programs for the educationally disadvantaged.
In conclusion, the lawmakers want to cut corners on the learning process and think that is the best way to get information in the brains of children. But that doesn’t always work, the children don’t retain the information that is force down their mouths and the government is fast to label these children: learning disability, behavior problems, etc. Children need creativity to help process what they learned. Children need to learn how to concentrate, study and listen. That is part of the learning process. Please lawmakers wake up and take another look at what you are doing to the children of the United States, they are not learning to their compasity due to part of the learning process is missing. The No Child Left Behind initiative actually increases student time spent on math and reading. Often cutting time spent on art, the schools deny students of the learning they need. When studying art, students are more likely to be able to describe their thoughts in greater detail, reason better with multiple critical factors, and predict findings from the information they have been given. Students without a strong art background are less likely to be able to think on those levels or to reach such thinking levels effectively. It’s like we’re moving backward instead of forward. With all of the findings pointing towards the benefits of art in our schools, it’s hard to believe why politicians and school boards are considering cutting art from the curriculum. As the debate rages, it will only help that we increase studies and keep reporting the findings. Our dim future of facts and figures will only change into a bright one with art and culture if we keep pressing our point the way the opposition does. Maybe if the lawmakers work with the teachers to see what a day is like with the arts as part of the curriculum, they will understand a little better. I do believe that more studies need to be done to show the government what they did was not helping the children.
However, simply using music while learning does not absolutely guarantee recall but can possibly improve it. Music does enter into memory along with the information learned and the same music used for learning is used during recall. Also the tempo appears to be a key music’s effect on memory.
My Capella specialization is Postsecondary and Adult Education, and my career goal is to start a learning center were children and adults can come and help in reading, GED prep and tutoring. There are so many people out there that need help and don’t have the resources to better themselves or in another way of saying it is updating their education. This course has taught me so much, like thinking outside the box, participation in online discussions and meeting new people.

Alverman, D. E., & Phelps, S. F. (2002). Content reading and literacy: Succeeding in today's diverse classrooms. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Beveridge, T. (2010). No Child Left Behind and Fine Arts Classes. Longview, WA: Heldref Publications
Eisner, E. (Ed.). (2002). The arts and the creation of minds. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work. York, ME: Stenhouse.
Readence, J. E., Bean, T. W., & Baldwin, R. S. (2004). Content area literacy: An integrated approach (8th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
Routman, R. (2003). Reading essentials: The specifics you need to teach reading well. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Sousa, D. (2006). How the Arts DEVELOP THE YOUNG BRAIN. School Administrator, 63(11), 26-31. Retrieved from Professional Development Collection database.
Spohn, Cydney, (2008). Teacher Perspectives on No Child Left Behind and Arts Education: A Case Study, Heldref Publication, 3-11
Albert Einstein. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2012, from Web site:
Stopps, A. (2006, December 16). The benefits of learning music. Retrieved from WWW.American.Gov.(2008, December 16). The sound of music in schools. Retrieved from
Wolpow, R., & Tonjes, M. (2006). Integrated content literacy (5th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt

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