The Power of Art in Education

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 -- Natalia Erling

During my years of grade school I often struggled with what I wanted to be when I became an adult. I think the same held true into my 20’s. Changing majors over my years in college, I finally discovered my true calling in life, Art! But how to make that into a substantial career was another challenge. Selling paintings at the local flea market didn’t seem very lucrative. Did I want to be a fashion designer? Perhaps an interior designer? Possibly a photographer. Then… There it was. Hanging high on a billboard. The art of graphic design! Teachers often find themselves challenged with a student that would rather doodle their daydreams than find the square root of a fraction. You find yourself wondering, ‘How can I ignite that spark to learn?’ Being that student once myself I can tell you that the flame burns bright. They are searching for that way to retain the information just as eagerly as you are to teach. Some call them “Right Brainers.”  Some call them the “Creative Type.” No matter what you call them, an explosion of color is waiting to burst through.

Art may seem frivolous at times, but it can be a great developmental tool for every child. It can help a child to develop communication skills, problem solving skills, social and emotional skills, and help to develop fine motor skills in very young children.  If you look close enough, art is infused into every school subject. There is chemistry in inks. A math problem lurks within every design layout. You can find fascinating history on Van Gogh (maybe even a little psychology as well). Art has been used for centuries. It was even used by cavemen and great pharaohs to tell their stories in time.

Perhaps these things can help you reach that special creative student or any student. Creativity is indeed a powerful and yet somewhat mystical ability that brings with it a vast array of opportunities and skills that can enhance and better our lives. Let’s pick up those colored markers and start creating! Here are some examples of how to incorporate art into your classroom:

  • Visual note taking is sure to help any student retain the day’s lesson
  • Create a funny meme with a photograph
  • Art isn’t always visual; have your students create a funny limerick
  • Recycle materials such as cereal boxes and use them as chipboard to make a study guide book
  • Playing soft classical music during study time has been proven to help retention levels

However you choose to incorporate art into your class, the outcome is sure to be enjoyed by all.