Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Their Words

Last week I finished up my first semester as an online art teacher. I asked students to complete a final test, which included some vocabulary and history but largely consisted of essay questions. I have chosen one question from the final to share that I think really shows how my students felt about their experience in an online art class.
The Question: 
Often times, the arts (music and fine art) are cut from schools for budgeting reasons. Imagine that you are at a school board meeting and art is about to get cut from the school. Share 3 reasons why the art program should not be cut from the school.
The Answers:
“Art programs should not be cut from the school because 1. art allows students to show their creativity. 2. Art brings out everyone's inner thoughts, it allows them to express their feelings. 3. As a student that's been in art, since she can remember, I am not such a good artist. But being in art, I just begin doing a project, and can't stop. It helps me stay calm, as for other classes I am stressing, art allows me to let out that stress. When I pick up a pencil, I feel all the tension being released on the paper. Art is like music in ways, music releases stress for some people, as art does for others.”
“Art programs, just as athletics or other educational programs, allow people to find talents they might not have known they had, and work together to hone those talents. We have to remember that not everyone thrives only on academics, and that many of the men and women we revere in our culture; we revere because of their art. Further more, these revered artists among us may never have succeeded if it wasn't for the support and motivation of their teachers and mentors. It is my opinion that students should be exposed to the broadest spectrum of learning experiences possible. This way there is a greater chance that those in school can find a vocation, talent, or passion, that they can develop and possibly turn into a career or contribution to society someday.”
“Art programs should not be cut from school because it involves critical thinking in deciding how to get work to turn out its best.  Art can bring together different cultures because it is influenced by people from all over the world.  Art has sharing and learning involved as students can share their work and others can learn to improve or show more effort in their work.”
“The art program should not be cut from the school for three main reasons. For starters, art is a way for the students to express themselves and work out their feelings. Art is often times used as a stress reliever. Also, art can provide a satisfying career for people. How else are students to develop their skills and practice, if art is not offered at the school? In order to major in art, colleges require incoming students to present their portfolios. Without art in the high school they came from, that portfolio will be diminished if there has been no formal instruction. Lastly, art provides an opportunity for growth in creativity, and practice in patience and control. In today's world where most things come with instant gratification, art is one thing where the person must invest their time and patience. Art offers an incredible opportunity to practice these skills that are important for later in life. For these reasons, art should remain a program at the school.”
I was so proud to see students showing their passion for the subject of visual arts. Throughout the semester I had the pleasure of watching students become more comfortable creating and sharing art and more knowledgeable about its history. What a positive experience for all!

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