Teaching the arts of humanity is a great task. And can be a difficult task.
Art has been an important part of a well-rounded education for a long time, but in 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act made art a mandatory part of every child’s education in the United States.
Master of arts in teaching
Art is an important complement to the classes students take in the STEM and humanities fields, and it is taught at all levels of education, from elementary school to high school.
Art helps students develop their creativity and think about the material they are learning in new and different ways. In art classes, students are encouraged to try new things and express themselves in different ways than they might in their other classes. Art classes typically focus on visual expression through mediums like painting, drawing, crafts, sculpting, photography, and more. For many students, the art education they receive in school is the only exposure to art they get, which makes it an absolutely crucial part of their learning.
Elementary school art classes are typically very exploratory, and they focus on trying a variety of different projects and fostering students’ creativity in general. These classes teach children to appreciate and value art in their lives at a young age. Art classes at this level usually involve crafting, painting, and drawing at a basic level. However, the teacher usually has quite a bit of freedom to plan their own projects and lessons, and often tie their projects into other things that students are learning.
Middle school art classes seek to build on the concepts students learned in their elementary school classes. They will typically learn more advanced painting and drawing techniques, and they may also be introduced to other forms of visual art, like pottery, graphic design, and photography. Middle school classes often introduce art history to the curriculum as well.
High school classes are more specialized, and students can typically choose the type of art they would like to focus on. High school art classes dig deeper into art history, and they also introduce art theory, getting students to think critically about art instead of just presenting it as a fun activity. At this level, there may also be opportunities for students to explore art through extracurricular activities as well.
Although dance is not currently a mandatory school subject, it is an important factor in any well-rounded education. There are many different dance styles to choose from, ranging from ballet to hip-hop to ballroom, and they all have rich histories and cultural ties that make them worth learning about.
Some middle and high schools offer dance as an elective class, while others incorporate it into their physical education curriculum. Dance has become increasingly popular as an extracurricular activity as well. Not only does it encourage students to be creative, but it also improves their coordination, releases stress, and gets them to connect music with movement.
Drama is another performing art that is not currently mandatory in schools but is still usually offered in some form throughout a child’s education. Drama is very important to a well-rounded education and is a very relevant subject to study. It is typically offered as an extracurricular activity, although many schools offer drama classes or incorporate aspects of drama into other courses.
In a theater class, students will learn about different acting techniques, as well as the history of the work they are doing. Specifically, drama students will learn how to present themselves in front of a crowd, project their voices, and portray characters. Drama teachers educate students about theater history as well as specific plays, and they may also help students create their own dramatic works. Higher level theater classes typically also include education on stage directions, lighting, and sets.
Elementary school drama classes typically focus on simple skits that encourage student creativity. This often ties in with the literature that students are learning as well. As students get older, they practice dramatic scenes, learn about improvisation, and stage full-length plays and musicals. In many cases, most aspects of the play will be run by the students, with the drama teacher overseeing the final product.