IS IT IMPORTANT TO TEACH ARTS AND HUMANITIES TO CHILREN?1
Is it important toteach Arts and Humanities to Children?
Arts and humanities encompass subjects such as dance, music, theater,sociology, and philosophy, among others. These subjects have beenheralded as having the potential to impart certain skills thatproduce well-rounded individuals as seen through the work of renownedscholars such as Shakespeare and Socrates. Over the recent past, thefunding for these subjects has decreased globally. This has been as aresult of the thinking that the modern world only needs individualswith technical skills. This paper supports the learning of arts andhumanities by children by arguing that these subjects enhance theacquisition of knowledge, relieve any stress present in the educationsystem, and develop well-rounded young learners who possess skillsthat strengthen their interaction with the environment.
Main argument: children should be taught arts and humanities.
Premise 1: art and humanities provide children with different methodsthey can use to synthesize cognitive information and express theirknowledge.
Premise 2: arts and humanities act as a stress reliever to younglearners as they begin the process of acquiring skills and knowledge.
Premise 3: the learning of arts and humanities aids in thedevelopment of well-rounded children.
Premise 4: arts and humanities improve the students’ interactionwith their environment.
Conclusion: It is important for children to learn arts andhumanities.
The strength of the above argument is that the conclusion follows thepremises seamlessly. If all the premises are accepted as true, theconclusion becomes correct automatically. The argument is deductivebecause specific premises are applied to a larger general context.Consequently, the argument is a valid deductive assertion.
Arts and humanities equip children with different methods ofsynthesizing cognitive information and expressing their knowledge. Asopposed to other areas such as science and mathematics, arts andhumanities do not have specific answers or ways of doing things. Assuch, children are not limited to having a specific understandingregarding certain concepts. After studying philosophy, two childrenpresented with the same scenario will come to different conclusions.On the other hand, if two children presented with the samemathematical problem do not have the same answer, then something iswrong.
Arts and humanities act as a stress reliever to young learners.Children have low concentration and hence they may find it hard tomemorize the numerous concepts studied in subjects such asmathematics and science. This may make some of them to adopt anegative perception towards education. Some children do not performwell in technical subjects and this may lower their self-esteem to apoint that such learners may opt to take the easy way out in terms ofaccepting that they cannot excel in class work. The likelihood of achild having a negative attitude toward himself/herself is reducedwhen he/she is introduced to arts and humanities. Besides, researchshows that students whose curriculum emphasize on arts and humanitiestend to enjoy the learning process and consequently are less likelyto be demoralized by failure in certain subjects. According to Upitis(2011), involvement in arts results in a fulfilling experience thatis crucial for a happy life. Subjects such as science and mathematicsare future oriented in the way they aim at helping the young studentssecure jobs upon completing their education. This may take manyyears, considering that children have over 15 years of class workbefore obtaining a university degree. As Upitis (2011) notes, artssubjects aim at helping students to live in time by making learningenjoyable.
In addition to relieving stress, arts and humanities improve thechildren’s interaction with their environment. The U.S Departmentof Education (2011) cites President Obama, who said that arts andhumanities help students consider new ways of seeing and thinkingabout the world. Children taking these subjects learn the values ofdifferent cultures and particular social problems, among otheraspects of life that help them become active participants in theirinteraction with the environment.
Apart from helping children interact better with their environment,arts and humanities assist in the development of well-rounded younglearners. Each subject that is part of arts and humanities equipschildren with new perspectives about the world. For example, historyprovides children with a sense of time that surpasses the here andnow. On the other hand, culture and geography empower children with asense of place and space. Besides, some realities about the worldcannot be expressed in numbers and words, making certain artssubjects pertinent to young learners (The U.S Department ofEducation, 2011). For example, songs, dramas, and paintings help tomake catastrophic incidents such as genocides, tsunamis, andearthquakes real to the audience.
Those who hold contrary opinion think that teaching arts andhumanities alienate children from the core subjects, preventing themfrom developing technical skills at such a critical learning pointfor the young minds. People who hold such opinion tend to argue thatbecause of the fun involved in arts and humanities, children arelikely to shun subjects that require one to understand complexconcepts. Besides, some people think that arts and humanitiesemphasize on creativity and thinking outside the box yet these twoskills are less important when one is acquiring technical skills.According to Burriesci (2015), “the modern world understandseconomic metric as the only units of measurement and as such, thefeasibility of subjects is measured by their return on investment.”It is for this reason that sciences are emphasized as compared to thearts and humanities because of the former`s ability to nurture theworkforce needed for the modern industries. Some individuals thinkthat teaching arts and humanities provide children with a simple wayto out of the daunting process of acquiring technical skills.Consequently, persons who hold that children should not be introducedto arts and humanities argue that taking these subjects tend toworsen the current high unemployment rate. One of the reasons thatare attributed to the current high rate of unemployment is a faultyeducation system that fails to consider the needs of the job market.
In rebuttal, learning art and humanities does not prevent childrenfrom acquiring the technical skills they require to excel in schools.Instead, it helps to boost academic performance. The various subjectsthat comprise arts and humanities serve to enhance performance incertain disciplines such as history, writing, and mathematics. Forexample, drawings improve a child’s handwriting while poetry andsongs enhance the young learner’s memory. Arts and humanitiesemphasize the need to understand a concept as opposed to memorizingit. Each subject that comprises the arts and humanities has adistinct symbol system that can either be verbal or non-verbal. While music relies on sound, dance makes use of moves. Exposingchildren to all these alternate systems of symbols put to task theirminds as the process requires much analysis, evaluation, synthesis,and application. On the other hand, research shows that individualsgraduating in arts and humanities degrees are in high demand the sameas their counterparts holding science and related certificates. Assuch, it is not true that arts and humanities have no place in themodern technology-driven economies. Grasgreen (2014) argues thatemployers are seeking to employ individuals with a broad knowledgebase who can work to solve problems, think critically, debate, andcommunicate. All these skills are only available to people who wereintroduced to arts and humanities at a tender age. Besides, diversityin skills and knowledge is crucial to the success of an organizationand the society as well. As such, the argument that teaching childrenarts and humanities is positioning them to fail as these subjects aredeemed as less valuable by employers does not hold any ground.
In conclusion, the study of arts and humanities dates many years ago.However, the rise of modern economies that relies on technology andindustries has made some people to question the need to invest in thelearning of arts and humanities by children. As opposed to scienceand mathematics, arts and humanities encourage independent thinkingas children are not confined to predetermined outcomes. Besides, artsand humanities serve to reduce the boredom that characterizes themodern education system that is grade-oriented and that has ignoredthe mental needs of students.
Burriescie, M. (2015). “Matt Burriesci: The Arts and Humanitiesaren’t worth a Dime.”https://www.guernicamag.com/daily/matt-burriesci-the-arts-and-humanities-arent-worth-a-dime/
Grasgreen, A. (2014). “Liberal arts grads win long-term.”https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/22/see-how-liberal-arts-grads-really-fare-report-examines-long-term-data
The U.S Department of Education. (2011). “The arts and humanitiesin a well-rounded education.” http://blog.ed.gov/2011/10/the-arts-and-humanities-in-a-well-rounded-education/
Upitis, R. (2011). Arts Education for the Development of the WholeChild.http://www.etfo.ca/Resources/ForTeachers/Documents/Arts%20Education%20for%20the%20Development%20of%20the%20Whole%20Child.pdf