I'm swamped with homework, but since my educational endeavors are so closely related to my platform, I'm constantly finding things I want to blog about. I recently stumbled across this excerpt from Larry O'Farrell's essay "Writing Arts Curriculum in a Public Sector-Private Sector Partnership", which explains quite succinctly how beneficial the arts are in education.
"Experiences in the arts -- drama, dance, media arts, music and the visual arts -- play a valuable role in the education of all students. The arts nourish the imagination and develop a sense of beauty, while providing unique ways for students to gain insights into the world around them. All of the arts communicate through complex symbols-- verbal, visual and aural -- and help students understand aspects of life in different ways. Students gain insights into the human condition through exposure to works of art. They can imagine what it would be like to be in the same situation as a character in a play, an opera, or a painting, and try to understand that character's point of view. They identify common values, both aesthetic and human, in various works of art, and in doing so, increase their understanding of others and learn that the arts can have a civilizing influence on society. In producing their own works, they communicate their insights while developing artistic skills and aesthetic judgment. Since artistic activities are closely connected to play and human interaction, students experience a sense of wonder and joy when engaged in the arts, which can motivate them to participate more fully in cultural life and in other educational opportunities."