Whether you are a parent or a teacher, you will be aware that the world that our children will enter as adults is likely to be very different from the one that we experienced. Technology and economic uncertainty is transforming every aspect of our society, and this has led many people to emphasize tech, math and science in education.
These subjects are important, but there is a danger in emphasizing them at the expense of the arts. Parents who send their children to one of the popular Hong Kong international schools choose an overseas education at one of these establishments as they tend to place equal value on all subjects, including the arts.
Subjects such as music, art or theater are not just an optional extra to entertain children but also play a vital role in child development. Here are some of the reasons why the arts are of vital importance in education.
In the future, as technological skills become more widespread and automation and artificial intelligence take over many of the technical aspects of our jobs, there is likely to be an increasing demand for people who can think creatively. However, creative thinking doesn’t just happen – it has to be encouraged and nurtured, and subjects such as music and art are the ideal way to teach a child to develop their creativity.
Boosting Academic Performance
It isn’t just a child’s creativity that gets a boost when they study the arts. The skills that they pick up in these subjects influence their overall academic achievement. According to research by Americans for the Arts, children who regularly participate in arts subjects are up to four times more likely to be recognized for their academic performance.
Mastering any subject will always help a child to feel confident, but there is something peculiar to the arts that can give a child a confidence boost. Whether it is getting up on stage to sing or reciting a poem of their own composition, the act of participating helps children to get out of their comfort zone, and as they improve, their self-confidence grows.
Participation in the arts also encourages a child to develop important critical thinking and problem-solving skills, such as deciding how to play a certain character in a play or how to sing a particular line in a song. Going through this process will help them develop the vital decision-making skills that will be essential to them as adults.
Many arts subjects, such as choir or theater, require children to work together in a variety of ways, from dividing up responsibilities, to compromising and working in harmony towards a common goal. The ability to collaborate effectively is likely to be a key skill in the digital economy of the future, and the arts can give children a solid grounding in working together.
There’s no doubt that rapidly developing technology will require our children to learn some hard technical skills, but it is also important that the arts are not neglected, and that the value that subjects such as art and music can add to education is not forgotten.