Educator Asks:

Our school board keeps talking about " back to the basics" and test scores for reading, writing, and math. How do parents and teachers work together to make sure students have time to develop in the Arts?

Parent Answers:
We want school time dedicated to learning the Arts. As parents we can help advocate for this at school board meetings and community forums. Sure, reading, writing, and math are certainly important to our children, but an appreciation for the arts also enhances learning. Children develop creative thinking skills and communications abilities via the Arts. Researcher Howard Gardner has written about Multiple Intelligences, explaining that children process information through eight different ways. All modes of teaching must be used to effectively reach children.

Verbal-Linguistic - thinking and developing ideas through words
Logical-Mathematical - thinking and processing information through logic, number patterns, or sequential chains of reasoning
Bodily-Kinesthetic - using body movements and physical manipulation of objects to increase understanding of ideas
Visual-Spatial - building understanding through visuals -colors, forms, lines, textures, space, and the construction of models.
Musical-Rhythmic - learning through auditory input, such as listening to music, singing, or playing a musical instrument
Interpersonal - using interactions with others to learn and construct knowledge
Intrapersonal - sensitivity to one's own feelings and emotions to expand understandings about the world
Naturalist - a connection to nature helps children to gain and expand their knowledge.

        Teachers must offer activities for all these intelligences. Traditional teaching methods and standardized tests emphasize only the first two, reading/writing and math. Students must be offered opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge through presentations that include dance, music, visual art, theatre, and displays of nature. Parents can help teachers support these many ways of helping children learn and can point out to school boards that "Art is Basic" to child development.