Do schools kill creativity? Why the arts matter

2:41 PM, Dec 08, 2017

Creativity is as important in education as literacy and should be treated with the same status. Ken Robinson promoted this idea in his famous TED talk, "Do Schools Kill Creativity?"


In the TED talk, Robinson shares his views that the current educational system that most schools are using today is outdated and focused primarily on standardized testing results.


“I share the same viewpoint as Sir Ken Robinson,” says Gregory Blount, Founder & Executive Director of the Eagle Arts Academy Charter School. “We are all born with natural talents, but by the time we have been through our educational system far too many of us have lost touch with them.”


Neuroscience behind the arts


Subjects like math, science, English and history often make up the core of education. Historically, schools analyzing diminishing budgets have cut arts first. But researchers and neuroscientists say infusing the arts into education is vital.


Children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and memory retrieval that also apply to other subjects, according to a three-year study. Cognitive neuroscientists at seven universities found strong links between arts education and cognitive development.


Additionally, researchers at Harvard’s Project Zero reported that arts education help students develop aesthetic awareness to help them grow as individuals. The university's Arts in Education program is founded on the belief that “the arts not only have intrinsic societal value, but also multiple roles in youth education and healthy development.”





Recognizing the value of the arts


High marks in core subjects are commonly lauded, and a student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, according to a report by Americans for the Arts.


“Excellent visual arts teaching helps learners navigate through our visual world using two qualitative and interlinked experiential processes: creative expression and critical response,” according to a study in Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences journal.


“For us here at the Eagle Arts Academy, we recognize that not all children learn the same,” says Blount. “My daughter is a creative visual child, so she needs added learning cues or technology to understand the standards that are being taught. This is why we incorporate center-based learning into each classroom. The children rotate through different exercises or lessons that are all teaching the same standard, but in different ways. A child may not understand it in the first one or two rotations, but by the time they get to the 3rd rotation, the lesson or standard is starting to make sense.”


Developmental benefits of studying the arts


Arts in education provides a foundation for development and cognitive processing, including with motor skills, language development, decision-making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness and improved academic performance, according to PBS Parents.


Many education policies recognize the value of arts, and parents, districts and policymakers must ensure they aren't eliminated from curricula.


By the numbers


In its research on the arts, Americans for the Arts has found many benefits:

  • Students who take four years of arts and music classes average almost 100 points higher on their SAT scores than students who take one-half year or less.
  • 72 percent of business leaders say creativity is the No. 1 skill they seek when hiring.
  • 93 percent of Americans believe the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded education.

Unfortunately, even though the arts is a core academic subject under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with 48 states adopting standards for learning them, Americans for the Arts has also found that two-thirds of public school teachers believe the arts are getting crowded out of the school day.


The goals of education


Three goals of education should be to prepare kids for jobs, prepare them to be citizens and teach them to be human beings who can enjoy deeper forms of beauty, according to education expert Tom Horne.


The power of visual learning and creative expression is vital in today’s graphic-heavy world. Screens are everywhere, and children are required to use and process information differently than in the past.


“Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers," Kerry Freedman, head of art and design education at Northern Illinois University, told PBS. "Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.”





Preparing the innovators of tomorrow


An evolving world depends upon evolving educational opportunities. Teaching and encouraging and creativity allows students of today to become the innovators of tomorrow. You can encourage your child's artistic education by exploring Eagle Arts Academy, which has an arts-infused curriculum designed to inspire students to discover and explore their unique and extraordinary potential. Students starting in kindergarten onward will learn true job skills in areas such as coding, animation, game design, acting and TV production.


The school focuses on nurturing students’ creativity and imagination in a fun and engaging manner, helping them to succeed, regardless of their learning style. Eagle Arts Academy serves children kindergarten through eighth grade.

Visit for more information and to schedule your free on-campus consultation.