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 NOT teaching Art, Drama, Foreign Language, etc. 
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I just looked at the NC graduation requirements. I was saddened (I'm not unbiased here - I'm studying to be a Spanish teacher) that foreign languages are no longer required for graduation for Career Preparation and College Tech tracks and only two credits are required for college prep. Not only that, art, drama, music, etc. have fallen by the wayside in terms of requirements. I believe this really scares me - the trend of going towards highly scientific/mathematical curricula. Don't get me wrong: I totally advocate rigorous schedules that are challenging to the student. However, I think it's scary that we're doing away with so many "right brained" activities. To me, these are activities of healthy expression. I feel they allow for better interpersonal interactions, as well. Furthermore, being able to speak a foreign language can help when it comes to international business, communication and understanding. There is a website (get it at the end of this post) that quotes: "Art helps children understand other subjects much more clearly - from math and science to language arts and geography. Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation and self-motivation. Participating in art activities helps children gain tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting others' ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem solving skills and communicating thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways." Learning how to work with other people, understand them, help each other - these are things that make a society work. If you take away the tools to help people learn and grow in the human experience, you are asking for trouble - at least I think this. Here's the website:
http://www.kinderart.com/artspeak/important.shtml

One last thougt: Have you ever wondered why art and music, etc. have such therapeutic qualities? They're GOOD for you!


Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:39 pm
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If it makes you feel better, in order to qualify for NC Scholars students are required to have 2 foreign languages, one art class, and one career and technical ed class along with the core classes. Another thing is that the majority of the students take a foreign language even though it isn't in their COS.
I agree that all students should be well-rounded. They should experience at least one class in each discipline. It would allow them to explore new avenues and maybe find what they truly like.


Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:08 pm
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This will probably make you feel worse. It's not scientific at all so you can discount it, but my husband is a therapist, and he says the vast majority of his teen drug abusing clients are more artistic than academic in their talents. He feels that since what they are good at is not valued highly in school, and what is valued is not what they do well, this contributes to their substance use profile. For whatever it's worth...


Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:49 pm
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Dana, you are quite insightful.

How are these artisitc students/adults/citizens supposed to find any worth in their craft? No, our schools do not foster a love of the arts. But, neither does our culture.

America is a land of production and consumption. If you are not part of the intricate system of creating and destroying then you really have no function here. We are going to be teachers. We, therefore, are functional. Hell you can be artistic and popular - - but only if you're entertaining.

Unfortunately, to reverse the direction of our schools' fundatmental focuses, we are going to have to reverse the very sinews of our culture.

So skip Wal Mart, forego Mickey D's, and go home, make some sushi, look at a painting, and think about life for a while.


Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:38 am
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I think as teachers we need to be the one's with a voice. We are the very people who need to advocate for arts in our schools. This of course can be done in many ways. I hope to incorporate creativity in my classroom as much as possible. We all know that every student has different needs and strengths. So lets give every studnet a chance for success in our own individual classes.


Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:20 pm
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I don't know what North Carolina is thinking here. The arts, drama, and music has all been de-emphasized and in some systems has been completely dropped due to funding. Some high school students really value these courses, and for some it gives them a reason to some to school. I have a brother who loves to sing, but cannot fit chorus into his schedule because of all the AP and college prep classes he is taking. I think something should be done about this, but I doubt there will be.


Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:51 pm
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I feel that the arts are such a vital part of a person's ability to express themselves. I know that music has been such a huge part of my life, and with that I have learned so much about things that make me happy and evoke emotion. There are times when singing, playing music, or just listening to beautiful music just calms me down and helps me relax.

I have been singing since a young child and playing many different instruments. They are such an outlet for expression and a way for people to lose themselves. It is definitely therapeutic for people. I find the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects of such programs. I can see how music programs could be helpful in encouraging them to channel their energies instead of turning to other things like drugs and alcohol. I know that academic acheivement is important, but sometimes it seems a little ridiculous how much emphasis is placed on being successful academically only. It is such a shame to see arts prgorams being removed from schools due to budget cuts, etc. The arts helped me tremendously. I am all for trying so hard to keep them in the schools. I think it is so very important and that the arts can make significant impacts on people of all ages.


Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:53 pm
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Our society is in denial.

We really do value the arts. Nearly everything in the media is visual, and all marketing is directed at our senses. Graphic designers are running amuck recently, and not a single aspect of society has escaped without their magical touch. Advertising strives to bombard our eyes with pleasurable sensations in order to stir some sort of reaction within our souls. That's what art is. Art is the experience that one encounters through the senses, and what that in turn does to your mind. As an art educator I not only wish to give this precious "expression" to my students, but to teach them what art can be--within every single one of us. It's not about teaching kids how to draw or paint, though that's part of it. Those are just tools used to get at the inner meaning of things. I'll be teaching students how to think in a way that they might not have considered before...

So yes, it saddens me greatly that people misunderstand the importance of what the arts mean, and I mean really mean. Art, dance, music, drama--it's absolutely necessary. Man does not live by math and science alone...


Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:06 am
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This is a very sad topic. It is really disheartening that these programs are deemphasized and often times taken out of the schools. Photography is one of my favorite art forms, and something that I spend alot of time emersed in. I took photography all 4 years of highschool, and it was something that truly helped me to get through the day. It helped me to relax and like Cynthia said, it truly was therapeutic. I cant imagine having to get through my highschool days without that outlet. Art, music, drama, etc. are all great forms of expression. They truly are beneficial to students, however the "high" people who decide where funding goes have not realized how helpful and great they are. It is our job to convince these people that they are cutting the wrong things. It is just so sad that we have so little funding that we have to cut anything at all. And unfortunately it is these areas that school board people choose to cut. We must unite and inform these people of the advantages of these areas of study.... I know that sounds corney but it really is true, we need to DO something about it instead of just addressing these problems and discussing them with each other.


Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:16 pm
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I feel that subjects such as art, music, drama, foriegn languages,or anything else should be emphasized a little more than they are. I totally agree that these subjects make for a well rounded student. These subject areas are great for helping to students to think in creative ways. For the promotion of good communication skills these subjects are a necessity. Theater or drama a excellent for challeging ones communication skills. For future teachers its great because it gets you use to being up in front of an audience of individuals of various backgrounds. Basically all subjects are good for making a well rounded individual.


Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:43 pm
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Like Nicole, I hope to be able to incorporate all of these "lost" classes into my classes, especially if the students aren't able to take them as full classes. I think that any teacher can work things like art, music and drama into their classes. Students can make posters and draw pictures to present their ideas or help them remember concepts. They can also sing songs or do skits to help get a point across. If nothing else, the importance of knowing foreign languages and valuing other cultures should be emphasized because our society is only going to become more globalized.


Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:31 pm
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