By Catelin Schwoerer
Students at Freedom High School seem to enjoy their creative electives during school. The thrill of doing something they are passionate about keeps them energized and motivated throughout the day.
“[Artistic classes] provide a sense of inspiration and freedom,” a student in Studio Art 1 said.
“I think creative electives can help bring out one’s talents in art, music, etc. They give me a break from other intensive classes that I have in the day,” a student in Music Production said.
Not only do students get enjoyment out of these classes, but they can also notice academic attributes from them.
A study conducted by Tamlin S. Conner with 658 university students found that people who engage in a creative activity once a day are happier than those who do not. Their skill in this area does not affect this, either. They reap the benefits even if they are not successful at the activity.
The researchers of this study confirm that these findings support “everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
Artistic expression has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Another study of university students shows that after engaging in a creative activity, the anxiety levels of those students decreased.
Researchers from UCLA found that students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized tests than those who were not involved heavily in the arts. Students highly involved in the arts also watched less television, engaged in more community service, and were less bored in school.
A study conducted by Kathryn Vaughn and Ellen Winner also showed that the more years that students engaged in the arts, the higher their SAT scores turned out to be. The data showed a linear pattern, with students who have taken 4 or more years of art classes having the highest scores.
Even knowing this information, art classes are becoming less of an option for students nationwide. When the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB Act) was passed, it put more focus on core subjects including math, reading, science, and social studies.
Schools put more funding into these subjects since they require standardized testing— increasing the budget would raise those scores. With funds raised for these classes, the budget for art classes with supplies required got cut first. This led to a drastic decrease in arts opportunities in schools throughout the U.S.
Here at Freedom, we have many artistic electives for students to choose from, ranging from Studio Art to Clothing Creation to Voice Class. Seeing all of the benefits that derive from them, it is important that we keep our elective diversity wide at Freedom. The variety should not be declining in schools across the U.S.— more should be done to keep these valuable classes accessible to students.