Developing Children’s Critical Thinking Skills Through Arts
We are often faced with challenges that test our critical thinking skills. If it is not in the math test, we find it in our everyday life. It is therefore important that these skills are taught early on if we are to raise functional individuals. From simple decisions to complex choices with far-reaching consequences, critical thinking is imperative.
A lot of emphases has been put on stem subjects and their importance, particularly in career progression. There, however, needs an equally persistent push for the arts, not just for the potential opportunities promised but also for the role arts play in enhancing our critical thinking capabilities.
Why the Arts?
By nature, children are curious, and art seeks to exploit this positively so that the child can better express themselves. Art provides a practical learning experience, allowing the child to create solutions they see fit through their art projects. Children are able to create an ideal environment for themselves, determine what is ideal and what is not, and what is good and what is bad. Through this, children enhance their capacity to think critically and solve solutions to their hypothetical problems.
Through art, children are boundless and are free to make their own choices, unlike in a subject like math, where everything is pretty much definite and predetermined. They are allowed to make their observations and project them in the best way they know. Through teaching arts, learners have a better understanding and appreciation for art itself, the people that create as well as different cultures. Art also helps to instill values such as tolerance, discipline, and empathy. It allows for reflection, which is an important element of critical thinking.
Incorporating Art in the Classroom
For students to get the best from arts in school, there needs to be a well-thought-out arts program in the school first. Arts subjects need to be taken as seriously as STEM subjects are, and with equally as much attention given. Classrooms should be well equipped, and educators well trained. If we are being honest with ourselves, all other subjects borrow a thing or two from art. Careers in arts are equally meaningful and rewarding as STEM careers.
Arts can be incorporated into teachable subjects, including science. This may include illustrations and even artistic literature based on the subject. Class assignments such as making drawings and writing essays can also be used as tools to include arts in the classroom. This will help children understand the interrelationship between these subjects.