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California State University Long Beach

Hands-on Art Instruction

Kayla Workman 007183668 Art 305 Sec 9855 Laurie Gatlin 4 November 2013

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In this 21st century era a certain level of technological prowess is necessary for teachers in many subjects, if not all subjects, however, I do not feel the burden to use technology is greater for art teachers than it is for teachers of any other subject in a students K-12 educational experience. The emphasis to introduce technology into the classroom as a tool rather than merely a toy begins early on in this day and age. I know of several elementary school classrooms that have access to iPads for technological education, as well as several elementary school students who have their own personal iPads to play with in their free time. Technology has become much a part of everyday life, even for such young children, and I feel that while it is important to teach technology it should not be the main focus of any particular core classroom. I feel that in this era many students already have plenty of access to technology at home. At home [The student] picks [their] applications and easily moves from one to another. [The student] is self-taught, self-directed, and highly motivated. [The student] is locally and globally connected (November). I think it is important to emphasize technological use in many core academic classrooms, such as English and Science because technology is an important part of careers in those particular fields. I understand and support the use of technology in many classrooms however this does not mean that I feel technology necessarily needs to be

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emphasized in most art classrooms. One can form the subject matter of an entire class around the basics of technological art and I think that is amazing. Yes, technology is used in many fields of art and it is important to realize the technological aspects of many forms of art. Yet, art has been hand made for thousands of years. Many models are based on new findings in brain research and cognitive development, and they embrace a variety of approaches [including] hands-on art instruction (Smith). There are numerous reasons why art instruction should emphasize hands-on activities. One major reason that art instruction should emphasize hands-on activities is that it is simply fun. Students, young and old, generally enjoy handson activities. The arts play an important role in human development, enhancing the growth of cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor pathways (Sousa). When art activities emphasize the hands-on aspect students have a greater sense of connection to the work or assignment. Students are often more enthusiastic and pay more attention when assignments are hands-on activities; these students are often more motivated to work harder on hands-on assignments that they genuinely enjoy working on. This well known fact holds true in all subjects, not just art. Years of research show that [this is] closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity (Smith).

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Human beings need to be image producers. The imagery process is a process of creating mental images or pictures; this ability has helped mankind evolve for hundreds of thousands of years. As students today engage with electronic media that produce external images, they are not getting adequate practice in generating their own internal imaging and imagining, skills that not only affect survival but also increase retention and, through creativity, improve the quality of life (Sousa). Hands-on art instruction helps increase and enhance this important and fundamental aspect of the human brain. Students who have more experience and practice with creating and using imagery display more creativity in their art as well as in assessments in their various other courses as well. Hands-on art, particularly for younger students, is important because it helps develop the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for voluntary muscle movement and fine motor skills. When young children are exposed to art and get a chance to experience painting, cutting, gluing, and drawing they are able to practice and gain fine muscle control. These students are gaining skills necessary later in life for writing and expressing their physical control over themselves and other aspects of their world (Seefeldt). These students are also gaining hand-eye coordination as well as improving their perceptual awareness. Awareness of colors, shapes, forms, lines, and textures result as children observe these and try to replicate them through art (Seefeldt).

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Despite the realization that physical activity enhances brain function and learning the majority of students spend most of their time during school sessions sitting down (Sousa). Hands-on art instruction promotes movement in the classroom. This movement enhances brain functioning. Activities that involve movement also help the students get rid of some kinesthetic energy which leads them to become more able to concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand. Art activities that promote movement also enhance sensory and perceptual awareness as well as activate the kinesthetic sensory system. Hands-on activities in art also promote positive and healthy habits that can be used in other subjects as well as in life. Creating a work of art from start to finish teaches students that taking small steps and practicing something can lead to growth and development in various fields of study. It teaches them to analyze the final outcome they are trying to reach and it teaches them how to plan out a process for reaching that goal. Creating a work of art from start to finish teaches students to slow down and analyze each step of the process. It teaches students that small mistakes early on can magnify into larger mistakes later. Creating a work of art from start to finish by hand teaches students to be persistent and to be patient. When art instruction is hands-on it has immediate rewards, focuses on positive achievements, develops concrete products, and fosters collaboration (Seif).

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Hands-on instruction in art classrooms also promotes self-assessment activities and thought processes. Hand-on art instruction provides students with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate and show off the skills they have worked hard to acquire through authentic performance and action. The arts enable children to grow in confidence and learn how to think positively about themselves and learning (Seif). Instructional activities that are hands-on in the art classroom give students various opportunities to make choices and solve problems. How does one stick the legs onto a clay form? What color best suits this piece? How does one mix this particular shade of green given the colors already available? How is the lighting affecting the shadow of this object? While experiences these problem solving situations and choice making opportunities students gain the knowledge that their perspective is incredibly different from that of anyone else. By comparing their thoughts, choices and ideas to the work of others, as well as by having to explain what led to their particular thoughts, choices and ideas, students are gaining confidence in themselves as well as gaining an understanding of and valuing diversity. Learning the arts provides a higher quality of human experience throughout a person's lifetime (Sousa). I feel that while this fact holds true for all experiences in art, I feel that all of the major benefits of art education are stronger when art education is based on concrete, hands-on experiences.

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Works Cited November, Alan. Banning Student Containers; Classroom Tech and Learning, 15 June 2007. Web. 26 Oct. 2013 Seefeldt, C. "The Value of Art for the Preschool Child." Education.com. N.p., 20 July 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Seif, Elliott. Ten Reasons Arts Education Matters. N.p.: ASCD, 2013. Print. Smith, Fran. "Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who's Doing It Best." Edutopia. N.p., 28 Jan. 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. Sousa, David A. "How the Arts Develop the Young Brain." AASA ::. N.p., 11 Dec. 2006. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Technology News.