Most parents and educators are aware of the many positive ways art education can influence young minds, but you may also already know how difficult it can be to convince teenagers to do what's good for them. If your school or similar educational program is seeing flagging enrollment in its art classes, it may be the consequence of an outdated or impersonal curriculum. These four changes to your art program may be all it takes to increase engagement and ensure that your students reach their full creative potential.
Improving Art Exposure Early
The more children get involved with art at a young age, the more likely they are to stick with it as they grow older. School districts concerned about their artistic enrollment rates at a high school level may be able to make the most impact by increasing arts funding to elementary and middle schools in the district. Combined with improvements to the high school program, this may lead to drastic improvements in student engagement within a few short years.
Expanding Beyond Paper and Pencils
Of course, even the most artistically inclined students will eventually grow tired of traditional art lessons. Technical skill with pencils and paint is still important, but young students have grown up in a world of videography, 3D modeling, animation, sculpture, and theater. Incorporating these popular forms of art and investing in the equipment needed to explore them in your art classes is more likely to draw in students than hours spent painting still-lifes.
Letting Students Pursue Their Own Projects
Another way to keep students interested in the arts is to give them greater creative control over the projects they undertake. As some teenagers may resent being forced to create a vase or sketch a classmate, they could be much more enthusiastic about pursuing their own unique interests. Many art classes today are structured to allow students to work on at least one individual project, giving them the freedom, feedback, and resources they need to express themselves artistically.
Hosting Art Contests and Shows
Finally, most students value having their work seen and recognized, which is easiest to accomplish through art contests and shows. These events give students a goal with a deadline to work toward, teaching them how to conceive and plan long-term projects and finish with a tangible creation. Art contests in particular can motivate students and keep them coming back year after year to improve their submissions. You may be able to coordinate through a larger network of school art contests, so begin exploring options in your region today to begin planning events for your school and bring competitive excitement to your art program.