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William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, National FORUM Journals. Over 250,000 Guests Visit Website Yearly.
William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, National FORUM Journals. Over 250,000 Guests Visit Website Yearly.

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Published by: William Allan Kritsonis, PhD on Jul 05, 2008
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10/10/2010

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 NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNALVOLUME 25, NUMBER 3, 2008-2009
THE VALUE OF FINE ARTS EDUCATION:A STUDENT-CENTERED ANALYSIS
Scott AllenSpring Independent School DistrictSpring, TexasStacey L. EdmonsonSam Houston State UniversityAlice FisherSam Houston State University
ABSTRACTSignificant research does not exist to show if students perceive that there are academicbenefits to participating in programs and courses in the arts. After conducting numeroussearches of dissertation abstracts from 1982 to 2006, we were unable to find any thatfocused on student perceptions of benefits gained through being involved in fine artsduring high school. This study used a qualitative approach to gain an understanding of how participation in fine arts during high school impacted a sample of high schoolstudents from three school districts in North Houston. In order to accomplish this, wehad to find the voices of those students. For this reason, we used criterion sampling todetermine what students perceived the academic benefits of involvement in the fine artsduring high school to be. Students shared feelings and opinions that resonated theperceptions that they had gained academic benefits, as well as life lessons, fromparticipation in the arts during high school. Students from eight high school campuses inDistricts A, B, and C completed the online Fine Arts Participation Survey (FAPS).Eighty-one percent of student participants strongly agreed or agreed they had gainedacademic benefits from being enrolled in fine arts courses for at least three years duringhigh school.
The Value of Fine Arts Education: A Student-centered Analysis
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 NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
ine arts were a major part of curriculum and extracurricular activities in schools across the United States. Research hasshown that children responded to the arts in an uninhibited,innocent, and honest manner, especially in the earlier grades. For example, Sautter (1994) suggested that children have the need to singwithout care, move to music, and spontaneously create original songswith words of their own. In Sautter’s study, one could observe veryyoung children for a short time to see responses to art experiences.Children were able to make up stories, cheers, songs, and gamesduring play, all the while building social interaction skills. Childrenwere able to naturally integrate the arts into their play. In schools, eventhe very early grades utilized the arts, specifically music, as tools toenhance learning and instruction. Sautter wrote:
F
Curiously, the visual arts and music are already used successfullyin preschool and kindergarten to help young children read andcount; they are used extensively in the primary grades…By thefourth grade, most schools have reduced the art experiencesavailable to their students. By junior high, many schools haveisolated the arts from other learning projects by relegating them tospecial art periods held in separate art rooms; others have set asidea specified hour with a visual arts or music teacher who visits theclassroom. (p. 433)Significant research does not exist to show if students perceivethat there are academic benefits to participating in programs andcourses in the arts. After conducting numerous searches of dissertationabstracts from 1982 to 2006, we were unable to find any that focusedon student perceptions of benefits gained through being involved infine arts during high school. If educators and institutions were to offer such studies and programs to students, it is important to look at theacademic benefits that resulted from participation in them. To learn if students did benefit academically, why not ask the students who areinvolved in the fine arts activities? As students enrolled in the fine artsfor at least three years during high school, what were thei
 
Scott Allen, Stacey L. Edmonson, & Alice Fisher 
30
 perceptions? Did students who participated in high school fine arts programs perceive that they gained academic benefits resulting fromthat experience?
Theoretical Framework 
Based on a search of dissertation abstracts from 1982 to 2006,there was not a strong literature base regarding student perceptions of academic benefits from involvement in fine arts in high schools.However, Howard Gardner (1982) proposed that children from agetwo to seven mastered symbols in their individual culture. As childrenmastered language(s), linguistic symbols were the most notable.Children utilized symbols such as body movement, hand gestures, pictures, clay figures, numbers, and music as they developed. “And bythe age of five or six, children not only can understand these varioussymbols, but can often combine them in the ways adults find sostriking” (Gardner, 1982, p. 88). However, as students matured andcontinued to participate in the fine arts, it appeared that little researchhad been done to ask these students how they had benefitedacademically from their involvement in fine arts programs or courses.Schools must do what is best for students if success is thedesired outcome. This brought about the re-examination of practices inschools and classrooms across the country (Indicator, 2006).Educational reform has been a highly debated topic in the UnitedStates for many years. Criticism of educational practices has forcededucators to continually re-evaluate methods and curricula in an effortto answer the educational dilemma: How do educators best preparestudents to become productive and positive contributors to society?This question had been answered numerous ways in the past fewyears. Most often the answers were found within the realm of curriculum design. Should the emphasis be on the basics? Werereading, writing, and arithmetic the only courses needed for a studentto succeed? Could technology be the current solution for educationconcerns? What should be taught in the schools? What individual

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