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Exploratory Essay on Fine Arts and STEM Education

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There are many variations you might’ve heard over time about the importance of art and where the importance of the subject stands. From relatives who claim it to be pointless, educators who believe it’s inessential and the school boards who say that it’s a waste of time and money. Whereas subjects like science and math take the spotlight for its advancement of humanity, such as its progress in engineering, technology, and medicine. Because of this, schools are beginning to cut down on funds for art curriculums in exchange for more funding for STEM education. The basic component of art is the ability to create something by using your imagination, which in itself is critical for creating new inventions and innovative thoughts. It isn’t always beautiful drawings, but those that are, are usually the ones that can’t be expressed with just words. It drives us to connect, reflect on our emotions, history, and give us stories. What is the world if it doesn’t have a story? It's integrated into our lives and our stories which, essentially, what makes our culture. While Math and science are beneficial for the advancement of society, Schools should fund fine art curriculums as much as they do math and science curriculums, as they are equally important to the benefit of the human race because, without art, society would have no culture.

People like art students are the most notable advocates for keeping art curriculums in schools. Students with a passion for art will usually gravitate more this subject in schools because it motivates them. My friend Ruby, who was a former student at the Seattle art institute says that it was fine art schools like hers that helped expand her thinking of the world. During her time at the college, she found that taking these classes helped express forms of her emotions that she didn’t know she could express. These emotions were not limited to a variety of topics such as her emotions on certain opinions, ideas, events, etc. By expressing her emotions from the things she saw, she was able to interpret that through her paintings, while also subconsciously implementing her idea on the topic as well, ranging from political to racial to gender inequality issues, specifically in the black community. She became greatly invested in these issues which helped shape her into an activist, protesting against these inequalities and wrong-doings. Keep in mind, she doesn’t get paid much for her work. Though she doesn’t mind it, what matters to her more is the impact she will leave on our culture and society when she publishes her work.

Consequently, over the years, many school boards have decided to implement STEM programs in exchange for cutting funds for fine art curriculums. STEM is composed of the subjects science, technology, engineering, and math, all of which have become an important factor in America's growing economy, which in the long run, help to contribute to the success of America’s future with the next wave of technological thinkers. There were numerous times where I’d hear a teacher look down on the value of fine arts. It first started when I was in fifth grade, all I would do all day long was draw and so when I got to middle school, it only made sense that I’d also be passionate about pursuing an art-related career, which meant I'd have to take a lot of art classes. When I told my math teacher at the time that I wanted to go to an art school in the future, he said it isn’t a good idea because it’s not useful to people. When discussing its necessity to the function of society, he says that you can remove art and people can still live their day to day lives. From cartoons to finger painting classes, we can go days without these activities as they’re more of a luxury rather than a necessity. He goes on to say, ”It may allow expression, but other activities can also persuade individuals. The enjoyment of learning new things, experiences, moments with friends, etc. There are other events to inspire others and give them feelings, leaving art with no room for purpose anymore”.

Moreover, the idea that Fine arts are inessential as a curriculum has been believed for a long time, influencing many people's choices in a change of major. Near the end of my freshman year, I became one of those people and ended up pursuing STEM classes in hopes that I could earn better approval than when I did when I took art classes. This was because of a conversation during a family reunion. The question of “so what’s the plan?” was brought to me from my aunt, who has a pharmacist, dental and hygienist degree, and a daughter who’s a chemical technology intern at Boeing and an undergraduate Research Assistant in the Arola Lab at the University of Washington. With such high education, it was a let down when I told her that I wanted to study Fine Arts, to which she argued that art can’t build the future world, much less pay the bills. She claims, “It can be expressive and beautiful, giving us enjoyment and entertainment, but it holds no real substantial knowledge. The only benefit of art classes is that it helps more with imaginative thinking, but you can’t eat it, rest on it, or provide warmth in the winter from it”. Stem majors indeed earn more than what a non-stem major would. According to Jacobs, Peter from the article, 'Science And Math Majors Earn The Most Money After Graduation”, published in the business insider, states that STEM majors earn around $65,000, while non-STEM majors earn around $15,500 less. When comparing financially comfortable life-styles, it’s no debate that STEM majors are more likely to give you that sense of security.

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The discussion was resumed a year later when my mom shared her thoughts about the importance of art curriculums. Her view on the matter was that both are equally important, so not everyone should be forced to comply with just one of them. When discussing the uniqueness of an individual and how that applies to certain subjects she says, “We need all three subjects because some people just aren’t as good at math and science as they are drawing. You put a kid with a passion for the arts in a STEM class and most likely they’ll do bad. But the same goes for if you put a STEM kid in an art class”. She makes a case that it’s better that some students are better at one thing than others because it all boils down to what they’re passionate about - what truly motivates them. We need this diversity in our schools because if not, how would we be any different from a factory worker? An art student can make beautiful drawings and a stem student can look at them and turn that into the next spacecraft model. The subjects can go hand in hand, without having the need to focus on one side of a subject. Because of this, there’s no need for everyone to be good at the same subjects. “If they were,” she said, “there’d be no variety”.

Nevertheless, certain aspects of art can’t be taught anywhere else but in art classes. As a student myself, I'm a junior in high school called Highline high school located in Burien, Washington, and have found that art classes have increased more of my learning and social abilities. In these classes, you are given more of an “explore for yourself” type of teaching, which also requires for team collaboration as well. This collaborative environment develops a better understanding of the material and social abilities, which are beneficial for more than just one class. In the past, I was in art classes called arts one and two. After taking those classes I saw the growth in my demeanor at school in just two quarter-length classes. I had less of a struggle trying to communicate with my fellow peers and was able to develop better-thinking skills when analyzing pieces of art given to us. Using these newly expanded skills in art classes, I was able to use this in my other classes as well, such as my history classes which also required in-depth thinking when analyzing images or in literature classes when we did in class seminars that require much communication. Even after all these years, I’m still able to retain and use these acquired skills in many of my classes, which has also helped improve my grades as well by helping me to be more comfortable easier to ask teachers and fellow peers for help. As a current student, having acquired these skills through art classes has made my life easier by not only applying them to classes but even in life beyond that in general. The two abilities are exercised frequently in day to day life, helping me to gain confidence in my thinking and social abilities when talking to new people and encountering new obstacles.

In many ways, all perspectives on the matter are valid. Different curriculums teach certain skills better than others. With considered both sides, art curriculums do have their flaws. From rocket ships to the moon to statues in the park, art is seen everywhere. It's integrated into our lives and our stories which, essentially, what makes our culture as well as what sparks our creative thinking. However, It certainly doesn’t pay as much as a STEM major would, much less advance the American economy, and isn’t necessarily required to keep our society functioning in everyday life. My solution to this problem is simple - try integrating fine arts education into our STEM education. Not only will this help keep fine art curriculums alive in our schools, but also enhance creative, social and thinking skills by allowing students to learn freely instead of damaging our creativity. It’s much better than trying to cut off an equally important curriculum and trying to teach you to only follow directions while also teaching certain skills that can only be expanded and developed through art, allowing for more freedom of creativity. We should take these perspectives into more consideration before allowing schools to cut back on funding for fine art curriculums to better support STEM curriculums.

Reflection

In response to my first draft peer reviews, both my reviewers named Ashley and Babita offered the idea to put in the perspective of an art student into my essay. So I added another paragraph showing the perspective of my friend Ruth, who was a former art student at the Seattle art institute. I added what her thoughts on art were, how it was used in her life and how it transformed her, giving the ability to be able to express her thoughts and emotions which were then used to fuel her impact against social injustice issues for the black community. I added her perspective, specifically because I can see how art curriculums were able to open a pathway that made her happy, since she believes she’s making a difference in our world through art. Ashlley also mentioned how she could only see four perspectives in my essay (without counting the perspective of the art student since I didn’t have that in my first draft at the time) - my own life experience, teachers, my mom, and lastly the school board. However, there were five, the fifth one being the perspective of my aunt who has stem degrees. I thought the issue here was that there wasn’t much clarity on the paragraph so I tried to elaborate more on her perspective of the topic, explaining that what she was trying to say was that art won’t pay the bills, unlike stem majors since stem majors have been known to make more money than any other non-stem major would.

My exploratory paper did an excellent job of showing Purpose and Audience, the reason for this is because I showed multiple perspectives that go on in the topic, showing both opposing and favoring sides in a neutral tone and didn’t show any bias to either perspective. From an art student, the school board, a relative who has a STEM degree, and a teacher's perspective, as well as adding my perspective to further add my credibility on the topic. I also achieved a high standard when it came to support and Evidence because I provided enough support to further give my essay credibility by using what I know about how others and myself feel about Art curriculums compared to STEM curriculums for the majority of my essay, as well as using what I hear from the people around me on the matter and how it affects their livelihoods, from relatives to students, and teachers and the school board. I also included some research evidence to add further support. I didn’t stray from my topic and made sure that each perspective had clarity through my evidence, making each point of views delivery just right without having to force readers to side with one perspective. I also provided great organization, by breaking my paragraphs off neatly so that one doesn’t blend in too much with the next perspective, which would make it harder to differentiate between the two. With that being said, my essay did an exceeding job of showing a variety of perspectives and supporting them without bias. I used my own personal experience through multiple parts of the essay such as giving a personal narrative from 5th grade, 8th grade and my current high school experience taking art curriculums, as well as using general knowledge from what I already knew and the opinions of what I heard from the people around me to support each perspective and their topic efficiently and reasonably

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Exploratory Essay on Fine Arts and STEM Education. (2023, November 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/exploratory-essay-on-fine-arts-and-stem-education/
“Exploratory Essay on Fine Arts and STEM Education.” Edubirdie, 27 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/exploratory-essay-on-fine-arts-and-stem-education/
Exploratory Essay on Fine Arts and STEM Education. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/exploratory-essay-on-fine-arts-and-stem-education/> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
Exploratory Essay on Fine Arts and STEM Education [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 27 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/exploratory-essay-on-fine-arts-and-stem-education/
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