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In psychology, art therapy is one of the most interesting approaches to diagnosing and treating mental health problems. Instead of relying on conventional treatments and medication, patients can create and express themselves freely.
However, art therapy has since expanded into other facets of life. One exciting new study covered the relationship between writing and how arts education affects it.
The results have been nothing but astonishing, to say the least. Teachers monitored the progress of students struggling with writing and their responses to various art classes.
Time and time again, there seemed to be a correlation with artistic expression and better writing. In this article, we are going to go a bit deeper and analyze the undercurrent of artistic influence in young children’s lives.
Facing Common Writing Problems
Even though writing capabilities develop mainly with experience, the problems writers face are universal for all ages. Things like writing prompts and complex imagination-provoking exercises are more reserved for experienced writers.
However, this doesn’t mean we can’t still observe how students approach their writing. According to several sources, there are three writing issues that are more prevalent than others:
Middle school students experience this more frequently than ever. Even children who are talented and predisposed for literary creation can experience stress as an obstacle. When it’s time to write an essay, they think too much about expectations (either their own or their parents’) and proceed to freeze and have subpar scores. The students fear to fail and this might have a long-term effect on their careers.
An Inconsistent Line of Thought
Literary talent can’t be measured just by test scores. One factor that influences scores and writing performance as a whole is connecting different sections of the essay. Students often write essays that seem “patched up.” You can see the main idea and the messages they’re trying to convey, but there is no fluidity and everything seems randomly inserted.
Incoherent, Long Syntax
Students’ writing scores are often low because they can’t express their ideas clearly. Even if the line of thought is consistent, it’s hard to find the crux of the essay, mostly due to long and unclear sentences. This writing issue often comes in the form of unnecessary digressions, irrelevant input, and comments that don’t contribute to the subject in any way.
Childhood and Puberty: Ideal Periods for Writing
Kumon recently discussed the importance of childhood as formative years for writers. They cite imagination, curiosity and the will to be challenged as the most important qualities. Children are different from adults—they have higher potential. However, writing inexperience often leads to low writing scores.
What’s important at this stage is to provide support. Many parents are focused on the scores themselves, instead of what it means to their child. It’s a foul circle:
- Parents are disappointed in their children’s writing scores and don’t inquire about the reason for such a low score.
- Children feel like they’re not supported and have less motivation to actually work on their writing.
- Parents react even more negatively to a repeated drop in performance and give their kids a hard time.
Without prolonged support, students can hardly break out of the rut they’ve fallen into. Unlike adults, students don’t really have developed failure-coping mechanisms. They become harder and harder on themselves, with no real effort to improve.
Thankfully, more and more workers occupied in education are considering a new approach to boosting writers' scores, for example, emphasizing the role of technology in student writing. As children are more suited for creation and arts in general, why don’t they just expand their interests to the performing arts world as a whole?
Writing is a performance in some way, too, but there are reasons why performing arts just might be the solution to the most common student problem.
What do the performing arts bring to the table?
For students, it’s hard to look at any activity as a future investment for their skills, career, and wellbeing. With the way the education system is denied, individual students are focusing on achieving tangible results.
Scores, grades, statistics—it’s only these measures that show up on your college applications. As competitive environments are beneficial, they still cause students’ writing to stagnate. Performing arts could change that.
So, what do they bring to the table? The answer: Tangible results. It is precisely this factor that was found to be the missing solution to writing proficiency. In addition to providing a solution, it showed us perhaps the biggest negative aspect of education.
Students respond well to activities that bring them tangible results. Practicing writing, unfortunately, isn’t one such activity. Music, theater, and dance, on the other hand, offer precisely that. When you sing a song, you can immediately hear how you perform and if there is something to be corrected.
Reenacting a scene from the play also provides immediate results. There is no “waiting period” like when a student has to write a paper and wait for it to be graded.
Every student needs to spread arguments and results to bring their confidence up. With performing arts, they can learn how to judge their performance immediately, as well as learn the essence of hard work in general. How does this work?
Use theater, music, and dance to boost students’ writing scores.
Writing is a slow creation process, compared to performing arts. Students who have taken up acting, singing, or dancing classes have had immense confidence boosts that are apparent both in and out of the classroom. Summarizing this amazing influence is done by paying attention to the four contributing factors to these activities.
Reenacting a scene a million times improves the quality of acting. Even though easy essay writing doesn’t require research like writing the best term papers, it still requires repetition. If the student decided to partake in a play, they will learn how to observe their skills from a timeline.
After a certain time period, they can and will include the same approach to writing. “What if I practice my writing as I did my acting? Even though it’s objectively harder, I will become better at it?”
No Fear on Stage
With performing arts, students can see that writing is no big deal. Compared to plays and dance shows being watched by hundreds or thousands of people, only one person reads their essays. This benefit directly tackles performance induced stress. “Hey, if I’m able to perform in front of all these people and do so well, there is no reason why should I fear flunking an essay.
When students write badly, they often form mental blocks and can’t accept failure. Performing arts teach them that failure is essential to success. Even the most renowned actors can’t be perfect during their first audition.
Once students learn that perfecting a craft involves failing, they will take a more resourceful approach to write. Instead of feeling down, they can seek custom essay help from a book review service or a tool like Essay Mama.
No two actors can play one role in the same way. The same goes for songs and dance routines. Students will see that every creation, immediate or otherwise, warrants a personal touch. After some time, they will add their own “pizzaz” to roles and start doing the same with writing. It is precisely this factor that develops one of the most important qualities for writers: Being inquisitive.
When a student responds to challenges with “Why not?” instead of “Oh no!” the mentality will be evident in their writing. Immediate, fluid expression in performing arts will teach them patience and the importance of being inquisitive. Researchers actually analyzed the individual essays of students who were the best in taking on unusual roles.
Because the acting role required their own personal twist, they also started showing more signs of a developing personal writing tone. They began observing their surroundings, making more sound conclusions and developing an array of often-used catchphrases.
Pedagogists claim that students accelerate their own growth process when they develop an arsenal of expression tools. When they learn they like salsa over cha-cha, or playing Hamlet instead of Macbeth, they also realize their expression-related preferences.
Confidence, Faith, and Practice
With dance, theater, and music, struggling (and those who aren’t) students can learn that art is fun. They will draw parallels between performing arts and writings. As they notice the same values being present, they won’t have writer’s block when they need to perform. Instead, they will look at the task as a fun challenge that they don’t have to do perfectly—but instead, do it in their own way.
Performing arts help us discover more about ourselves and our preferences. Young writers need to know themselves to be able to see better writing scores and more pleasure in this activity.
Just like art therapy, performing arts teach students to be confident and to create. Acting, in particular, is known to show the value of practice and repetition. If your students are struggling with assignments or essays, suggest them to try performing arts. Every person has to create, as art really does have healing and inspirational powers.