This is a submission from our Leaders 4SC Middle School Camp.

Did you know, in the United States, 20% of K-12 students study a foreign language, and in College, it drops to 7.5%? Arts programs can be described as woodworking or shop, art, music/music theory, band, and chorus. Drama can also be included in this list, but not a lot of schools provide drama as a separate class. In the United States, 94% of Middle Schools offer music programs, and 89% offer visual art programs. Schools with arts and language classes have had much more success getting their students in top universities, but just exactly why is that? 

Benefits of Bilingualism: Learning Skills

Learning a second language can improve students’ learning skills. According to The Telegraph, learning a foreign language can improve multitasking skills, memory, decision-making skills, and perceptual skills. Studies on bilingualism have proven that almost everyone who has learned another language, has developed these skills. These are skills that can come in handy while learning the core subjects, and over-all in your daily life. This can improve both productivity and can also improve grades throughout the school and end in a boost in reputation for both schools and states.

Benefits of Bilingualism: Productivity

Learning a second language can also improve productivity. According to ACTFL, learning languages have been proven to improve standardized testing scores, reading achievements, (English) student vocabulary and academic performances. Again, many studies have been connected that show that bilingualism helps the human mind with these skills. Learning more than two languages improves this even more. All of these (achievements) are all connected to productivity, with these skills improved, productivity is boosted. With productivity boosted, grades increase, and more kids are successful.

Benefits of the Arts: Learning Skills

Having an arts program can improve learning skills for students. According to Edutopia, an arts program can result in a growth mindset, boosted self-confidence, improved cognition, communication, and also self-understanding. Music especially has been known to have a mostly positive effect on a human mind, including these. These skills are absolutely amazing learning skills, and it helps to have these in the classroom as you’re learning. Learning skills lead to harder working, smarter kids which eventually also leads to a ton of productivity.

Benefits of the Arts: Productivity

Having an arts program in school can also improve productivity. According to PBS Kids, music education can improve students’ language skills, increased IQ, spatial-temporal skills, improved test scores, and a harder working brain. All these skills are essential to increase productivity, so teaching music, like a band, chorus, or music theory, helps increase productivity and smartness among kids. Harder working, smarter kids leads to more productivity in the classroom, causing everything to increase along with it.

The Cost of The Programs

Some people may argue that schools providing language classes and/or arts programs cost too much money to implement. For example, according to the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities, budgets for art programs annually varied from 4 thousand to 3 million dollars, the average budget being $158,537. The budgets for arts programs will take out of the budget for other necessary things. After adding an arts program, there will be no money for the arts and languages in school, the core classes, and sports. However, this is not entirely true. There are already set aside budgets for core classes and sports programs. And while the arts program DOES cost some sum of money, the language classes only cost the same as core classes! Also, a budget for the arts program can be contributed through donations to the school.

And so…

In conclusion, arts and language programs, while costing the school systems money, are almost beneficial to improve productivity and learning skills in the classroom. Schools should implement these programs to achieve a higher grade average as a result of boosted productivity, test scores, vocabulary, multi-tasking skills, improved memory, etc. States/schools should definitely add arts and language programs to their curriculum. 

Sources: The TelegraphACTFLEdutopiaPBS Kids, and YouthArts

Written by Leaders 4SC 2020 Student, Marina E.