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Concept Paper

3680 words - 15 pages

Fine Arts Proposal
Jennifer Rohrer
St. Louis University

Before we begin, I would like to introduce a few terms which will be used throughout this paper. First, visual art. In this paper, visual art refers to aesthetic art, such as drawing, painting, and sculpture. Second, “at- risk” youth, this refers to children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. They are typically a black or Hispanic minority, even though there have been cases of Caucasian children. They are also of low academic standing. Finally, success. Success in this research paper means the completion of high school.
No Child Left Behind was put into place in hopes of closing the achievement gap ...view middle of the document...

The group of students who would benefit the most from this are the children considered to be “at- risk.” Because they have little to no interest in school, they are not likely to engage in any activities associated with academics or school. They feel the school system has failed them and often times that no one cares about them, especially when it comes to getting an education. This led me to question, given the effects of fine arts on a child’s cognitive development, will a fine arts based education help “at-risk” students achieve not only academically but socially within a school setting? And will these benefits be enough to encourage a child to remain in school until their completion date?
Research done on this topic has mainly been on the benefits of fine arts education when it is the core subject for all children, not just those at risk. The research has shown great usefulness in the cognitive development of the students, such as higher level thinking skills and social expression. But not much research has been done on the benefits for “at- risk” youth. I would have believed there would have been more information on this topic considering the goal of our State’s Education department is to make sure all children succeed.
The issue which I will be focusing on, is the benefit visual art has to “at- risk” youth. I will be combining the research done on fine arts and the information on “at-risk” youth to develop the goals and ideals I would like to engage in while doing my research. I have chosen this issue because there is the misconception that fine arts is not an important school subject and is often considered to be a fluff class. There is also great need to try and develop ways to help students with little or no interest in academics. Educators try to “save” these students but many do not have the tools or resources necessary to do so. They are also lost in their understanding of how to accomplish this. Through this qualitative study, I will hope to demonstrate the benefits of having visual art in an “at-risk” student’s core curriculum. In hope that great progress will be shown and an incline in graduation rates.
I will hopefully be able to gain access to a middle school which has recently developed a fine arts based program. If unable to do so, my hope would be to have my location in a school with a strong fine arts program, which is enjoyed by a few students. This school will have to be in an area where a majority of the students come from low income families and can fall into the “at- risk” category. I will be focusing mainly on visual arts because that is my area of interest. I will conduct my research through interviews, observations, and surveys.
I will be doing this study because, even though there is a lack of research which combines the both fine arts and “at-risk” youth, fine arts appears to be the solution to a pretty big problem. This will hopefully help to further explain and demonstrate the benefits...

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