This paper will present my point of view on the learning value of the visual arts using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, Piaget’s Constructivism and Vygotsky’s Social Learning Theory.
Art as mere creative expression has been the dominant theme for much of the twentieth century. However, researchers have been finding connections between learning in the visual arts and the acquisition of knowledge and skills in other areas. Art like text can be used as a source to practice critical thinking. Art can also be used to teach children about culture, traditions, history and even social issues. The process of creating art contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of children.
Art and Socio-Emotional Development
Vygotsky (1978) informs us that every function in a child’s development appears twice - first in the social level and later on the individual level. This highlights to us that social interaction for children is important as all higher functions originate from actual relationships between individuals. As children start to negotiate with materials, express their emotions through art and even appreciate beauty and the artwork of others, according to Piaget (Huitt, 1999), they also start to understand that there are other perspectives (visual, social or emotional) that might be different from their own and they start to understand and appreciate differences. Interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence (Gardner, 1983) also develops when they learn to express their emotions through symbolic representations and working with other children in artistic processes. The act of being involved in art making gives young children a sense of emotional satisfaction. They have control over the materials they use and the autonomy they have in making decisions. This is probably the first opportunity in making independent choices and decisions. It also gives them opportunities to express their...