The Benefit of Art in Education.

Via Maria Antoinette Oliva
on Nov 25, 2011
get elephant's newsletter


Little girl blue

feathery floating

made of stardust

she writes,


over her heart,

reminding the Creator,

she breathes

As an integrative arts educator, many of my days have been spent collaborating with students. My job is to guide them with creativity, providing freedom of expression and a playground of inquiry during the learning process.

It takes hard work and sacrifice to work for someone, or toward something that I believe in. Giving up is never an option because my driving force is a passion for showing students that they should believe in themselves. I Have faith in myself.

I believe in the arts and I believe in people. As vast and unpredictable as art and people are, we are a world in and of ourselves—the galaxy is what it’s all about.

This knowing is eventually revealed with every move we make in creating our lives. The arts offer a foundation that will work to turn an unpredictable life into an orbiting vision. And yet, the orbit is off. Students and educators are suffering through a choppy educational system.

Arts can improve brain function, cognitive development and movement, attention span, attention to detail, overall creativity, savviness and motivation to sustain and overcome challenging chaotic life events. Ye, not enough schools are preparing students by integrating arts into the every day classroom.

Elementary, middle school, high school, these are the places where we first practice becoming part of a greater society.

From Kindergarten to grade 12 some students never see the light of working with their classmates to organize a performance in mathematics class, or collaborate on a piece of art in English or edit each other’s stories in history.

Where will they learn about that little voice inside, or that butterfly feeling, or that dream that says, “go this way” or “go that way?” Where will they get a chance to learn hands-on that from one point of life to the next, it is possible to keep moving forward toward toward their calling in your life?

With a vast heaven of changing direction, an ocean of possibility and human beings that are more often than not disconnected to this infinite form of creation, teaching art is valuable to whole and holistic forms of creative education.

I have watched teachers rail into students, break them down, tear them apart and leave the kid trailing words behind turned backs, “She is such a b#%&@.” with tears, stress, fear and anxiety tucked into angry watery eyes.

I’ve listened many days to teachers blaming students and students blaming teachers, pointing fingers. Teachers are like artists.

They do not have to be mean, hard and egotistical. Instead they can be creative, mindful and good at offering what they do. Teachers can be the mind who masters the art of their students. Be open to change, be open to sailing through a days lesson, be open to collaboration. Teachers can stand strong in knowing that what they’ve done at the end of every day is created a learning experience centered on our subject that students will not forget come testing time.

Tests are inevitable. This is where the student masters themselves. And yet here we are again, challenged. This ebb and flow of learning, and failing to grow. The creative space between.

No matter how many times one rehearses in the theatre, every night the presentation will be different. If a singer sings the same song again and again, a note or two will be changed. With the flick of a pinky the pianist can create a new song. With the fleck of a pen a writer edits her story time and time again. Even too, a painting can be painted over. Second and seventy times over.

We are the originals. Let us act, and teach, learn and grow. We as teachers can be that place where gravity drops and time begins. This is a gift because students are a gift. Humans are a gift. Art is a gift and we are it.

Relephant read:

Your Soulmate Isn’t Who You Think It Is.

Author: Maria Antoinette Olivo

Photo: flickr, media library


About Maria Antoinette Oliva

My name is Maria Antoinette Olivo. I am a young and thriving arts educator. I am currently working on building a Holistic Theater classroom that operates as an opportunity to integrate Mathematics, English, History, Science, Technology, Art, and classic fundamentals of Theater. These days I never know where my occupation is going to take me, but at this point I am grateful to have studied and learned all I have about the philosophy of learning in such a short window of time. Holistic and Integrative education is being practiced all over the country in spots and spaces that are unconventional, creative, and focused on the whole child. These are the places and classrooms that I have always been attracted to. I did not have a conventional upbringing. My learning experience was a mixture of a fiercely loving Mother sprouting words of encouragement in her daughters, passionate teachers, and nights of studying. My extra curricular activities consisted of
acting in theater art shows, writing short stories and poems, and singing my heart out. I know for sure that this entire life forged by the fundamentals of an artistic heart have created the person that I am today. This is my whole life. I have not chosen a few, or part of it, I chose to live my whole life; learning and inquiring to my God that I be lead, that voice, that call, may I hear it. I majored in Theater Arts with an emphasis in Acting, Directing, and Theater Management and went on to earn a double Master of Arts in Theater Arts Education and Holistic Integrative Education. I had no plan going into my future, but I am here and I can’t wait to see where I will go next.



3 Responses to “The Benefit of Art in Education.”

  1. __MikeG__ says:

    I love this post because it touches on my struggles with my career. My work is intellectually challenging but is not a passion. I make good money now but I have been poor in the past so I know what money can bring. Yes, money is "just paper". But money is also other things. Money is health care, good housing in safe neighborhoods, not having to work until one drops dead of old age and being able to have a car fixed when the engine explodes. Maybe the difference between us is that while I have interests I seem to lack the driving passion I see in people who pursue the arts or other endeavors as a personal calling. Personally, I feel some jealousy when I see those people.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Nice article Maria! I too am fighting the fight right now, pursuing that higher education. Will it be all for not? Shit, I hope not. At this point I think a job at Hot Topic might be better than waiting tables at Chili's. 😉

    I wish you luck!

    -Rebecca (your old coworker)

  3. Maria says:

    Heyyyy! Rebecca!! It won't be all for not… education is the only way to go. Hot Topic, Chili's… its all a job!! thank goodness for them right now.