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6 Reasons the Arts Teach 21st Century Skills

Four story brick building with adjacent courtyard

Successful skills such as effective communication, accountability, finding solutions to challenges, and adaptability are just some of the areas that the current generation is lacking. The arts are an untapped opportunity to catapult 21st century students toward achieving their goals in life.

1.     The Arts Don't Focus on Right & Wrong

When the pressure of needing to find the right answer is removed, it becomes easier to take a risk and try - and trying is the only way to succeed.

2.     The Arts are Inherently Creative

In arts education, children are constantly being asked to try new things and think of alternatives.

3.     The Emphasis on Practice

The arts environment encourages persistence through challenges towards mastery, a skill very much needed to thrive in the 21st century. 

4.     The Focus on Feedback & Critique

Feedback is a constant part of the learning process in the arts and helps children understand that feedback should not be taken personally, but that it is meant to challenge them to push beyond what they think they are capable of achieving. 

5.     The Moment of Success

Acknowledgement (in the form of a dance recital, art exhibit, concert etc.) translates into a strong boost of confidence and enhances children's drive to continue learning and improving. 

6.     The Coping Mechanisms for Handling Stress

Art making can be a great stress reliever . If children develop these skills early, then as adults they will  have a way to deal with stresses that come up in their lives.

The world is changing so rapidly and the rules in the job market are requiring a different set of skills in order to find success. Long gone are the days when a university degree was enough to guarantee a great career. We need to wake up to the realization that the arts have a critical role to play in the development of the skills young people need to not only survive, but to thrive in the 21st century.

Posted by Lisa Phillips * September 25, 2013 * Originally published on Americans for the Arts' ARTSBlog.

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