Open Letter: Teachers, Not Everything Needs to be an Art Project.

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Obviously teachers are trying to be more creative with their assignments, but not everyone is artistically inclined. Projects should be graded by content, not appearance. (Photo from Google Creative Commons).

As of late, many teachers from different subjects have assigned art projects or crafts in order to make their classes more interesting or interactive. While I appreciate the effort, I personally do not believe it is necessary for everything to require colored pencils, graph paper, and pretty letters.

I am not personally artistically inclined, and the truth is, most people in general aren’t. I respect art very much, and I appreciate it, but that kind of ability is something people need to be born with. 

I had a specific project in my Civics class earlier this year, called a “Vocabulary Cube.” The goal was to draw images of vocabulary words and color them in. As someone who is interested in civics and politics, I actually had a hard time with that project. Drawing and coloring doesn’t work with these kinds of words. How is someone supposed to draw the word “centrist,” or “trickle down economics.” 

What’s worse is that these projects favor those without any real interest or knowledge in the subject. Someone in your English class could know everything there is to know about Of Mice and Men, but be terrible at art and thus get a lower grade than someone who didn’t really pay attention but can color. These projects underrate knowledge and retaining information while rewarding being able to sketch.

I don’t think that these projects are useless. In fact, there are some classes where these kinds of projects are warranted. A class like Marine Ecology, Art, and maybe some science classes need to use diagrams and require sketches. There are many classes, however, where art is overused which usually happens in English or Social Studies Classes.

Not all classes NEED art projects 24/7, and if a teacher wishes to assign this type of work, it should be graded based on the quality of the information in the actual piece and not the artistic prowess it displays.

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