The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Teachers Should Liven Up Regular Coursework with Creative Art Projects

Art+projects+can+add+a+splash+of+color+to+coursework+that+is+otherwise+considered+mundane+or+repetitive%2C+increasing+students%E2%80%99+enjoyment+in+the+class.+Visual+arts+teacher+Mat+Pace+says+that+giving+students%E2%80%99+chances+for+original+artistry+can+enrich+learning+experiences+and+provide+balance+in+more+arduous+classes.++%E2%80%9CTaking+a+break+from+a+heavy+math+class+would+be+nice+to+just+focus+on+a+spectrum+of+color+or+something+thats+so+different+than+what+theyre+doing%2C%E2%80%9D+visual+arts+teacher+Mat+Pace+said.+%E2%80%9CWe+can+put+a+mathematical+equation+in+almost+anything+as+well%2C+so+maybe+when+theyre+thinking+about+that+art+project+they%E2%80%99re+thinking+how+math+relates+to+that.%E2%80%9D
Shaina Taebi
Art projects can add a splash of color to coursework that is otherwise considered mundane or repetitive, increasing students’ enjoyment in the class. Visual arts teacher Mat Pace says that giving students’ chances for original artistry can enrich learning experiences and provide balance in more arduous classes. “Taking a break from a heavy math class would be nice to just focus on a spectrum of color or something that’s so different than what they’re doing,” visual arts teacher Mat Pace said. “We can put a mathematical equation in almost anything as well, so maybe when they’re thinking about that art project they’re thinking how math relates to that.”

Art projects, a way for students to express their creativity and take a break from the never-ending flow of homework, essays and other types of projects that typically make up most of a student’s course load. 

Art is linked to psychological well-being, thus allocating class time for creative work can lower stress, improve memory and increase social connection, according to a literature review by Frontiers in Psychology. These benefits are significant considering many students are under pressure to perform well in their challenging classes.

“They’re so focused on that track of academics that maybe they lose sight of how much more there is to life,” visual arts teacher Mat Pace said. “There’s this yin and yang of life, and so we have to have the academics, but we also want that artistic edge to be able to express ourselves.”

In some cases, art projects help students learn as well, by utilizing students to use their creative and emotional sides, rather than using just logic and memorization to get through their workload. 

Integrating art into core classes helps students develop creative problem-solving skills and engages students who might otherwise not be paying attention in class, according to an article by Seneca Academy.

“Anytime you have a chance to be creative, you’re able to think outside the box,” Pace said. “Even if it was thinking about history, math or science, we have to have a new way of looking at things and being creative in order to understand maybe what the questions were the generation before us because no generation has figured out everything right. That’s why we’re excited for you all to have a new way of thinking, and the diversity of that thinking is just like the diversity of us as a whole on this planet.”

However, opinions can be split on art projects in classes where the main subject is not art.  Some feel that art projects in their non-art related classes can be a distraction, taking away from the main focus of the class and abruptly changing the workflow. 

Yet art projects do not have to take up a lot of class time and can be implemented simply once or twice a year for each class, allowing for a refreshing break.

”I think art allows students to apply math in a way that makes them feel free, and I get to see a lot of artistic ability,” math teacher Rachel Schneble said. “We don’t get to do a lot of art projects in math, so it allows people to have a little bit of freedom and put themselves into their work, which doesn’t always get to be seen.”

Ultimately, art projects, even in non-art classes, do indeed bring a greater benefit to students than potential downsides. If each class took the time to liven up their coursework with the use of the arts, students would gain educational and psychological benefits, not to mention a fun experience in an otherwise difficult environment.

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About the Contributors
Parmin Zamani, News Editor
Parmin Zamani is the News Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. She’s really looking forward to working with all the new staff members and unearthing all the interesting news on campus. When she’s not struggling with InDesign, you can find her studying at a café, listening to the Weeknd (most likely the House of Balloons mixtape!), or debating whether to spend money on yet another cup of coffee.
Jordan Hata, Staff Writer
Jordan Hata is a staff writer for his first year on the Portola Pilot.  This is his last year at Portola, so he’s hoping to leave an impact before he graduates from high school.  When he’s not worrying about how to get something done efficiently, he’s probably writing stories or playing video games.  Or just scrolling.
Shaina Taebi, Backpage Editor
Shaina Taebi is the Backpage Editor for her third year in the Portola Pilot. For her final year she is excited to spend class time drawing more editorial cartoons and hopefully writing some interesting stories. Beyond the classroom she is most likely rewatching Hearstopper, screaming along to a Harry Styles song, or getting a headache from oil paint fumes.
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