The Instigator
Electric
Pro (for)
The Contender
dipper
Con (against)

"Art projects" in English classrooms do not help students and weaken their writing skills.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2017 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 370 times Debate No: 101157
Debate Rounds (3)
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Electric

Pro

Art projects in English classrooms at the high school level do not help students learn how to write well. Students can barely put together a sentence in college, and the first few weeks of many college classes are wasted re-learning basic grammar and writing techniques because frustrated professors want students to write at a college level when many of them cannot.

I personally find these "Art Projects" frustrating because they hurt my grades in high school. We were graded on our ability to draw and make posters and other "creative" projects, rather than our talents and skills in crafting well-written essays.

I believe that English classes should have more of a focus on writing and less of these "art projects" which should only be utilized in classes specifically meant for art.
dipper

Con

Warmest regards to my opponent; I accept this debate.

My opponent states that "art projects in English classrooms at the High School level do not help students learn how to write well". I disagree. While it is obviously true that, generally speaking, art projects are unlikely to focus on syntax and grammar, there is far more to expressing oneself than simply those basics. In a way, DDO's 7 point voting system is a perfect example of this; only one point in seven is devoted to dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. Of far more importance to the vote is the ability to be persuasive and, when appropriate, quote one's sources.

This need to be persuasive is present in most college essays, as well. According to the Harvard College Writing Center, the core point of an academic essay is "fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument" [1]. If one were to compare use of the English language to playing the piano, the syntax and grammar could be seen as analogous to the actual notes on the page of sheet music. The act of fashioning that coherent set of ideas, however, is more analogous to the rhythm and pitch of the pianist pouring expression into the notes on the page.

In plain terms, it's an artistic talent.

One of the ways in which a smart teacher can help students express that artistry is through the use of art projects that contain similar values. A diorama of a scene from The Crucible, for example, might lead a student to put more focus and attention on the imagery used by the play. Ideally, this would show the student the value of that imagery, and encourage its replication if they were asked to describe an equivalent modern environment.

My opponent makes other arguments, but they lack a certain relevance (IE their personal high school experience does nothing but show their own inherent bias to the concept of art as a learning tool, and their observation that college professors must be redundant in their initial lessons is certainly true, but they have failed to make a connection between a few art projects and that typical student failing. Summer vacation is arguably a far more culpable factor).

In conclusion, art projects do help students, because they enforce good creative writing techniques. As such, they serve to strength the writers' skills.

[1] http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu...;
Debate Round No. 1
Electric

Pro

I will admit, before any further arguments, that I am inherently biased against artistic and creative projects because of my "non-verbal learning disability" or "hyperlexia". I excel with vocabulary and written expression, but when it comes to context and social interaction, I can struggle. Others, especially those with dyslexia or related learning disabilities, would likely do better with art projects than essays.

The fact remains that the amount of writing required with an artistic project is much less than that of a traditional essay. With a diorama or storyboard, there might be about one page of written material provided by the student, usually backed up by the other materials. An essay would usually be five pages.

It would be beneficial to encourage more writing at a high school level because in college, students will be expected to write 10+ pages, many more for a dissertation or in a major heavily focused on writing.

There is a benefit to art and other creative exercises, but there are already required classes such as "Elements of Art" that cover such areas.
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Debate Round No. 3
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