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Who cares about the arts?

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Hello, everyone!

 

I think that for the most part, the IB program is great and it's beneficial to have to take six subjects; one from each group. However, something that bothers me is that taking a subject from the arts is not required. It seems like the ultimate gesture, even by the IB, that the arts are worth less than other subjects. Maybe to an extent you can't study for them in the same way as other subjects, but I think they should be valued the same as other subjects. How can the IB call themselves fully rounded if an art isn't required?

 

What do you guys think of this? Do you think it's right that an art isn't required? How do you think people would take it if an art was required to complete the IB program? 

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I have also come to find this an interesting aspect of the IB. It has constantly irked me that a Group 6 subject could be omitted, but not a subject from another group! By making it unnecessary to take an art, it should therefore, in my opinion, also be unnecessary to take a Group 3 or Group 4 subject, for example. This would cater to those who prefer the humanities or the sciences, but it could also cater to those who perhaps wish to take both mathematics and computer science, for example, or another language B! 

Therefore, I must say that it would make more sense either for the IB to make a subject from every group mandatory or to be more flexible with all of the groups, as mentioned above.

I'm not sure if people would generally take an art to complete the IB. Personally, I would take SL Music if I could omit SL History (but of course this is not possible) because I cherish my Group 4 subjects. If it came down to either a science or music, though, I would much rather take the science.

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but i think theres something to consider with you need to be passionate for the subject to do well in the arts. i do theatre and i love it beyond words but it takes the most time of all my subjects and the assessments are really hard and take a lot lot lot of time to do well in compared to other subjects  and if theatre wasn't my favourite subject and favourite thing in general, i would not be able to cope with the course. so i think you need passion for the subject because i hate psychology but i'm one of the best in my class and i have no interest in it and pay hardly any attention in the class and i do well just because i know how to learn the stuff i need to do ok in that class. also a reason for arts to not be compulsory is that they're looked at as soft subjects (they're not) by universities and ambitious people i suppose and that makes people not want to take them. i definitely agree that if arts aren't compulsory then other subject groups should be not compulsory but i see how second languages and maths have more merit in future life than an art subject, excpecially if you're not interested in going into that career path.

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Maybe it's also about necessity? Because my school, which has been an IB school for 5 years and teachers still switch a lot every year, doesn't offer Group 6 at all. I think the only subject which we'd have a teacher for is Music and it would be hell if I had to take Music, I would be so miserable, as would probably be 80% of the IB class. Yet I think it's awesome that we can take IB because it's so much better than our national curriculum for me. 

 

In a world where all subjects are offered, though, it would be a great statement if an art was a natural part of the syllabus, though. Then again -- for students who are going to go study Medicine, for example, taking Biology and Chemistry both is probably so much more useful than taking an art subject would be. Same could be said for someone going into art though, perhaps they'll have no use for a Group 3 or 4 subject. Maybe it's just impossible to handle how much time two Arts would take, as I've heard they take up a lot of time?

Edited by ellie

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Who cares about the arts? Well, I can't really gove an explanation about that, but I think people who like arts care about arts?

Sorry just had to put this in here XD

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I agree, the world is changing. Current educational norms should be changing with it- a "Holistic" " "Well rounded " education no longer fits the old-fashioned models and the IB professes this is what it does well. This kind of evidence shows otherwise. This would be a really interesting TOK debate or something to bring into an essay comparing an "Art vs Science" issue....

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I see your point where it does seem as if Group 6 is lesser than the other courses (which I absolutely disagree with, I love music) but at the same time, I agree with what ellie said that there are many students that, even though they may like/love the arts as well, need to take a second science or humanities course instead. And think about it, Arts aren't mandatory for academic students either, it's an option (just like it is to us) because yes, although IB creates well rounded students, it doesn't mean that they're good at it or even like it. Then there's also the possibility that the arts course they would rather take isn't offered at their school.

 

Like my school, we only have SL/HL Visual Arts. And I cannot draw/sketch/paint for my life. No SL Music, no Theater. So there's also the limitations that are thrown on us that restrict our choice of courses. 

 

Also, as unfortunate as it is, there just aren't as many students who want to go into the Arts as there are in other fields (as far as I know). There has never been a problem for Arts at my school though because if a student had wanted to pursue the Arts, they would go to the Regional Arts school :P

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I think you guys are looking at this issue all wrong, it's not that the IB doesn't respect the Arts, the fact that Art has its own Group is a testament to the IB's respect for it, imho. I believe Group 6 is not mandatory because of budgetary constraints.

 

Look at Groups 1-5, from which every IB student must do at least one subject. There are already so many schools who simply cannot afford to offer all the possible subjects in Groups 1-5. Sometimes there's no Economics or History courses, or no Environmental Systems course. At my boarding school there was no ITGS course or Business course. Often times, there are very few options in a Group that a school chooses to, or, usually, can afford to offer.

 

Subjects in the Humanities/Sciences that a student finds challenging or uninteresting, they can still cope with. For example, you may find it hard to study History, but that's not because you're incapable of it, but because you don't like it. Same with the Sciences. I personally believe that Physics is beyond me, but I know if it really came down to it, I could cope with Physics and manage a 5-6 in the subject with a lot of effort.

 

What do you do if Visual Arts is the only Group 6 subject offered at your school and Group 6 is mandatory and you have 'limited' artistic skill. I can appreciate art, certainly, but if you asked me to put together an exhibition, I would have absolutely no idea what I would be doing. I can't draw or paint or photograph beautifully. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to succeed in IB Visual Arts because I simply do not have the aptitude for it. Should I have to fail the IB because of Visual Arts, a Group 6 subject that one can only succeed in if they have at least some modicum of talent and passion?

 

The other, much more serious problem with making Group 6 mandatory: Lack of Options. At present, there are only 5 Group 6 subjects: Theatre, Film, Visual Arts, Dance and Music. Until about 2013, Dance didn't exist and it used to be 4. Compare that to the other Groups, barring Group 5 which makes Maths mandatory, every one of them has a minimum of 7 (Science) to a maximum of 70+ (Groups 1 and 2) Options.

 

Also, consider implementation. A school can afford to teach written-based subjects more easily, some textbooks, visual aids and a teacher. But teaching Music? You're going to need instruments. Theatre? It's a requirement to essentially put up enough shows to ensure that all IB Theatre students get to experience at least 3 different sides of putting together a play. The Arts are expensive.

 

Even with something as innocent as Film, which is not as cost-heavy as some of the other Group 6 subjects, where do you find a Film teacher who is well-versed in the IB system and can teach that course effectively? Doable? Certainly, you will find someone if you look enough or, alternatively, which a lot of schools do, train someone up, but that again takes a lot of time and effort and resources that could have gone towards improving the school's infrastructure or introducing another Science class, which is much more important to students' futures than a Film class.

 

That brings me to my last point - what would be the point of making Group 6 mandatory? Students who are interested in the Arts will find their way to the Arts no matter what. Does Film school care if you haven't pursued an academic study of Film in high school? What about Drama School with an academic study of Theatre? No. But will a Med School care if you haven't done 2-3 Sciences in high school? Yes! Forcing a kid who wants to go into medicine to spend copious amounts of hours preparing a portfolio for Visual Arts, whilst also forcing him to do 7-8 IB subjects because he may need 2, if not all 3, of the Sciences to even apply for Medicine, is ludicrous!

 

However, you may probably further argue, then why force that student who wants to study Medicine to study a Humanity? Or a foreign languauge? What's the point in that? To that I say, the IB is a high school education modelled after the US system, having a basic knowledge of history or the economy or a foreign langauge, these are essential life skills.

 

Is Art not an essential life skill then? No, Art is important - which is why we cover it in snippets in ToK. Not as much as we should, but it is something. However, all things considered, the IB has made, what I think is, a very practical decision in not making a Group 6 subject mandatory because:

 

1) Schools may not be able to afford to institute enough Group 6 programmes to allow students to have a real choice

2) They are very expensive

3) Students may be forced to pursue an Arts subject they have no aptitude in because that's the only Group 6 subject offered

4) There are very few Options within Group 6 itself.

 

A bit hodge-podge-y, but I hope I managed to convey my reasons. Not trying to convince anyone one way or another, but merely suggesting that you think about the alternative reasons and play devil's advocate before cementing your opinion.

Edited by Arrowhead

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I think it's because IB wants to provide the freedom of choice.

You like art? Sure, take it.

I am totally bad at art and I'm the person who came to mandatory art class with ruler, harp and calculator and got pissed when her carefully scaled drawing still got grade below average? Why should I take art? How is it lost from you if folks who don't like art don't take it? And my "arthophobia" isn't only limited on visual arts :D

If arts subject was mandatory I woud'nt be on IB, I can tell on straight. I'm on IB because I want to learn things I will most likely benefit from in my life, and art isn't one of them.

Like many other things art can be rewarding and great if you like it, but also real pain if you don't. I presume you woud'nt like to take math HL against your will either?

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