In the 2022 version of the AP Language and Composition Free Response Question 1, students were instructed to write an essay (synthesized from 6 sources) that develops their position on the value of STEM (abbrev.); contrary to what was expected, the sources not only offered pros/cons for learning more STEM, but the values of learning the Arts were also introduced. Students had to take in the big idea that art fuels critical thinking and other "soft skills". This idea caught eager AP Lang students off guard because many of them, though having thought about the value of STEM, have not thought about art as a contributor to both STEM and real-life advancements.
I will thus list out a few common benefits from pursu
ing any sort of art education and also offer what was given in the AP Lang FRQ as benefits for pursuing the arts (in some form):
Key Idea (AP and me): Being an eager arts student bolsters critical thinking skills AND soft skills
Idea 1: Allows a well-rounded education
Idea 2: Allows one to look at day-to-day things from a different perspective
Idea 3: Allows one to communicate more effectively (a version of the above key idea)
These four main ideas showcase the importance of learning the arts; however, this is not to say that STEM is not important--in fact, it is equally important that a student be well-versed in both the STEM disciplines and the arts.
By implementing the arts into STEM, students gain the ability to:
- Communicate with others effectively
- Write research papers at an appropriate level
- Critically think about why the result was what it was
- Process knowledge at a faster and more well-rounded pace
For readers further interested on the ideas of STEM and STEAM, the 2022 AP Lang Question might be a starting point to understanding the importance of STEAM for everyone.