Research Of The Teenagers’ Attitude To Studying Art At School


The article is devoted to the consideration of issues related to the teaching of art at school, to the consideration of the art pedagogical potential based on an analysis of research by Russian and foreign scientists. The article analyzes the various aspects of teaching art at school, which revealed two trends in the development of music education at school: the prevalence of the applied approach over the value, existential-hermeneutic approach. The tradition of teaching art from the standpoint of the person existential experience at school originates in the concepts of teaching music (D. B. Kabalevskiy), fine art (B.M. Nemenskiy), World art culture (L.M. Predtechenskaya). The teaching of such school subjects as music, visual arts, World art culture was based on the laws of these kinds of art development. The necessity of teaching art subjects for adolescence as a means of solving the emotional and psychological problems of growing up is justified, so far as communication with a work of art makes it possible to express one’s opinion, an emotional attitude, and make an informed choice of a work of art. To assess the attitude of adolescents to the study of art describes the process of works of art perception, which is similar to the process of understanding. The results were obtained on the basis of a survey among 110 students in grades 9-11 and 43 teachers during the Art olympiad. It was confirmed that the most difficult subject to learn is music, and the simplest is visual art.

Keywords: OlympiadadolescentsWorld art culturemusic


Education is one of the most important investments in economic development. Increasing attention in different countries of the world is paid to education in the field of art, as it comes to understanding that art subjects influence the development of creative potential, the academic achievements of school students, and therefore, in the future, they will form a new generation of specialists in various areas of society: science, economics, art. Art has a special educational potential for personal development in a global world (Eremjan, 2016). Through aesthetic empathy art influences ways of thinking, acting and perceiving, carries out intercultural communication.

The article presents the results of various aspects of teaching art at school study.

Examination of music education at school from the perspective of a person’s existential experience (Belyaeva & Chugaeva, 2017) reveals two defining trends.

The first tendency considers music, and wider - art, as a way of comprehending and understanding the world around, reflected in a work of art. Following this trend is connected with the process of reflection, the intellectual activation of thinking and the emotional response, that is, the value approach in which art is used as a means of developing the personnel aesthetic culture. The origins of this approach were laid in the musical education concept by Kabalevskiy (1983), based on the patterns of music development. The concept is based on the understanding that music, like other kinds of art, is not entertainment, but an important phenomenon in a human life, “music as a living art” (Kabalevskiy, 1983, p.7). In the future, this approach was developed in the concept of teaching fine arts by Nemenskiy (1987) and the concept of teaching the World art culture by L.M. Predtechenskaya (as cited in Tikhomirova, 2017). Knowledge of the various kinds of art language, the ability to apply this knowledge into practice are not the goal of practicing art, but a means of understanding the artistic concept of a work of art, that is, knowledge of the spiritual component of art.

Another trend is aimed at using art as a means of pleasure that does not require long-term study, that is, an applied approach. In this case, music acts as a means of accompanying the event, as a means of entertainment. The tendency towards the predominance of eventfulness in modern music education, perceived as discreteness, which rises above procedural, as a systematic approach, is indicated in a study by Tagiltseva (2015, p.118).

Two approaches to understanding the role of art in education reveal the contradiction of modern art education: the prevalence of the applied approach over the value, existential-hermeneutic.

A significant amount of research is devoted to instrumental study of the influence of art, in particular music, on the development of students.

One of the directions is the study of the art education impact on the students’ cognitive abilities, whose development influences the academic performance of students with academic achievements (Jaschke, Honing, & Scherder, 2018). The study compared the effects of visual arts and music on the different types of memory and the ability to plan actions development, as well as features of this influence. Earlier, a similar study (Sala & Gobet, 2017) on the subjects of art influence on the improvement of cognitive activity and academic skills was aimed at studying prolonged results.

Another direction in the development of interest in subjects of art is the study of the relationship between music and speech. A series of studies focused on the similarity of musical language and speech structures (Kunert, Willems, Casasanto, Patel, & Hagoort, 2015, Kunert, Willems, & Hagoort, 2016), the correlation between musicality and language abilities (Malzer, 2018) the effect of music classes on improving the ability to understand speech for children with dyslexia (Flaugnacco et al., 2015).

An important aspect of the attitude of adolescents to different kinds of art study is the research of the different kinds of art perception characteristics that underlie their understanding.

Arnheym (1974) substantiated the theory of aesthetic perception, in which the perception of art is viewed as a cognitive process that has creative and active character. The scientist described the algorithm of the perception process, which includes a sequence of actions to study the object, its visual assessment, identify significant features and compare them with visual images in memory, analysis and creation of a complete image.

In fact, the process of works of art visual perception is a kind of gestalt, that is, the perception of the characteristic features by which the whole can be defined (Arnheym, 1974), that is, the process of perception is similar to the process of understanding.

The visual perception of art model fully corresponds to the stages of musical perception, where visual assessment is replaced by auditory assessment of perceived music. Modern studies of music perception (Navaratna, 2017) reveal that the process of music perception is a synergy of behavioral, cognitive and cultural models.

The choice of techniques used in pedagogical practice for teaching the understanding of art (Westphal & Bogerts, 2019) is due to the traditions of cultural, musical or aesthetic education. Following this logic, the process of teaching fine arts should be comprehensive and combine the study of the language of the fine arts, practical skills, and understanding of the value of the plastic arts (Sobkin, 2017). A similar approach is recommended to use during studying other kinds of art.

A review of research approaches to understanding the role and place of art in the educational process will make it possible to substantiate and explain the results of a study to identify the attitude of adolescents to the study of different kinds of art at school.

Problem Statement

Conducting research during the final stage of the All-Russian school Olympiad is due to the fact that the tasks performed by the participants cover different kinds of art that reflect the different countries of the world culture. When performing them, the participants use different types of competences: knowledge of the language features and means of different kinds of art expressiveness, the skill of functional reading, the ability to systematize, analyze, express their attitude to the analyzed work.

In the course of the study, the tasks of identifying the reasons for the students’ choices in the humanities with the study of World art culture, as well as preferences in relation to various kinds of art, were solved.

The results revealed that the most difficult art to learn is music.

As a reason for which adolescents face difficulties in perceiving musical art, there may be a change in approaches to the study of music at school from existential-hermeneutical to event-based, that is, associated with a change in the position of the subject of art perception from internal complicity, understanding of meanings and empathy to the work of art to external escort.

Research Questions

The study was carried out during the final stage of the All-Russian School Olympiad in 2018. The All-Russian School Olympiad is a system of annual subject Olympiads for students of educational organizations that provide training in general educational programs, including 24 educational subjects. The Olympics on the subject of "Art" (World art culture) has been held since 2011. This is a subject of choice, which is taught in grades 9-11 and refers to the culturological cycle. It logically combines the various kinds of art content, including music and visual art. The purpose of the subject is to introduce students to the world cultural heritage and to develop, on this basis, worldviews, cultural horizons, and experience in communicating with works of art.

Older adolescence is most convenient for achieving the goal, since during this period of life students encounter many problems of growing up: psychological, ethical, physiological.

It is believed that the crisis of adolescence is primarily associated with changes in the structure and content of teenager emotional experiences (Bozhovich, 2009, p.400), which arise in the process of growing up: a contradiction in self-awareness of adults, and rejection of this status by others.

Communication with works of art helps to overcome these problems, as a teenager gets an opportunity to express own opinion, an emotional attitude, and make a work of art informed choice.

In the course of the study it was intended to receive answers to several questions of the questionnaire.

In order to find out whether a student’s age influences the complexity of different kinds of art perception, it was necessary to indicate the grade in which participants were trained and age.

The next question concerned the reasons for choosing the subject “World Art Culture” and the rationale for the choice.

When answering the question what kind of art is the most difficult for you, it was necessary to choose from several kinds of art: music, literature, visual arts, architecture, cinema and theater.

It was logical to ask in the next question what kind of art you understand most and explain the reason. It was also interesting to learn from students what kind of art you would like to do on a more in-depth level.

In the conclusion of the questionnaire, it was necessary to choose which of the indicated person qualities are influenced by the subject Olympiad in art.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify attitude towards the study of different kinds of art by students of grades 9-11 in general education organizations with a humanitarian education profile. A special feature of this category of students who have won the right to participate in the final stage of the subject Olympiad in World art culture is the subject of study conscious choice and the focus on high academic results.

For more objective information about the causes of difficulties in the perception and understanding of different kinds of art, teachers who teach children participating in the study also answered similar questions.

Research Methods

To obtain objective valid data, the study used theoretical and empirical methods and research techniques.

Theoretical methods: classification method, methods of analysis and generalization of the data.

Empirical methods: the method of individual questioning and monitoring the creative self-realization of adolescents, the method of expert evaluation, statistical analysis of the data obtained methods.

To use the method of observation, an object of observation was chosen - students in grades 9-11 and teachers; the purpose of observation was defined - creative self-realization of adolescents. The method of questioning was used as an objective method of obtaining information.

Participants were randomly assigned to groups on two grounds: according to the grade of study, as well as groups of students and teachers.

In the development of the questionnaire open and semi-open types of questions were used.

Open questions meant getting answers to the following questions: - Why did you choose to study the World art culture?

- what kind of art do you understand most?

- what kind of art would do you like to do in depth level?

Semi-open-ended questions suggested a choice of answer from the proposed formulations. When answering the question “What kind of art is the most difficult for you and why?”, the person should have made a choice from the following types of art: music, literature, visual arts, architecture, cinema / theater.

Another question suggested the choice of personal qualities that are influenced by participation in the subject Olympiad in art: cognitive activity, research creative activity, the development of original thinking.

A similar questionnaire was designed for teachers. Comparison of the answers of students and teachers allows us to identify the objective reasons why music was the most problematic kind of art to understand.

The study was conducted during the final stage of the All-Russian School Olympiad in Smolensk in April 2018.

The study was conducted in several stages:

1.) preparatory, which consisted in the analysis of scientific literature, the development of a research plan, determining the location of the study;

2.) theoretical stage: the choice of research methods and the development of a questionnaire;

3.) experimental stage - conducting research, analysis and the results obtained, the identification of the students 9 - 11 grades cognitive activity;

4.) The final stage - the generalization of the results obtained and the formulation on their basis of conclusions that determined the attitude of adolescents to different kinds of art, revealed a correlation between the answers of teachers and students.


In total, the study involved 43 teachers of world art culture and 110 students of 9 - 11 grades. They were divided into grades as follows: 11th class - 43 students, 10th class - 32, 9th class - 35. The age of 9th grade students is 15 years old, 10th grade is 16 years old, 11th grade is 17 years old.

During the study, it was important to get an answer to the question that determined the choice of studying the World art culture.

Various responses to this question have been received. We give the most interesting for each grade separately.

In grade 9, various reasons were given that prompted the choice of this subject for study: art has always interested, like a school subject, helps a person, and especially a teenager to develop, studied at an art school, therefore I am interested in art, art influences a person, I want to learn a lot about art, makes art feel, I want to choose a design profession in the future, art creates a wonderful atmosphere, art is a part of my life, this subject develops my mind.

In the 10th grade, the answers were not as diverse as in the 9th grade: I am interested in studying art, this is my favorite subject, I am doing very well in studying art, I want to choose art as a profession, I love art, I love art since childhood, art reflects human consciousness of the particular era, art surrounds us every day in life.

In grade 11, answers are characterized by a more informed choice and a wide variety of answers: I am interested in this subject, I wanted to get knowledge about different kinds of art, I was interested from childhood, I like to see pictures, go to the theater, go to the museum, I can’t imagine my life without art, I want to become an art historian, I want to become a designer, I love art, art reflects the history of the development of society, art – this creative self-expression of people, art is very multifaceted, art reflects life, chose because not everyone can know this matter, really like it, it develops communication with art, art leads it develops spirituality in a person, art inspires.

Despite the variety of answers, they can be grouped into several groups: it is interesting to study, the influence of art on person development, art is a special type of thinking, professional choice.

The results obtained when answering the question “what qualities of a person are influenced by the study of art?” are interesting. The choice should be made from the following answers and rank them from more significant to less important:

ability to think

develops creativity

research skills

communication skills

forms a systematic view of the world.

In grade 10, the most significant quality of the personality, which is formed as a result of practicing art, was the ability to think. Further downstream development of creativity, a systematic view of the world, research skills, communication skills were indicated.

The results in grade 11 are practically the same as those of tenth graders. Also, as in the 10th grade, the most significant quality was indicated the ability to think, and the least significant research skills and communication skills.

For 9th graders, creative development is the most important, and then, in decreasing order of importance, the ability to think, research skills, a systematic view of the world and communicative features. A comparison of the results is presented in diagram (Figure 01 ).

In general, correlation of answers by significance regarding qualities, ability to think, research skills, and communicative features is traced.

Figure 1: The dynamics of changes in attitudes towards significant personal qualities, formed under the influence of art
The dynamics of changes in attitudes towards significant personal qualities, formed under the influence of art
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Analysis of the answers to the question what kind of art for you is the most difficult to understand showed that in all grades, as well as in the answers of the teachers, music was indicated. The results are presented in table 1 .

Table 1 -
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Approximately at the same level, according to complexity, literature and visual arts are indicated in all grades.

The most difficult to understand for students of all grades was music.

As an explanation, in grade 9 the students pointed out that it is difficult to perceive by ear, there is little practice in listening to music, it is perceived as a set of separate elements, there is no sense of the artistic image integrity.

Grade 10 answers added the complexity of memorization, the difference between music from other kinds of art, the complexity in the verbal description of music, and grade 11 added that music is spatial art, therefore it is difficult to comprehensively cover the work of art, as well as perception complexities associated with individual preferences.

Common to all grades was the reason that the understanding of music lack entails a lack of interest in listening to it.

It should be noted that, in answering this question, students meant exclusively academic music and this did not apply to the music that they listen to outside the educational organization.

Pointing to difficulties in understanding other arts, the lack of time, complicated terminology, and little practical experience are cited as the main reason.

The answers to the question "what kind of art is the most simple for understanding" were very interesting.

They are presented in table 2 . The easiest to perceive in grade 11 was chosen visual art. As an explanation, it was indicated that this is visual art, they are additionally engaged in art school classes, they have experience in perception of paintings on other subjects.

Table 2 -
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Comparable results were obtained in the teachers’ responses, which can be found in Table 3 .

Table 3 -
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The answers of teachers correlate with the students’ answers, even in percentage terms.


The analysis of the obtained results allows to draw the following conclusion:

- the greatest complexity of understanding is music, as art, unfolding in time. These results confirm the trend of moving away from systematic development in general music education. Often, music classes are transformed into classes for school-wide events training, in the form of an event, giving the pedagogical process discretion;

- the visual arts turned out to be the simplest in understanding, since the graphic activity is present in other school classes, and the graphic series accompany the learning process on almost all school subjects;

- the choice of the subject of World art culture for the study is due to several reasons: interest in art, professional self-determination, the influence of art on personal development.

  • The author is grateful:

  • Mikhail Nikolayevich Artemenkov, Acting Rector of Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education “Smolensk State University” for the opportunity to conduct a study;

  • Denis Vladimirovich Matveyenkov, Acting Vice-Rector for extracurricular and social work, Smolensk State University, for his help in organizing and conducting the study.


The article was made within the framework of the State assignment of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation on the project “Scientific and methodological support for the olympiads and competitive events examination (directions “Science”, “Art”, “Sport”), head– PhD (in pedagogical science), V.V. Kuznetsova.


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Kuznetsova*, V. V. (2019). Research Of The Teenagers’ Attitude To Studying Art At School. In S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 476-485). Future Academy.