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School’s got talent

%d0%b4%d0%bb%d1%8f-%d0%b1%d0%bb%d0%be%d0%b3%d0%b0-children-are-engaged-in-the-hobbies-and-school-activities-silhouette-stock-vectorThis is a follow up post as an extension of my previous ideas. There was mentioned in comments that not every student is talented. In the discussion to follow I suggest that if education focuses on the process during which talents are revealed, not the outcomes of already gifted students, then there are more chances for students to become creative.

Let’s assume how curriculum and classroom practices might change with the integration of art. For example, music in education is usually associated with singing or/and playing musical instuments. Besides the fact that singing is not an innate ability rather an acquired skill, and the role of singing and playing musical instruments in students academic achievements is an undisputable fact, music is a rich world of different types and genres each with its own history, which can enrich the content of education. Even a single song can have a story. For example Imagine, Tears in Heaven or Dudarai have real, touching and thought provoking stories behind.  As to drama I would argue that it does not necessarily imply performing on the stage, even though the shyest can silently perform a tree hidden behind decorations. A good teacher may find ways to engage kids in playing out the stories they like.  Regarding the artists, many of them did not have special artistic education, but what they did have were brushes, crayons, and their free views to create beautiful pieces. Needless expecting students to be prominent artists in making enjoyable art class, the basics can be practiced under the guidance of an art teacher. After all, to be an artist does not automatically mean to have your painting in Louvre. What is more valuable for students is freedom in trying new things and not to be judged for it.

With the arguments above I would ask, isn’t it a good idea to have two or three subjects in school curricular, where students can express themselves the ways they like, providing there will not be any assignments and the work of students will not be graded? Won’t a school be a better place if it is not a race where students with better academic achievements are praised and awarded, and those who do not succeed are left behind ignored?

Art has no enemy except ignorance. (Latin proverb)

Is there a place of art in our lives now? Watching duplicated TV shows on television, listening to some local contemporary music and observing boring walls of surrounding buildings, my answer would be, “Not very much”. Have we stopped being creative? Addressing the question to education, I would ask, “What subjects first comes into your mind when you think of education?” – Probably, Mathematics and Languages. No one doubts that for a new globalized economy, with international distributions of goods, mathematics and languages are needed. Yet, they are not enough to raise morally and esthetically developed personalities for a society, because life is not just facts and numbers. It is filled with visual and emotional experiences that everyone endures throughout one’s life.  Understanding and, more importantly, coping with them comes through moral exercises, which should be provided in school settings. Besides, the policy makers of our country want citizens to be innovative, i.e. creative. In other words, creating new methods or develop new strategies in learning and searching to generate innovative ideas for country’s further development.

How can we expect students to think creatively, if we do not provide opportunities to become creative? Not many students have been given opportunities to observe The Guarnica, for example, which does not only depicts the act of the attack, but illustrates the emotions caused by it. Any piece of music produced by harmonious collaboration of musicians can be an unforgettable emotional experience for students. It may also provoke a thoughtful discussion on how much scrutinized work it requires, provided they practice producing music together, let’s say, in a school band, instead of roaming around in gangs.

I believe any forms of art (visual art, music, drama) should be embedded in school curricular if we want to raise creative thinkers. Art education should share equal amount of hours alongside other academic subjects. Many studies have proved the role of art education in improving student achievements, moreover, they have showed the increase in the student engagement, as it allows the involvement of students who have naturally diverse intelligences and different socioeconomic background (Snyder, Klos, & Grey-Hawkins, 2014). Why, then, there is such ignorance in education towards arts and humanities, whereas the matter is of paramount importance and should be considered today, if we want more creative thinkers tomorrow!

References

Snyder, L., Klos, P. & Grey-Hawkins, L. (2014). Transforming teaching through arts      integration. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 10 (1). Available at https://eric.ed.gov/?q=Transforming+Teaching+through+Arts+Integration&pr=on&ft=on