We know that our future depends upon nurturing creative thinkers in every discipline. Arts education has the potential to encourage young people to bring new solutions to old problems. So, it was a great sign on July 16, when the United States Senate passed its bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), by a count of 81 to 17. This act allows any student from any school in the nation to learn Arts Education.
How Will Art Be Taught?
Many art practitioners complain that students are often subjected to a logic based approach to teaching art and the art curriculum is focused on art theory rather than art making. The fact is they each stimulate different parts of the brain.
Practicing art is about process, about exploring, about accessing parts of your own being that can not be expressed in words. It is about learning to trust your inner world and developing and discovering your own voice. Art making is about accessing something other than the logical, visible world.
Few people will argue against integrating the arts into the school curriculum, however, the debate is over what and how is the best way arts education is delivered to these young minds.
How will the students experience the education? How will they be judged and tested on the knowledge they acquire? How will they be evaluated on how they learn? These are tough questions that need to be thoroughly analyzed and resolved or the consequences may be dire.
Understanding How Creativity Works in the Brain
A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is titled “How Creativity Works in the Brain”. This report comes after previous NEA initiatives including the NEA/Walter Reed Healing Arts Partnership. As Bill O’Brien, NEA senior advisor to the chairman for innovation stated, “The time is ripe for bringing together artists, scientists, and educators to collaboratively confront the question of how creativity functions in the brain.”He went on to say, “Imagine the potential for our nation’s health, education, culture, and productivity if we were able to truly understand the anatomy of our ‘aha’ moments, and how they can be nurtured, optimized, and deployed.”
Arts education returning to the mainstream shows promise but it isn’t all that simple. Creativity research, discussion and collaboration among neurobiologists, artists, psychologists, and educators will help to resolve the many issues, questions and challenges that this act proposes. They must be addressed in the best interest of the children and their developing brains.
What do you think?