Recent changes have occurred in regard to the teaching of art in a school curriculum. There seems to be limited contact hours (minutes?) and class will be taught by the regular teacher. This was a flash on the CBS evening news, so I don’t know all there is to know about the changes but I know enough to finish the story.
It ends with the arts left out in the cold, taught by an instructor who is already so loaded with rules and requirements that I can’t imagine how they will pull together an art project as well.
What, are the art teachers too “crazy,” don’t play well with others or create an atmosphere of subversive behavior causing the children to question … everything? What about all of those degrees in art education?
This sounds like the art class that I experienced in grade school. The end of the week, last hour of the day, art class, with a handful of crayons, not many for a little first-grade hand I must say, and a wonderfully smelly mimeographed image of a holiday or seasonal icon. I put my eager hands to the task — ten minutes and I’m done, say a prayer and see you next week.
That is essentially how it will go now as then. I don’t want to go back to those “good” old days.
Teaching art to aid in learning all other subjects is comparable to teaching reading to aid in learning all other subjects. We wouldn’t dare to put reading in a subcategory of education. To do so would shake the very foundation of what it means to be educated.
I feel the same is true for teaching art. Without it, there is a pervasive lack of skills that art helps develop. Without these skills, students’ cognitive reasoning, complex problem-solving skills and reverse thinking (working upside down and backwards as in printmaking) are impaired and as such, the ability of the student will suffer. No other discipline can create the mind skills that come from practicing the visual and performing arts.
For too long we allowed non-educators with an agenda to control a curriculum that thwarts our young people’s right to an open and unprejudiced education. As long as we have politicians who are more interested in promoting their myopic view of the world rather than take actions that benefit our children’s education, we will always have results that are less than they should be.