Friday, January 8, 2016

How To Make Learning Come Alive

Courtesy of Ada Leaphart Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler

Sir Ken Robinson understands very well how children learn through creativity, and how essential it is to learning. His presentations about the education system being in such disparate need of a paradigm shift, clarifies how educational institutions must be about the kind of creative learning, that's not serving consumerism, bound up in a society more concerned with employment, over creativity, and doesn't consider the kind of economics that Dr. David Suzuki references as a priority, who also speaks of a need for an economic paradigm shift.

 “Eco” comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning home. Ecology is the study of home, while economics is the management of home. Ecologists attempt to define the conditions and principles that govern life’s ability to flourish through time and change. Societies and our constructs, like economics, must adapt to those fundamentals defined by ecology. " The challenge today is to put the “eco” back into economics and every aspect of our lives."
― David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

 I believe there are great parallels found between these two very high calibered, proactive thinkers. Sir Ken Robinson encourages and urges us to have new ways of thinking about education. Scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, promotes the re-connection between school and nature. These two points of view compliment and converge with one another, enabling learning to come alive, through direct integration and interaction with others, and with the environment. 

Early on in my art education as a student art teacher, I very vividly remember certain books that were required reading. One book was, Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Although it's a book that was published in 1969, it's still very relevant today. The most poignant thing I read in the pages of this book, will  forever be imprinted into my thinking about learning. Authors Neil Postman, and Charles Weingartner express in their book, that each and every subject taken by each student is related, and should be integrated. Creativity is what can, and does connect each subject, acting as a powerful conduit to academic learning.

One of my first great art education teachers I had, who taught me about the importance of philosophy and spontaneity, was Harold Pearse. He knew how integrating art into all subjects was so vital to learning, and he made sure all of his students knew it as well. Last week he posted this wonderful article from the online site, Mind/Shift called, How Integrating Arts Into Other Subjects Makes Learning Come Alive. I hope you'll be sure to read it!


thesycamoretree said...

I just got Suzuki's "Sacred Balance" book for Christmas (though I still am trying to finish some others before I start his).
Pearce is on to something; children and adults learn in different ways. "Rote" learning just does not work for many people. But adding the creative element can really change things for them!

Unknown said...

Oh lucky you. I love Suzuki!

Harold was a great teacher and I was able to re-connect with him after all these years.

Yes Amen to that Bev! No More Note learning! The school system has long tried to stream line and reduce students down to the lowest common denominator. I have never been a fan of the public school system.

A art teacher/artist has a very different perspective and approach toward teaching and learning. Creative thinkers have to keep talking about this, and try to make change through advocacy and organizing.

Here is Nova Scotia we have a program now that brings artists into schools,( PAINTS (Professional Artists In The Schools) which I am going to be involved with this year at the local school in my rural community. I applied and just found out I was accepted! I'm very excited!

There are about 75 artists doing this program throughout the province. Nova Scotia started cutting art teachers back in the early 70s and it's been ongoing unfortunately, in spite of how the government is always purporting who valued "culture" is in Nova Scotia. They don't put their money where their mouth is.

We can hope that Canada's new government and young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be putting more into the cultural arts in Canada as he is very pro-culture and the arts, not unlike his father (Pierre) and mother(Margret).

thesycamoretree said...

Congrats on being chosen for something great - PAINTS!

Unknown said...

Thank you Bev <3