arts in education

What Arts Education is not…

I put this article aside about a month ago. I’ve been thinking about it since.

Cultural Participation is Not Arts Education

Agreed. BUT, it is better than nothing, which is what many children are getting from their school and family these days.

Cultural participation means going to a play. Arts Education means doing a play. Very simply.

Last week, the 4th grade classes where I teach Neighborhood Bridges went on a field trip to see Sideways Stories from Wayside School (I snuck in too – my friends were in the show and I wanted to be able to discuss the play with the kids). On that day, Neighborhood Bridges was cancelled. One of the 4th grade teachers said something like

I guess they thought the play would be enough art for one day. They want us to get enough academics in.

The they here is the principal and administration. I know they are under tremendous pressure to raise test scores and get kids to a certain level. And I want to hug and kiss them all as a (creepy) way of saying thanks for having the open-mindedness to see the value of arts education and spend their limited funds on this program.

BUT. Can you really have enough art in one day?! And isn’t art academics?!

All of this is a step in the right direction, and I don’t want to complain. I am so grateful to have the job I have and work with the teachers I do. But if the administration could have heard the questions the kids raised about the play and the process of creating a play, seen their excitement to read the books the play was based on, and read their creative writing inspired by the play, I think maybe their tune would change.

Little by little.

 

 

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