Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Education = Future

Quite simply, the video below rocks.

This speech, entitled "Changing the Education Paradigm," by Sir Ken Robinson, is well crafted, well researched, and well said. It is also accompanied by some incredible artwork. Go ahead.
You'd take 10 minutes to cruise Facebook or flip through the channels in a heartbeat.
Take 10 minutes to watch it. Your life will be the better for it.

What did you think?

What I truly love about this video is that it's not just about listing the problems in our educational system. It is also about creating solutions.

I saw "Waiting for Superman," I hear about the looming budget cuts coming our way next year in South Carolina, and I read newspaper articles about the dismal placement of American students' science scores compared to China. I know that it is truly time for some radical changes to be made, or our struggling economy is hardly going to improve over the next 50 years.

Remember that picture at the top of this entry? I truly believe that our future depends on the education of our children.

As a teacher I have very little sway in how many students are placed in my classroom. I can't do much about being furloughed. I don't get a say in how budgets are earmarked.

But I can help to develop my students' divergent thinking.

One of the ways I do that every day is through arts integration. As you'll hear, Sir Ken talks about that in his video. For the past two years, I've been privileged to be a part of the smartIDEA program through the Peace Center. The Peace Center is not only an incredible local venue for off-Broadway shows and amazing concerts, it is a nonprofit dedicated to developing the arts in our community. They bring in master teachers from the Kennedy Center to help teachers teach content through the arts.

So instead of just reading about the 1920s or listening to jazz music or looking at a collage made my Romare Bearden - we make our own collages inspired by him (while listening to jazz) to show what we've learned about different facets of the time period. Get it?

Through this program, I have learned teaching methods that don't just work - they work wonders. When I use arts integration to teach, my students don't just remember things. They understand them. They perform higher on standardized tests (another issue entirely).

But my point is - we can't let the arts fall by the wayside. We can't deny results that the arts irrefutably bring to the table. We can't let budget cuts dictate the future of our kids, our country, or our world.

Everyone has been saying recently how we need to send letters to our congressmen and let them know how we feel about the impact of their decisions.

I'm going to send them a link to my class blog instead.

I want them to see first-hand the high achievement of students that have had the benefit of arts integration and arts education. The proof is here:

Now I know (and I hope you do too):
Arts are not optional. They are essential.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sir Ken makes a lot of great points, and I hadn't really considered our education system as being modeled on industrialization. I'll have to ponder that a while.

    One thing that bothers me, though, is that he emphasizes the numbers of prescriptions for ADHD meds in the east coast states, while neglecting to take into account that our population centers are in exactly those states. It's no surprise that there are few prescriptions written in the middle of Iowa's corn fields!

    He also misrepresents the effects of the ADHD medicines. I think this weakens his arguments rather than strengthening them, which is a shame because I do agree that, too often, our education system is failing to truly educate our children.

    I thank wonderful teachers like you who are working diligently each day to make sure our children are growing and truly learning.