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What good are the Arts?
Transcript of What good are the Arts?
What good are the Arts?
Gibson & Ewing argue that the Arts provides students with educational and therapeutic benefits and hence should "play a pivotal role in learning." (2011, p.12) Personally, I strongly believe that the Arts should be used as a tool for learning in particular areas, such as English. For example, In Primary school and highschool, learning English was more exciting for me when the teacher integrated it with Drama. Role plays provided me with a "supporting and trusting context" (Gibson & Ewing, 2011, p. 7) in which I felt safe to confidently practice my speaking skills. I felt as if it was okay for me to make mistakes because I was pretending to be someone else. Clearly, drama helped me to "release unnecessary tensions," and allowed me to engage in learning experiences during the literacy class. (Lowenfield, as cited in Eisner, 2002, p. 6)
Also, 62 research studies from Critical Links showed that students involved in Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual arts, experience cognitive benefits such as, "increased higher order thinking skills," improvements in "language development" and increased willingness to learn (Deasy, as cited in Ewing, 2010 p. 13)
I am able to strongly relate to the findings that the Arts enables language development and increased motivation. For example, the speaking opportunities that Drama offered me allowed me to learn new vocabulary and grammatical structures that were used by my peers.
Finally, I learnt that as a teacher, that the Arts definitely has the potential to encourage engagement by creating a comfortable environment for students to reach their potential in, and hence, that I should strive to integrate the Arts with other subjects, especially English.
In this week’s tutorial we explored the synergistic effect - reference in the art scrapbook of integrating the Arts with literacy and how to develop students’ literacy skills through Drama. Our Drama activities were based on the picture book, “Voices in the Park,” by Anthony Browne? One of the activities that I really enjoyed involved making a series of three still images in a group of approximately 5 people. This activity required us to consider the various drama elements and our understanding of the relationship between the characters in the book. As we exemplified the attitudes of characters through the elements we enabled each other to “build belief in role,” and extended our abilities to see from different perspectives. This relates to how Boyle says, “…multiple views and solutions encourage…higher order thinking.” (2003, p. 29) I learnt that deepening the understanding of characters and their relationships through Drama activities as such, students will develop critical thinking skills. Also, I could see how these various ideas and views they obtain through drama could enhance their “creative processes.” For example, at the end of the lesson, we wrote a short paragraph describing a character in the book, in the perspective of an inanimate object. There was evidence of creativity, originality, and a great “knowledge of character focus,” in the paragraphs that the students read out during reflection time. (Ewing et al., 2011, p. 37) Hence, I learnt that Drama can be a powerful tool in encouraging higher order thinking and creativity in students, and as a pre-service teacher, I am more than willing to integrate these two fields; art and drama in my future classes.