I am an avid follower of Sir Ken Robinson. I have read his book “The Element” , watched his TED Talks and as many other videos I could find of his on YouTube. I am one of his many friends on Facebook and yesterday I received this posting from that site:
”@adam_voigt: If true, this is a decent step forward: Education takes a dramatic new course http://t.co/dqxsWyJR via” Gt news.
Following the link led me to a really important development in Australian education and potentially a lead for the rest of the world.
The opening paragraph says it all:” For the first time, all Australian students will study dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts until year 10, under a draft new national curriculum released yesterday”.
There is a powerful rationale for this, not to enhance the spiritual and emotional development of the child (although it will undoubtedly do this) but (to quote the report): ”Learning subject areas like music and drama inspires creativity, encourages young people to think critically, helps develop their sense of identity and can provide great benefits for learning in other core areas.”
This is really important, the arts are not seen as an add-on that can benefit a few artistically minded individuals, a luxury to be appended to the curriculum core which has to be English (or the native language), mathematics, science and Physical Education. No, the arts are seen as a core area of study which gives children essential skills for becoming citizens in the 21st century.
I would argue that the most important skill is creativity. The chance to develop our skills in the ability to “think outside the box”, “imagine the unimagined” and solve problems that do not follow a strict logic. These are skills that can make the difference between our species’ ability to survive and prosper on this planet.
I once saw a “Last Night of the Proms” concert where the conductor gave a speech at the very end where he defended music as an essential skill in any modern educational system and not a luxury. He extended music to all of the arts and stated “we neglect the arts at our peril!”
I am delighted that the Australian Government has recognised the importance of the arts in being a basic right and necessity in any 21st century school curriculum.
I would go further than Sir Ken who stated that it would “be a decent step forward” I believe that it is an essential one. To read the actual draft arts curriculum go to: http://acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/DRAFT_Australian_Curriculum_The_Arts_Foundation_to_Year_10_July_2012.pdf
- Education takes a dramatic new course (educationviews.org)
- Teacher’s Guide to Creativity (educatorstechnology.com)
- Sir Ken Robinson: The Element | Aspen Ideas Festival (inspirededucationalist.wordpress.com)