BY MIKAYLA DOW
The Australian schooling mistake that’s sabotaging our students.
Think back to your time at school…. What is it that you remember best? For the vast majority, the most vivid memories are of the friends and the classmates and the kinds of things you did that maybe you weren’t really supposed to do. But for some, it’s the class work.
Science, sports, lunch – for those that considered that a class too. How long does it take you to mention art though? The visual arts disciplines are important, and should be treated as such all the way through from kindergarten to high school, and beyond for those who wish to actively pursue it further. The arts, and all those within the community, deserves more respect.
Just like those who are heavily influenced by the creative freedom of each discipline, deserve the same opportunities as those that are academically inclined. The government and those that disagree with such statements will tell you that this is a complex issue, but that simply is not true.
Art as a subject is important in schools, and is important for a wide variety of reasons. Where are you Annastacia Palaszczuk, and why do you refuse to stand with the art community?
For just about as long as school has been a major part of the everyday person’s life, it has been seen as one of the most important things anyone will ever do. The average school day engages students in a variety of tasks that are responsible for shaping who each pupil becomes, inside and outside the classroom.
Irrespective of this, it has finally been realised that the public schooling system is failing. The students are failing, more than ever, and it’s there is no longer any room under the rug for this issue.
As students become less and less motivated by the horrendously outdated ‘learning’ environments up on offer, there’s no education. There’s no motivation for learning and experimenting and appreciating what the world has to offer.
Academically, Australian statistics show that the decline is real. So what type of impact is this having on those more creatively inclined? As the arts begins to be pushed further and further into the back of the cupboard, those furiously passionate are being left stranded.
Although the Federal Government-commissioned report released in October of 2014 made recommendations in favour of refocusing the curriculum in favour of art, little has been done since.
So yes, while the government is involved, they aren’t exactly using their power in a way that benefits us creative types, are they? Creativity should be viewed as just as important as academics. Creativity is as important as academics.
The two do not have to be explicitly exclusive, and if anything, should be encouraged to be ‘the perfect pair’ that aids each and every student. That’s all there is to it. The artistic disciplines are the gateway the country needs to truly explore culture and self expression.
The ability of delve into the world of art also allows people to truly experience emotional expression, self awareness and the ability to appreciate the diversity that the art world is open to sharing.
Above all else, the argument that academics is more important is null and void, considering competent research shows the arts and creativity are also an integral part of assisting in academics. Despite this, artistic education is being “slowly squeezed out” of schools all over the country, and people are suffering because of it.
Whether intentionally or not, each of us are introduced to some form of art from the time we are born, and it is a beautiful thing. Children in kindergartens bring home a colourful array of crayon drawings that are hung on the fridge, and the outgoing ones are encouraged to pursue dance or performance to blow off steam.
But once the childlike admiration for life dwindles, the love and appreciation for art seems to be harder and harder to find in the schoolyard.
Art, in all forms, is a huge part of a person’s development and should be treated as such, rather than being neglected like it is in the majority of schools today. Making art aids in the development of motor skills in kids, along with encouraging creativity and decision making; all of which are vital in day to day life as a young child, teenager and adult. Cultural awareness is also expanded through the creation, appreciation and study of art, leaving the case for art with a huge variety of supporting evidence.
Sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz once said “Art does not solve problems, but it does make us aware of their existence”. Art has, time and time again, proven to enhance cognitive abilities, freedom of thinking, and critical analysis skills within those that chose to actively seek out the rewarding nature of creating, sharing, and studying art works of all kinds.
These are the qualities every person needs in order to thrive as a functioning member of the rewarding society the Australian Government should be gearing the population towards, and for them to be doing otherwise is an outright insult to each of us that value the doors art opens.