This year I started my journey to become a teacher and began my first year in teacher’s college. While I found it fairly easy to adapt to the new routine and the change in scenery, I often found myself reminiscing about the days of my own elementary and secondary school education. A common practice in teachers college is to reflect on your own experiences as a student to develop your own pedagogies and philosophy. In doing so, I reflected on the influence past teachers have had on me and how their lessons have brought me to this stage in my life.
One of the most startling realizations I had was the lack of creativity and art-integrated lessons I experienced throughout my education. I often hear the saying that school is killing students’ creativity, and it has taken me until this point in my life to truly analyze that saying and consider how true it might be. As students, we start to develop certain expectations when it comes to testing. We start to understand what teachers want us to know and so we engage in a sort of memorizing information and then regurgitating it form of education. While this does allow students to retain information, do students truly understand what they are learning? Are they able to make connections between what they learned and other aspects of the topic? Probably not.
I’m aware that the education system is not perfect, but I truly believe that we as educators (or future educators) are able to make a difference! Traditionally recognized arts (such as dance, drama, visual art and music) can be incorporated into any lesson, no matter the subject! Not only will this show students the importance of creativity, but it will work towards helping support students’ understanding, and it creates important links that will help students remember the content of the lesson. Are you teaching students to conjugate verbs in french? Make a song they can sing to remember them! Are you teaching students the different parts of the cell? Create an interpretive dance in which students can participate! These lessons will engage every student, no matter what learning style, and I think will genuinely increase class performance as a whole.
Creativity is a necessary skill that students develop but can’t necessarily be taught. Encouraging students to take creative approaches to their learning will show them that it is okay to think critically about different topics, and it will encourage them to always take creative approaches to their education. Art is an incredibly powerful tool that teachers should always support! It benefits students’ education while it also allows teachers to make fun and engaging lessons that everyone will enjoy.