By Think 360 Artist, Andrea Pakieser
700 years ago, the culture of Renaissance humanism flourished, inspiring new educational approaches that diverged from the dogmatic utilitarianism of Medieval Europe. Guided by the belief that education could improve society, Renaissance-era teachers trained their students in poetry, mathematics, music, astronomy…a novel combination of traditional academic subjects and the arts. We still use the expression “Renaissance man/woman” today to refer to someone whose talents span a wide variety of fields.
By Kristi Jones
The arts have always been in my life, and I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to say that. However, I didn’t have super artistic parents; in fact, art wasn’t really even a hobby for my parents. My dad is a pilot and was always more math and science-minded, and my mom had a varied career history, including accounting, marketing and flight attendant, but the arts were never involved in their professional lives, and besides my mom playing the piano now and then, not in their personal lives either. However, they always encouraged both my involvement in and appreciation of the arts. I started taking dance classes when I was three, and my parents started taking me to the theatre productions when I was around six years old. There were museums, piano lessons and choir concerts throughout my life. I also had the typical arts classes in school, stayed involved in choir, theatre and dance through my teenage years, went on to major in theatre in college and moved on to have a career in the non-profit arts world. Why? I was encouraged to participate in the arts, where I ended up finding my niche and passion, and I was given the support and tools I needed to do just that.
Written by Jennifer M. DiBella, Director of Education at Roundabout Theatre Company
(This essay was adapted from an article originally featured in TCG’s Special Report on Education 2012: Arts Education at the Core (PDF). That report shares findings from the over 100 theatres that participated in the TCG Education Survey 2012, along with essays from leading theatre education directors on the impact of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on arts education, and CCSS resources from the past year.)
Created by state education leaders and governors from 48 states, the Common Core is the largest effort in the United States to develop a set of unified standards intended to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in college and careers. A popular refrain from Common Core advocates is “fewer, higher, deeper” — in essence the main shift from previous standards is to offer a reduced number of more rigorous standards. The Core has been met with mixed reactions from educators around the nation. Some are excited about the emphasis on deep critical thinking and others find the new mandates and benchmarks to be cumbersome and confusing. When it comes to the connection between Common Core and the arts, there is a lot to be explored.
By Barbara Hamilton, a perspective poem after completing Think 360 Arts for Learning’s Institute for Creative Teaching
10,000 hours of practice is what a famous man says will make ME an expert
At playing the viola, or at playing golf, or sculpting.
He says, razor sharp focus and meticulous planning will achieve my goals.
Now that would be 41.6 days if I never slept, ate, or saw my children or husband
If I worked at being an expert for just 5 hours a day, every day, that would be 2,000 days.
It’s also 285.7 weeks of practicing the viola or 5.5 years,
WITH NO DAYS OFF.
By Julia Hegele
I have walked through the halls of my school for three years now and I’ve noticed two profound things.
The first, the debilitating mundanity that permeates the air and the second, the biting, defeated stares of students as they trudge from class to class. Papers rustle, pencils scratch, and then 50 minutes later, a droning bell tolls and students cascade back into the grey hallways. After years of observation and reflection, only one thing is on my mind as I watch the swells of students and teachers; Why on Earth must public education be so barren of joy, art, and creativity, and how can we resolve this egregious flaw in development that we have imposed upon our students?
By Stephen Gregg
I love theatre teachers.
There are obvious reasons. I love their enthusiasm as they do a really hard and really important job. I love that they’re invariably easy to talk to, and funny. But there’s a bigger reason that I love theatre teachers, and to explain it I’m going to talk about a play that I wrote a long time ago.