Does there need to be a change in teaching methods for arts in schools to ensure the life expectancy of creative subjects?
There is a saying that the “Creative adult is the child that survived”.
That being the case, it would be a sad state of affairs if schools were to lose the creative subjects that help nurture a child’s creativity. But that is exactly what is happening as budget cuts, plus educational demands, are forcing schools to make drastic reductions.
A BBC survey reported just this month, found that creative arts subjects are being cut back in many secondary schools in England, UK.
Out of more than 1,200 schools that responded, (a representation of over 40% of secondary schools), nine in every 10 said they had cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.
These schools told the BBC that the increased emphasis on core academic subjects, together with funding pressures, were the most common reasons for cutting back on resources.
Of the schools responding, four in 10 were spending less money on facilities, more than three out of 10 had reduced timetabled lessons, and some reported having fewer specialist staff.
So what can be done to combat this?
Creative subjects such as design & technology, drama, music and art can be taught in different ways. Teachers may need and use a variety of different materials to help teach these subjects effectively. This can include items such as paintbrushes, wood, tools, and costumes. These materials are not always cheap and especially in poorer areas, these materials are seen as “nice to have” rather than necessities. In fact, in both art and music, one out of 10 schools said it was increasingly relying on voluntary donations by parents.
One way in which schools can utilise other materials is by making the most of, and maximising, the resources they do already have. Using iPads or other tablets / MacBook’s for example to make up for lack of materials available could help spread budgets further. By using the digital way forward, it is helping maximise student creative potential, whilst also making use of technology already at school. This also means that students can either work together on creative projects or individually, and can save work digitally as they go.
Research from the Education Policy Institute in the UK has shown a decline in the proportion of pupils taking at least one arts subject at GCSE level. In 2016 it reached 53.5%, the lowest level for a decade. This is frightening, considering all the benefits that the arts provide to young people.
It is thought that not only does art help children with problem-solving abilities, allow them to express ideas and communicate effectively, it also helps nurture their self-confidence and gives them motivation to learn.
It is well known also, that more and more jobs in this day and age who are looking for creative people, and the industry sees this need by recruiters increasing.
There are plenty of apps now out there which can help release a child’s inner creativity. In fact, here are 25 best creative apps for tablets recommended for teachers, by teachers on the website Ted-Ed to start you off. With tools that now allow teachers (such as the charging carts from LocknCharge) to charge, store and access digital technology effectively and quickly, this could offer an alternative in schools where these subjects could be in danger of dying out altogether.
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