(Originally published on LinkedIn.)
As someone with a background in the visual arts and art education, I know that there are so many important reasons for keeping the arts in our schools. Recently I came across a list created and posted by the National Art Education Association that I think addresses the key “lessons” that the arts teach our students: http://www.arteducators.org/advocacy/10-lessons-the-arts-teach
I especially like #10:
“10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.”
As I read that reason I realized that the statement can be made about anything and everything we do in schools — what courses or subjects we cut, which courses we add, which courses we require, which courses are electives, how we choose to integrate and support technology, and so on…
I believe that this serves as a reminder to all educators (teachers and administrators — everyone…) that EVERY decision that we make about our instructional programs sends a message to our students about what we value and what we believe is most important.
Our decisions and actions on our campuses and within our districts serve as symbols to our students, their parents, and our communities. In my leadership positions I have always reminded my colleagues and the teachers I serve that our actions always speak louder than our words, and that our students are much more perceptive than we often assume.
We must always be reflective on this point and ask ourselves if what we are doing and saying is in alignment with what we truly believe is most important and most valuable in the educational process and learning experiences of our learners.
This also applies to those who serve in leadership or professional development positions — Our decisions and actions are symbolic for our colleagues, teachers, and other staff members as well as for our students.
With that in mind…
What messages does your school or your classroom send to your students, their parents, and the community as a whole? What do your decisions and actions symbolize?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.
P.S. The list of 10 Lessons the Arts Teach provides strong support for why we need the arts in schools. While #10 on the list did lead me to other thoughts, I do recommend reading the original list as a reminder about why the arts are an important component to a well-rounded education for all students. 🙂