For the past couple years I've been teaching game design to kids. As part of TEDx Jersey City I presented my work and some of the games my students created, explaining how the curriculum helps students develop higher order creative skills. Game design is an alternative form of teaching math, story telling and art and in the end, it's a lot of fun. Read transcript → See posts about individual classes →
In 2010 the US House of Representatives designated the second week of September as "Arts in Education Week". To honor the important role that art has in developing young minds, here are the "10 Lessons the Arts Teach" by Elliot Eisner and the National Art Education Association.
10 LESSONS the ARTS TEACH
1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
"Due to budget cuts we will not be having art class this year."
The latest American Girl Doll movie, "Saige Paints the Sky" starts with the depressing announcement that art class has been cancelled for 9-year-old Saige's school. In protest she stages a "beige day" to show the world the importance of creativity in our everyday lives. She works with her grandmother, played by Jane Seymour, to revive the arts in her school and bring some color to the world. The DVD comes out this July 2nd and I'm sure it will be viewed many times by my daughters.