Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Art is Again the Answer

Someone, I think it was me, recently asked this question:

Is the professional artist with no advanced degree, certification or background in education really qualified to teach?

The short answer  is “Yes, of course@^**&%What? Are you kidding?" 

Yes, yes and, for the last time, yes, artists with no advanced degrees in education are totally qualified to teach. Some of us, right out of the box. 

Here’s one reason why:


Seriously, Ken Robinson is not the first person in the history of the world to point out that creative play is the skill set of the future. John Dewey, who is long dead, goes on and on about imaginative play; noting that, especially in early childhood, play is a “purposeful activity” that has “an end in the sense of a directing idea.” Sure, he makes it sound boring, but if you can manage to get to the end of a passage, you'll realize that Dewey's absolutely on our side.

“In their intrinsic meaning, play and industry are by no means so antithetical to one another as is often assumed...Both involve ends consciously entertained and the selection and adaptations of materials and processes designed to effect the desired ends.” 

See? After much comparing and contrasting and an ironically dreary passage about drudgery, Dewey offers another gem of the ocean:

“Education has no more serious responsibility than making adequate provision for enjoyment of recreative leisure; not only for the sake of immediate health, but still more if possible for the sake of its lasting effect upon habits of mind. Art is again the answer to this demand.”

I don't know about you, but I feel validated.

Get to work!

Also: Cathleen P. Black went to private schools and sent her children to private schools. She has no advanced degree in education, no certifications and, virtually, no experience in public education at all. Ms. Black is going to be the new chancellor of New York City Schools.

Laugh it up.


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