So being a teacher for young kids (age 6-9) and the representer of Arts and Culture at my school, I believe that teachers can reach and teach the children on a whole different level by integrating arts and culture. Not only because of the diversity of backgrounds and knowledge in our schools, but also because teachers need to define the concept of knowledge and embrace creative methods of teaching.
I went to this lecture were various people from the culture sector had been invited. Teachers, directors, producers, circus artists and many more gave lecture on how we, the teachers, could integrate their cultural contribution with our teaching methods and of course in sync with the curriculum. All of them were so inspiring and one teacher, Jordi Almeida had really done something remarkable with the help of arts and culture. After spending some time in NYC, working as an actor, he came back to Sweden and got a temp job as a english teacher in a high school. Working with the kids he realized that the students just had the basic knowledge of english, and this after studying it since they were 9 years old. Trying to communicate with them in english, he noticed that there were just a few of them engaging in the conversations. The lack of interest and knowledge for the subject was a fact and realizing this, Almeida decided to skip the books for one semester and focusing on Shakespeare, the renaissance, the arts and culture of the era. The students had to write essays, discuss and present scenes from Shakespeare and at the end of the semester realizing a performance with music in english in front of parents, friends and teachers. In the beginning, Almeida was confronted with skepticism, but after the kids had done the show, the parents “were blown away” as Almeida describes it.
These kids learned english not only trough words, but also trough rhythm and movement and by the end of the semester, same students that didn’t have the ability to communicate in english, could now without any problems, write an essay in english. And when it got to the school board’s attention that same students wrote A:s on the national english exam, Almeidas creative teaching method got fully accepted and integrated in the school’s curriculum.
Today the school has a creative culture council where students and teachers discuss how to integrate arts and culture in to the classroom. Isn’t this an amazing story? This is what I mean, arts and culture can reach and go beyond those limits that the traditional teaching methods can’t. Artistic and cultural activities provides the children with important tools to evolve and grove as independent persons. We need arts in our schools.