What Your Arts Teacher *Really* Wants You to Learn

It’s Artsplorers’ birthday! I went live with this post – “Your Kids Don’t Need the Arts,” which sums up my reason for doing this page – one year ago today. I may not be the craftiest mama on the block, but I am such a passionate believer in the importance of the arts in all of our lives. So, my explorations of music, dance, theatre, literature, and visual arts with my young daughter, along with picking the brains of some particularly creative and inspiring people, have been the basis of this blog. For the Sydneysiders, I’m trying to make your artsploration easier with the directory of arts classes and the calendar of events.

For this first anniversary post, I wanted to do something that builds on what I wrote in that very first post –  more reasons why young people need the arts to be a part of their lives. Who better to talk about this than the folks who are on the front line of arts education every single day – arts educators.

I asked teachers and professors in my network to share with me one thing that they hope students will take away from their classes. Of course, everyone they teach is not going to become a professional in the arts, but these teachers do hope that every student carries on with new lessons and skills that will benefit them for life. For these arts educators, this is what that thing is:


  • Ann, Theatre Professor

Theatre can open the doors on other experiences and cultures in a way that dry facts cannot. I hope that studying plays and theatre history will allow them to see the great connection we have to the past and our need to contribute to the future in a positive yet questioning way.

  • Mark, Secondary age Instrumental Music Instructor

I hope they will become as excited as I am about discovering the endless range of amazing music from around the world that extends far far beyond the narrow world of commercial radio.

 

  • Jacob, Theatre Professor

Performance in society is more prevalent than ever before. All my theatre courses help students gain skills to analyze the performative aspects of politics, news, social media, theatre, TV, film, and everyday life.

  • Caitlin, Literature Professor

I hope my students walk away better able — and more willing — to think critically about the world around them. I hope they have their own opinions and feel more confident in both expressing and effectively supporting those opinions.

  • Jim, Theatre Professor

I hope the study of theatre opens the hearts and minds of my students with an enhanced empathy to see life from new perspectives. To more deeply know themselves by better understanding the world around them.

I hope that every student takes away that music should be fun and not a chore.

 

 

  • Megan, Theatre Professor
I want my students to emerge from my courses with the skills to recognize and address the politics (writ large) in every piece of theatre.

 

  •  Rachel, Instrumental Teacher (Year 5+)
I want my students to come away with an appreciation of music, and an acknowledgement of the positive influence music and the arts can have. I also want them to be able to transfer the skills they learn through their instrument to other areas of their lives, notably, the ability to make aesthetic decisions and self reflect.

 

  • Natalie, Secondary Visual Art Teacher
The one thing I hope they take away is an interest in questioning the status quo. So much of the arts is about asking hard questions, and that’s something this world needs.

 

  • Gay, Theatre Professor
I want them to take away the courage to explore and express what they find important in this world, and to look with endless wonder at what it means to be human.

 
I’m sure you can see some themes emerging – analysing, questioning, connecting, seeing more clearly and critically, increasing one’s ability to express, growing our experience of the world, and enjoying art for art’s sake. It’s my belief that all of these objectives can begin to be met from even the earliest exposure to the arts, and that they grow exponentially the more we engage, whether as children or through to adulthood.
As we enter year two of Artsplorers, I hope we can continue grow together, with our inherently artistic children.