Artistic Chaos

July 6, 2019

I have decided to try something different to mark this quarantine period that is becoming the new ‘normal’. In the past, I had deployed my writing skills as a self-reflective tool for sharing my thoughts and artwork. However, this time around my deep passion for teaching motivated me to share some of my thoughts on “Art Education”.

When I first started teaching, I was overwhelmed and felt isolated like an island in the sea. I would lie awake in bed the night before my lecture, wondering if a new lesson was worthy, or if I would be able to deliver the knowledge and get the desired output the following day, or if my students would want to participate and approve of me as a trainer!!!

There were a few slips with new ideas, some bad days, bitter interactions with parents but I reflected upon them and utilized those moments to become a better teacher. It took a while, but eventually, I gained more confidence and my routines became more comfortable. One of the most difficult challenges I still face and struggle with today is making parents understand that art is as important as ‘traditional ’academics, and it should be treated that way in school curriculum as well. This is what we believe and practice at “YoungPlum” – an after-school art program.

Learning art goes beyond creating more successful students, indulged in a mad rat race. We believe that it creates more successful human beings. Our goal is to equip students with the right skills and content knowledge necessary to form a style of their own while expressing themselves through art instead of words.

From our personal experience, here are five benefits of Art education:
1. Personal Enrichment – Art gives us the ability to express ourselves. Through that expression, we communicate by drawing our own unique emotions, thoughts, and experiences. When you observe other’s artwork, you’re seeing the world through their eyes. When you create one of your own artwork, you’re letting the world see through yours. Even if your work is never
displayed in an art gallery, personal expression holds many benefits.

2. Growth Mindset – Through Art, students develop skills like resilience, grit, and a growth mindset to help them master their craft, do well academically, and succeed in life. This progression happens naturally and gradually. For students to truly grow and progress, there has to be a point when intrinsic motivation comes into balance with extrinsic motivation. In the early stages of learning an art form, students engage with the activity because it’s fun (intrinsic motivation). However, this motivation will allow them to progress only so far, and then their development begins to slow or even stop. At this point, lean on extrinsic motivation to continue. While both types of motivation are helpful and productive, a hybrid of the two is most successful. Students must study or practice not only for the external rewards, but also because of the self-enjoyment or satisfaction this gives them.

3. Self-Confidence – A year ago, a student entered my art program who could not speak. When asked a question, she would simply look at me. She loved being in class, but she would not speak a word or draw. I wondered why she would choose to join an activity while refusing to actually do the activity. Slowly, through encouragement, a wonderful young person came out from under her insecurities and began to draw & paint. And as she gained the knowledge and confidence to express via art, I watched her transform into not only a self-confident young girl, but also a student leader. By expressing herself through art, she overcame her insecurities and found her voice and place in life. Creating art is often rewarding because it can boost your self-esteem.

4. Encourage Creative Thinking – As opposed to maths, art doesn’t require any correct answer. Instead, you can come up with your own solution and further stimulate your brain with creative thinking. This is especially the case since you will be able to use both hemispheres of your brain.

5. Art Relieves Stress – Drawing, sculpting, painting, etc. are great ways to lower your overall stress levels and make you feel much better mentally. Making art reduces stress and negative emotions, creating an experience akin to meditation. Essentially, it provides a distraction that will give your brain a much-needed break from usual ways of thinking. Creating an art piece is relaxing for many artists and helps them cope with the pressures of everyday life or extreme situations.


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