Whether you're an experienced arts educator, or a teacher looking for ways to bring life to your curriculum through visual arts, music, drama and dance, this group will provide a place to meet, share, and imagine!

Why the Arts Matter - Jerome Kagan

Joan Weber Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

Jerome Kagan gave the keynote at a conference I attended last spring called "Learning, Arts and the Brain" sponsored by the Dana Foundation. The full speech may be found on the Dana Foundation website at http://www.dana.org/news/features/detail.aspx?id=21740. I offer up his reasons here for discussion.

1. The first advantage is that it boosts the self confidence among the children who are behind in mastery of reading and arithmetic.

2. A second reason for an arts/music curriculum, which has a more recent history, may help the middle-class children who have been infantilized by overprotective parents who were excessively concerned with the child’s grades and talent profile.

3. A third advantage to an arts/music program, which might help all children, is based on the fact that the mind uses three distinct forms, or tools, to acquire, store, and communicate knowledge.

4. A fourth advantage lies with the opportunity to provide all American youth with some values they feel warrant consistent loyalty.

5. The fifth advantage of an arts curriculum is that it allows a number of children to work as a cooperative unit when they compose a mural or play in the school band or orchestra.

6. Finally, art and music provide opportunities for all children to experience and to express feelings and conflicts that are not yet fully conscious and cannot be expressed coherently in words.

Do you think this is a good list? Or, is it missing something. Dr. Kagan is a psychology professor. How do we respond as artists, art teachers and art enthusiasts?

Biography from Dana Foundation Website: Jerome Kagan, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University, was co-director of the Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. He is a pioneer in the study of cognitive and emotional development during the first decade of life, focusing on the origins of temperament, and is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including the classic Galen’s Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature (Basic Books, 1994).

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7/8 Drama, Film, Honors & Regular Language Arts

Language Acquasition

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Another vital part of teaching the arts is Drama and Speech.
I teach Delivering Speech and Speech Aquisition. The one film I show the 7/8/ graders is the true story of Trauffaut's The Wild Child, from the 17 C book of the same name. The fascination is enthralling and I further extend the story about feral children. This extends itself into child development and parenting. This deepens the discussion into taking children away from tv, and stimulating their brain development more seriously by reading outloud, making puppets, reading plays and creative theatre. It is a fabulous springboard for enriching students imaginative thinking and discussing new ways to learn more creative outlets to interact with one another. It also opens up the world of foreign film as a learning tool and entertainment. This is one of my favorite lessons because everyone loves learning about how they began to speak. The assignment is to find out their first word, what age,their siblings first age and word. Sharing that in class is hilarious! Yet, very few children know that people struggled not speaking. Speaking is essential and an art. The lesson is very profound.

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