I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles and pieces of information to write a new post about and one that has caught my eye is the article on BBC News: “Use the Arts to Improve Education” (link posted below.)
The article proposes that creative activity should be more widely implemented in the teaching of subjects in schools.
There is no doubt that a creative-rich environment can aid children’s learning. In subjects such as music and drama children are encouraged to be creative and try new things. Without this, the subject would not be the way it is. I am most interested though in how such creativity can be incorporated into the teaching of more traditional subjects, such as numeracy.
I hated numeracy at school; partly because I wasn’t very good at understanding it and partly because I was pushed into a top set where everyone else was exceptionally good and I was constantly at the bottom of the class. My recollections of maths lessons involved lines and lines of sums, and being taught very instrumentally how to solve problems.
When I was having school experience leading up to my course last year however, I assisted in numeracy lessons for a Year 5 class. Five minutes before the end of each numeracy lesson, they would recite tables. But instead of sitting on the floor staring dreamily into space, they were up on their feet. When reciting their times tables, an action went with a number; for example with the 7 times tables, 7 would involve placing a hand on the head, then for 14 the other would follow. 21 would see them move a hand to their hip and so on. This did remind me a little of the Macarena, but it meant the children began to associate certain movements with the numbers, and this helped them remember them more easily.
This may sound complicated, and at first it was! I struggled the first few weeks trying to match movements to numbers, and movements became more complex as the term went on, but the children were incredibly good at it. The great thing is, we know that the children will eventually be able to recite their tables without performing the Macarena, but at that point it was a great way of getting them to remember something they may initially thought of as dull or difficult, and turning it into something fun.
This may seem mildly “creative” in the grand scheme of things, but for that school, which is relatively traditional, this was a big leap in a more creative direction. The school I visited a few weeks ago, however is completely on the other end of the scale. Arts is immersed in everything they do, and as previously stated I would be interested to see how they teach the full maths curriculum in this manner, not just times tables.
My personal opinion is that although I am quite traditional in some aspects of the curriculum, I am very drama-supportive within schools and I think more “doing” and creativity could really aid children’s learning.
Will the arts become more integrated into the curriculum, or will funding issues and rejections to change get in the way?
Article link : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24229748