culture of education/education of Culture

Throughout my years as an educator, I have infused my lessons with works of art–from literature to paintings, to plays and movies, as well as dance and music. I don’t really know how to teach english or history or even government (remember civics???) without drawing upon Cultural  examples.  Our kids are often taught in schools that have relinquished the arts and Culture to nonschool life. How can we say that we are educating without Culture?  How can we outsource the arts; extricate it from formal schooling? To be educated is to be Cultured. To be Cultured is to be educated. When the arts are available as an extra-curricular option, or only to the wealthiest, we deprive our culture of excellence and opportunity.  I’m thrilled that there are so many out-of -school and extracurricular opportunities for students to engage in an art form, but we seem to have lost the connectivity that the arts inherently provide. We have also separated the artist from the teacher–except in the cases of the art or music, or the even rarer dance teacher. We employ school teachers who are often stifled and who must be managers first and foremost. They are often not even creators of their own curricula and must adhere to prescribed lessons and assessments. Creativity must return to education, and cultural centers must also play a greater role in educating our communities.

This is the beginning of a broader conversation. I invite readers to share ideas and practices that bring together the arts and education beyond the basics and beyond the early years, after which,  subjects become more segmented, and students’ lives are more rigid.  Educators, parents, students, artists, musicians, dancers, civic leaders and laypeople…..please share creative ideas.

2 thoughts on “culture of education/education of Culture

  1. You Go Girl! Btw, reading this made me think about the movie Searching for Sugarman. A must see documentary concerning the arts and culture across the economic divide.


    1. Thanks, Mad. Interesting! Searching for Sugarman is an excellent vehicle for integrating the arts in a history or social studies class. So many ways to use this documentary. Documentary itself as an art form–creative non-fiction, is a topic unto itself. Much food for thought here!


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