An art educator friend of mine pinned the following video on Pinterest and I can't quit watching.
It is short. It is powerful.
Watch. Digest. Support.
At one of my buildings we will have a new Principal in the fall. I was lucky enough to meet and go through a conference/workshop with him and a few others from my building. Something he said struck me, "We are educating kids for jobs that don't even exist yet." While I have heard this before, for some reason it stuck with me when he said it. Perhaps it was because my mind was exploding from all the Making Thinking Visual learning I was doing - but yes! Yes! We are educating kids for jobs that don't yet exist.
So yes - "normal" things are needed - reading, writing, math, history, science and so forth. It is all needed and important. I am a huge advocator of well rounded educations - I choose a liberal arts college (Go Norse!) Anyhow, I strongly feel that while we need to teach the basics of these subjects and encourage kids to grow further and further - I also feel that we are desperately missing a huge section of education. Where is the education on helping kids learn how to think, how to problem solve, work together, try again and again when something doesn't work out right? This is where Making Thinking Visual and Arts education need to be emphasized and encouraged.
While kids need concrete quantifiable skills for the real world - they also need things like perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to work productively in a group - giving and taking constructive criticism. Students need to know how to write and speak, but they also need to be able to have innovative ideas.
Kids need an education system that is aimed at giving kids skills they can use to adapt to the work environment. Jobs today are not what they were 20 or even 40 years ago -- the same goes for the future. Kids need an education system that provides them with the opportunity to think and to reason - not to memorize and report (while there is some basic need for this, as some skills need to be mastered - it can't all be feeling and thinking).
I honestly believe that an arts based or arts integrated education is the way to get this accomplished. Is it the only way - probably not, but I feel it is the most natural and non-forced way to achieve this. One of my schools is arts integration - we don't plan connections, but rather provide opportunities for connections. Students and teachers make organic connections between disciplines which then provides for a wider and deeper understanding of subjects - which often leads to other connections and deeper questions. It is a beautiful thing.