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Art incites students to think, learn better

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2019

Using art in its various forms not only makes learning exciting, but also inspires students to imagine and question the unknown, writes Sharangee Dutta

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) recently announced that all schools affiliated to the regulatory body must use art forms in regular teaching sessions from classes I to XII. Using art in classes not only makes the learning fun but also encourages students to get a better understanding of topics, hone their critical thinking and enhance their problem-solving abilities.

For long, several artists have been campaigning to have a dedicated course on art that promotes creativity in students. A syllabus dedicated to art and theatrics will encourage interactive learning. “Drama enables young minds to appreciate different perspectives. When a teacher gives lectures, it becomes one-sided because it inhibits the raising of questions. Incorporating dramatic in the school syllabus will promote interactive learning. This will keep both teacher and pupils on their toes, making the latter grab concepts more easily rather than snoozing off,” says Ananda Lal, a theatre critic and former professor of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
“Drama/theatre is not only a towering medium of communication but offers itself as a podium for an individual to experience their self-magnification. Today I use drama as a powerful tool to aid my students explore Literature, History, Psychology, Geography and even Mathematics,” says Indian stage actor and director, Lushin Dubey.
Manjima Chatterjee, head of Arts programme, Shiv Nadar School, Noida, says, “Art caters to the basic values of education: freedom to think, freedom to voice opinions, and freedom to feel and to create. It encourages children to take risks and provides a safe space for trials of creativity.”
Besides aiding students to get experiential learning, integration of art allows students to find out their innate skills and capabilities as well. Lal says that theatre instils two essential life skills: to go beyond books and to sharpen creativity. “The first demonstrates how different people can cooperate and collaborate on teamwork to produce a unified end result, and the second gives equal space to all the arts to facilitate those talented individually to realise their perhaps latent capabilities.”
CBSE says that through this initiative students can learn about planets, forests, oceans, etc. by making a travel brochure while the meaning of the lines of a difficult poem can be explained by breaking each line into a dialogue by Amitabh Bachchan or James Bond.
Rupa Chakravarty, principal, Suncity School, Gurgaon, says, “ Our students involved with pottery, making seals, get a better grasp tolearn about Harappan and Indus Valley civilisation. Music and dance have been an essential component of the educational practices as we are teaching them in the most unconventional mode.” Dubey wants the Indian education system to change if we want to see changes in society. “Drama must be seen as a business model along with the passion that goes with it. I do not believe in selfless drama/theatre.”


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