• Amy Peach

When Art is your Toughest Class

I'm starting to wonder if Rebecca Hare's particular approach to teaching art should be made into a required course. Not that I think we need anything more required in our curriculum but the skills she talks about in this week's episode are very unique.

Much of our conversation centered on using visual art as the catalyst for skills necessary to be a great colleague, leader, or entrepreneur. Learning to organize your work, collaborate effectively, and present and/or advocate for your work are critical to this new economy. But can't those be taught in a Biology class just as effectively?

Actually, no. And here's why.

Most classroom projects and presentations are the culmination of a student's research into a phenomenon that has already been studied by others. There are usually commonly agreed upon facts and the work is the result of synthesis, not creation. It's risky to create. And even riskier to open that creation to the critique of others.

The creation of art is deeply personal to humans. By the time many students reach third grade, it can be a source of shame and humiliation after just a few years of being told their work doesn't meet a specific standard. Brene Brown's research on shame revealed that a shocking number of people (approximately 40% of study participants) carry what she classifies as creativity scars. Being told our creative endeavors are lacking is something we carry with us throughout our lives.

Scary or not, these are skills that will separate the successful from those less so in the future. Requiring experiences like this can be immensely valuable but only if caring, passionate educators with high expectations of success like Hare are leading the charge.

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