Kansas and the Arts—Teaching 21st Century Skills

full name / name of organization: 
Kansas Association of Teachers of English
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Kansas and the Arts—Teaching 21st Century Skills

At the same time that Kansas educators are tasked with teaching students 21st-century skills, the State is cutting art funding and art education programs. The rationale for these cuts is that art is not relevant to the skill set students must develop to succeed in today's economy. Is this true? Many educators would argue that learning about art—including learning how to do art—fosters critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation—all essential tools in the 21st-century kit. Is this true? If so, explain the connection. Does art deserve a place in our curriculum? Why, or why not? What evidence is there that the humanities give students “value for their dollar?”

Submissions Due: May 1, 2013
Send submissions to http://kansasenglish.org/kansas-english-call-papers or fjenab@jccc.edu.

Consider the following prompts to inspire or focus the topic:

--Curriculum Assignment Development: How do you foster appreciation for art and creativity in the classroom? What kind of assignments do you use to do so? How can we teach creativity and arts in a curriculum that focuses elsewhere? Send your lesson plans or teaching narratives.
--Reflection: What does it mean to say “art,” anyway? What does art teach? How do the arts influence you as a writer or a teacher?
--Technological Innovation: How has technology changed the way we write? Has there been a paradigm shift in how we communicate? How does the combination of technology and creativity lead to innovation?
--Community: What qualities do the experience and appreciation of art bring to a community? How important are these qualities in building 21st century communities and citizens?
--The Business World: Business turned to the Internet at a time when the Internet was an artist’s playground. What kind of creative and communication skills are required take advantage of technology in the business world?
--Science: How does thinking artistically help someone formulate an elegant, integrated solution to a complex problem? (For example, Einstein considered complex problems while playing his violin.)
--Illustration: How exactly does creating art foster 21st century skills? Does a learning environment that encourages creativity automatically foster critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation? How?
--Specific Skills: Is art an important means of teaching practical skills? What skills are important in the 21st Century? Which of them can art help to develop? For example, if innovation and creativity are the target skills (vs. regurgitation), what method other than art would effectively teach those skills?
--Good Reading: Have you read a good book about how incorporating art into the curriculum enhances learning? Submit anything from paragraph-long blurbs to lengthier reviews of books.

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