July 7, 2022

Art Education at the Helm of Creativity

By Carlo B. Ebeo

The strength of a successful event in every festival is derived precisely from the amalgamation of graphic contemporary music, primitive movements and sculptural configurations. This is exactly my directorial treatment for a very important event in the City of Koronadal held every January 10th known then as Marbeleno Mardi Gras , Only did I found out later that I was experiencing the quantum mechanics of creativity in the line of my though processes.

Approaches to arts and culture education and related theoretical groundwork evolved over time, revealing significant national differences among Filipinos. Since the mid 1990’s the focus from arts education or traditional genre-specific instruction to arts in education has changed in the Philippines specially with the introduction of cultural education pursuit of various artists and cultural workers, one of them is Nicanor Perlas.

As the general understanding has shifted from an arts based learning to an arts based method of instruction, the teaching paradigms has advanced its framework gaining more sizable knowledge on the delivery of an effective arts based curriculum and instruction methods. This has furthered the alternative educational instruction in the Philippines as advance by the civil society, and at the same time it has emphasized the understanding and appreciation for the arts, but also uses the arts to attain general educational goals such as developing creative thinking and problem solving skills, promoting self-awareness , as well as correct understanding of society and history, nurturing the sense of community.  
Since then, various efforts are geared towards developing a new paradigm on arts in education. David T. Hansen, a professor at Teachers College in Columbia University in the United States addressed the issue to focus more on curriculum that is not artist focus but rather a course methodology which would nurture students. He further says that arts in education results to a responsive creativity among students and individuals that produces reflections that are geared on advancing oneself such reflections that are virtually realistic making them to converse with themselves . An emerging trend to integrate arts in their educational system especially in the development of their various curriculum as foundational skills for their students was presented in a conference by Ai Liang Chua. Such practice she said has better equipped students in their learning processes which helped them explore elements such as creative thinking and spatial concepts.  Such instructional method are vital in the formation of new paradigms and approaches in teaching which you don’t generally apply in a structured  3 R’s instructional method or the Reading, Writing and Arithmetic skill preparatory instruction method in the basic education.  Anne Pattesson, director of Academic Research for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada said that one of the best achievements of the Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) program of her academy was discovering theories and concepts on learning, creating lesson plans that are arts based and value driven as well creating meaningful links between arts forms and curricular goals.

Such efforts are now being considered for further study to further the advancement of knowledge management as a major component for education. In this highly competitive era of information age, arts in education is facing tough challenges. In the Republic of Korea, challenges in arts in education were best laid out by Dr. Yong-lin Moon , a professor at the National University of Korea. In his paper on the occasion of the Seoul International Symposium for Arts in Education and Creativity, he said that cognitive processes are the major focus of every public school in Korea and its primary purpose is only for its students to enter a good university without actually taking into account the creative approaches that it entails. Secondly he said that, classes in elementary, junior, and high school are rigid, straight jacketed and silent and are centered on textbooks or a one way lecture style in which teachers provide information without interacting with the students. Also the four corners of the classroom method which is according to him, is a traditional approach and keeps the student not to explore the world and the practical things around him. This is a result of a lack of creativity experts in the field of education for he said that art teachers may be experts in the curriculum of public education but are not creative experts of the curriculum. In his study, Dr. Moon said that there was a time in Korea wherein creative people are only those who have studied in top universities and have gained enough knowledge that will best support them for their future careers. The second stage he explained further was a stage when Korea emerged as a highly developed and industrialized country wherein education is valued and people defined it as equivalent to thinking skill or problem-solving skill. It means inventions and innovations are the primary concern in the knowledge applications.   I remember this stage to be a stage of major effort for Korea. This is a stage where in KIA motors, affected by the Asian Crises in 1997 emerged in the present to regain its momentum to be one of the best manufacturing company that produces an array of new lines SUV’s. In the S-curve framework this is regarded as the developmental stage.

In the Philippines, the Mission Posible seminars on Courage reflects a much more encouraging and a more advance pursuit in gaining grounds towards a socially responsible community in creating a favorable culture that serves humanity. In the recent workshop which I have attended in the City of Koronadal, organized by Mission Marbel, Nick Perlas model and theory on Threefolding has always been the basis of an evolving society. I have been using this framework for almost a decade now since I met Nick more than ten years ago in a workshop on Culture and Governance organized by the Development Academy of the Philippines. His theory has always been proven right in all levels. The above premises as exemplified by various pursuit in arts education are always a derivative from the theory of Nick on threefolding  giving emphasis on the Civil Society as purveyors of cultural movement.

As a reflection, Nick Perlas and the rest of the Imaginals movement gives a brighter tomorrow for the next generation of Filipinos. From the words of Nick, gone are the days when we tried to stop Climate Change, it is now time to face our preparedness on how we seriously build favorable mechanisms to cope-up with climate change. It is only through a responsible Cultural movement that we find these answers.

Moreover, Dr. Moon said that the third stage in the evolution of arts in education in the Republic of Korea is a step of creativity in terms of character. This according to him just started recently in 2009. To note let me quote him in his paper:

In December of 2009, the Ministry of education, Science and Technology presented the Basic Policy for the Education of Creative Character in order to upgrade the basic paradigm of creativity education. It aims  at promoting creativity education which intimately connects creativity education and character education to enhance the effectiveness of an educational strategy suited for national development , the Ministry is devoting itself to ensuring the potential for the national development by connecting creativity and character education in the curricula for elementary, junior high and high school.”

Lastly, the creative process is already on its next level of engagement for all sectors of the society and not only to those purveyors of culture and the arts creating the moment of now as taught by Nick Perlas where we tried to bring the good lessons of the past and advance further to the realities of the future in the time element of the present thus experiencing creativity in this thought process which not only affects the cognitive reasoning of our being but as well as our affective mechanisms in response to these stimulus of human existence.

The gateway in a much appropriate evolution of a cultural movement is best laid out when a worm or caterpillar becomes a pupa wherein the cell of the existing larvae is dissolved creating a new cell evolving into a complete reconstruction of the organism before emerging to become a beautiful butterfly. And just like the butterfly, man is also comparable and highly adaptable to this evolution, for humanity to attain that kind of future that it dreamt, it has to create and experience it complete process of imaginality.