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Teacher sees Visual Arts transform passive students

Teacher sees Visual Arts transform passive students


Can a subject, perceivably ordinary as Visual Arts, transform a passive student into one that is analytical, extraverted and eloquent?{{more}}

Art teacher at the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies Vonnie Roudette holds this opinion and has seen first hand the impact of Visual Arts, and the Creative teaching approach on students that she has taught.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Friday, January 28, Roudette explained that a well-structured visual arts programme can transform a student intellectually.

Speaking from personal experience, Roudette explained that while teaching at the Division she has seen students enrolled in the programme who were passive, but at the end of their stint had become eloquent, creative individuals.

“The transformation is quite remarkable because through that process they gain confidence. So you have students, literally unable to articulate their speech, who end up hosting a national radio programme,” she said.

She further explained that initially the students are conditioned to be passive, not to question and not to observe, as well as having a copyist mentality, not creating for themselves.

The reason behind the transformation, Roudette explained, is the structure of the Visual Arts programme. Roudette stated that in order to open up the students’ creativity, she had to devise a course content which allowed them to become connected to their environment, and to develop their creativity in an authentic way.

“We see, with those students who are involved in constructive, well-structured arts programme, we see them develop an attitude which is characterized by independent thinking, a proactive attitude and an involved, engaged approach to what they are doing,” Roudette further explained.

An article from the Caribbean Examination Council’s The Caribbean Examiner magazine supports Roudette’s views on the ability of Visual Arts to stimulate creativity.

The article, ‘The importance of Visual Arts in School’ by Lisa Francis, quoted a comment from Harvard researchers Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland which stated that “The study of arts has the potential for providing other benefits traditionally associated with arts…arts have been linked to students’ increased critical and creative thinking skills.”

Roudette added that at the college, she has seen students excel in other subject areas. This, she said, was also confirmed by other subject teachers who added that visual arts students’ observatory and analytical skills were converted to other subject areas. The Caribbean Examiner stated that ‘Visual Literacy is an essential skill, necessary for learning in all areas of the curriculum.”

It also assists in the workplace. According to the article in the Caribbean Examiner, employers look for persons with creative minds, who are able to think critically and solve problems, which are just a few of the skills harnessed through Visual Literacy.

Roudette stated that the idea of creative education needs to be supported by mainstream education. She suggested that training in creative teaching “not just visual arts as an elective but a whole area of creative arts, as it applies to other subjects.”

She stated that creative education is critical to the country’s development as creative thinking skills are needed in everything, whether cultural or environmental development.

Roudette, however, stated that she has seen progress in Visual Arts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since her arrival here in 1992, as its recognition has increased.