Thursday, November 25, 2010

Principles or Principals

It’s time we started to remind people about the secret wars being waged in education against the Arts, by some school Principals (no names no least at this stage) who think that by reducing time given to the arts subjects, for example music, that children will have more time to become literate and numerate and thus score very high in NAPLAN. We don’t go to school with the exclusive idea of passing NAPLAN tests. We go to school to learn how to learn and to learn how to think. There is more to life than NAPLAN and when NAPLAN is truly dead and buried we will still remember Mozart, Beethoven, John Lennon and Leonard Cohen.

The Arts make us literate; the Arts make us numerate; the Arts inspire us to achieve things we thought unachievable; the Arts help us to think in abstraction; the Arts give every child an opportunity to think, dream, imagine, visualize, improvise, explore, evoke, suggest, imply an enormous range of emotions and ideas, and remember all Arts pertain to the condition of music.

Any school Principal who makes a decision to reduce teaching time in Arts subjects is making a decision not to educate children properly.

This type of thinking keeps Australia in the cultural backwaters of the world. Take a moment to look at the clip of Timo Klemettinen from Finland and read at the end of the clip the things that are happening in their music education system and the value they place on music education.

Circling bubbles which contain spelling mistakes is not education; it’s circling bubbles. Teaching to NAPLAN tests is not education ; it’s teaching to tests. I could learn all the chemical formulas known to mankind by heart but it wouldn’t make me a chemist.

Stand up and be counted. If music time is being taken away from your child go down to the school and demand to know why. Don’t take this behaviour lying down. It’s anti-educational, barbaric and dehumanizing to have children deprived of arts subjects. Australia has the potential to be a truly great country so let’s stop circling bubbles with spelling mistakes and start teaching children real things such as music. More later. Join the ‘Let’s Grow Up Australia’ society which promotes thinking, arts subjects and love of learning for its own sake.