Play, Art and Innovation

2015_11_08 Play

By nature, children have a playful mind.
However, as I pointed out in the previous post (Forgotten Play), kids tend to forget that mind as they grow up. Unfortunately, education system and teachers can be the ones which take it away.

Therefore, educators themselves should have playful mind first in order to enhance kids’ play and learning, instead of destroying it.
And I think the key to that lies in ART, the “non-core subject” which tends to be underestimated.

Finland, whose education system is considered as one of the best in the world, is planning a radical change in its system: By 2020, it will stop teaching subjects (maths, physics, chemistry, etc.), and start teaching students by “topics” such as European Union, which involves integrated learning (math, history, language, etc.). Although I don’t know how it will work, I agree with the idea that leaning can be the consequence of various interconnected subjects.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce a great education practice which combines rap, creation of music and maths.
I have mentioned several times in this blog about the potential of including Hiphop into the education, and this teacher is taking that into practice.

【How Making Music Made Math Cool in this Classroom | Class Act】

Honestly, I was really impressed with this video and Mr. Mack, and I wish I had a teacher like him when I was a student.

For the future generation and innovation, it is common saying among educators that we need to foster “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills through education. But personally, I didn’t like those areas when I was a student (I do like some of them now) because how I was taught at my school was not interesting, which I think is problematic.
And fortunately, there is a movement to add one more letter “A” (Art) in order to make it more interactive and fun, turning it to “STEAM“. And Mr. Mack from the video above is one of the examples for the STEAM with a playful mind.

2015_11_08 STEAM

To learn more about what STEAM is, I came across the link of “5-Minute Film Festival: Arts Integration Turns STEM to STEAM”. This link includes 9 videos on STEAM. Here are some of them I would like to share.

【What is STEAM education and littleBits? (03:58) 】
It’s an intro video and easy to watch (the kids are cute, too).

【Staging STEM — Theatre Arts Integration — Alley Theatre (02:57) 】
I also integrated acting in literature class!

【Integrating Art with STEM Education | Océane Boulais | TEDxBocaRaton (07:55) 】
Interesting TED talk on STEAM.

In the last video, the presenter exemplified 3 iconic persons to explain the importance of integrating A to the STEM: Leonardo da vinci, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. Mona Lisa and iPhone are the products of STEAM!

In conclusion, I believe Art is the key supplemental component to the innovation and playful mind. And as every child is an Artist (according to the great educator Sir Ken Robinson), we need to put more value on this “A” in education system.

This time, I learned that:

Playful mind can be maintained and enhanced through Art, and educators should be aware of it, and show it to them instead of just telling.

As is shown with STEAM, Art and innovation are strongly connected since the former allows you to be out of the box, which is the key component of the latter.


2 thoughts on “Play, Art and Innovation

  1. BG

    Yeah, art really liberates students! Recently, I ve been using Jazz chants by Carolyn Graham and it was huge! No student is left behind when we chant: it reaches everyone from the quietest to the naughtiest 🙂 In order to chant one doesn’t have to be musical, but catching the rhythm and beat was fun for them and plus body movement helped them to feel freer. This worked well for both boys and girls, because in my opinion, sometimes , I find that classroom activities are not challenging enough for boys.

    Actually, I wanted to ask from you about integrating theatre in to classroom:) I have been searching ways and activities around. .. Will be happy to read if u share more on this:)


    1. MD Post author

      Thanks you BG for your comment. I like your example of Jazz (and I am such a big fun of Jazz, too!) and I agree that chanting will take away many barriers that exist in daily life.
      Regarding the integration of theater into the classroom, I will try to share more about this in the future! Thanks again.


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