Better late than never! This week has been International Arts Education Week across the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrated the inaugural International Arts Education Week back in 2012. This year’s theme is Arts Education for Sustainable Development.
(UNESCO) recognizes the ongoing importance of arts education in contributing to local and global awareness of cultural, economic, environmental and humanitarian concerns. Arts education with a core emphasis on doing/making/presenting offer exciting, dynamic cross opportunities for action.
UNESCO firmly believes in the importance of arts education and considers it integral to most, if not all cultures of the world. Furthermore, The World Alliance for Arts Education proudly advocates for the role that arts educators and artists can have in educating for sustainable development in formal, informal and non-formal education contexts.
The benefits of introducing the arts and cultural practices into learning environments showcase a balanced intellectual, emotional and psychological development of individuals and societies. Such education not only strengthens cognitive development and the acquisition of life skills – innovative and creative thinking, critical reflection, communicational and inter-personal skills, etc – but also enhances social adaptability and cultural awareness for individuals, enabling them to build personal and collective identities as well as tolerance and acceptance, appreciation of others. The positive impact it gives on the development of societies ranges from cultivating social cohesion and cultural diversity to preventing standardization and promoting sustainable development. (UNESCO)
We sometimes think just of our drama students, our classroom, our school, and forget the bigger picture. Our students, their drama performances before their parents, the school play or musical, all contribute to the fabric and development of our society in rich and diverse ways. The impact drama class has on each and every one of our students is often profound. Our students carry this creativity, self-confidence, imaginative skills, higher order thinking, and the ability to communicate confidently – all learned in drama class – with them for the rest of their lives.