Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- Research by the VUB into art teachers in secondary schools indicates that art subjects are ideally suited to respond to the wide range of social issues that affect students, including those from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, these art subjects offer the opportunity to deal with complex subjects in various, non-linguistic ways.
Master’s student of Educational Sciences (VUB) Ester Vanherck conducted a survey among teachers from the GO!
“Art is always about something,” says Vanherck. “That makes it easy for students to gain insights through art. Art subjects are very suitable for integrating non-Western context. They can stimulate students from diverse backgrounds to delve deeper into their own culture or to examine and think about the cultural environment they have entered.”
To get an accurate picture of her research topic, Vanherck surveyed teachers from all educational networks. “And very clearly not only teachers from art education,” says Vanherck. “Most of my respondents give the art subjects image, music and drama in regular education. Only a part is active in specific art education.”
Art as a connecting language
Teachers who teach art subjects usually have a relatively large amount of pedagogical freedom about how they teach their subjects and which competencies they have in mind. This also allows them to respond well to the cultural diversity of their students. In art subjects, students can achieve learning results in different ways and creation can be regarded as a connecting, universal language, pointed BRUZZ.
By incorporating artistic expressions from different cultures into the lesson in their social, geographical and historical context on the one hand, and on the other by providing space for the cultural backgrounds and personal development of students, most teachers illustrate a pluralistic attitude.
Art stimulates a global view
Art appears to be an interesting point of reference with the (cultural) world of students. It can help to gain knowledge, to reduce prejudice and to stimulate a global view.”
“My research is not only about schools in a metropolitan and highly multicultural context,” says Vanherck. “I also asked teachers from small central cities such as Hasselt and Kortrijk, where some class groups appear to be predominantly white. Nevertheless, art teachers indicate that the presence of diverse student populations makes them think about their own teaching and curriculum.”
Need for a more diverse view of art
During the survey, art teachers indicated that during their training they were actually only prepared to a limited extent for the diversity in their future classes and that the focus remains on their own Western art canon, with Picasso, the Flemish Primitives or Rubens. “For some students, this is difficult to reconcile with the formation of their own cultural awareness, which is explicitly included in the curriculum together with cultural expression,” says Vanherck.