Art in School Education

Imaginative thinking may not be considered a skill, but it is more basic than most art skills. It is very difficult to teach in junior classes. They have their own fantasies in the art world. Entering this world is not an easy task. At the beginning of their art learning, some teacher may have asked them to draw some shape or fill up this shape with colour or to draw straight lines. Sometimes, they find this very boring and become less interested in their art classes. I usually give them a colourful landscape or funny picture with animals or human figure, colourful butterflies, paintings, etc. When it is their choice they are more likely to work hard because they care about it. Sometimes they do craft work also. I have noticed that they enjoy this activity more.
Generally students in the early teenage (from Classes VI to VIII) are allowed to choose what they like. Some students are interested while others are not. It is better to avoid surprising students with some work they are not prepared for. I try to give them some ideas on different topics for use in their sketch books. I always encourage them even when they are not doing well. Motivation is generally strongest when students own their ideas. This means that they have a say in important choices they make. When it is their choice they will do better work.
One of the important phases is when they enter higher classes, for example, class XII. At this time they develop their drawing skills, knowledge of art and colour sense. In those classes they have specific subjects like still life, imaginative painting, book cover-making, poster making, lino print etc. This part of the curriculum gives them some time to “play around” with materials. For example: the class has to do a painting in pastel colours over a transparent water colour composition. This part of the lesson is not art , it is an art skill or craft carefully presented by the teacher. Some students are impulsive and rush to finish without giving enough attention to important aspects of their work. I encourage them to develop more complex work. I use open questions to raise issues for them to consider in their work. Their greatest need is thinking practice.
When I ask for a suggestion, I first ask what the student has been thinking about. Often the student already has an idea, but is not confident enough to try it. I encourage them by pointing out that some things are only learned by practice and more practice leads to better outcomes. Over the past few years, I have conveyed my thinking to few students about the importance of art education in our life. Last year two class XII students wanted to pursue fashion designing in their degree course. The importance of art education in the development of a child’s overall personality and skills is undeniable. Art develops a child’s intelligence. It is observed that children, who are engaged in art activities, develop a better understanding of other subjects, right from languages to geography to even science. Studies have shown that exposure of children to art helps in promoting brain activity. A child learns how to solve problems. He also learns how to convey his thoughts and ideas in numerous ways. Art develops the overall personality of a child and builds a child’s self esteem and makes him disciplined. A child, due to his involvement in art, becomes much more creative and innovative and also learns how to cooperate with others. So to conclude, it can be said that art activities are a must for children’s personality development, intellectual growth and to improve their observational skills.

Prasanta Seal
Art Teacher
Ashok Hall Girls’ Residential School,
Almora, Uttarakhand


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