Ryan Dangerfield | Staff Writer | [email protected]
On Sept. 23, as part of Ethics Awareness Week, Deborah L. Escalante, assistant professor in elementary education, gave a speech entitled “21st Century Education: Our Ethical Responsibility to Teach the Arts.”
“More and more employers today are ignoring diplomas, and are looking for competent people,” said Escalante. “Employers are looking for skills that employees can bring which will make them leaders both nationally and globally.”
Escalante used YouTube videos from a number of leading educational researchers, including Tony Wagner and Sir Ken Robinson, to paint a picture of why the arts should be important to the educational system.
“Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement,” Robinson said. “It is the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”
Robinson’s video illustrated that sometimes children’s actions are artistic skills disguised as learning difficulties. For example, Robinson told a story of a little girl who could not sit still. She learned that she was a dancer and went on to become a world famous choreographer.
Escalante said the arts have the ability to teach a number of skills including critical thinking, observing, imaging, and abstract thinking.
“Technology has shown us that the brain is a magnificent pattern recognizing and organizing mechanism,” Escalante said. “The way we learn is by taking the information we receive and forming it into new patterns.”