The arts call on different forms of intelligence and enable us to confront, understand and interpret reality and transpose it into symbolic language. The practice of an art form offers access to the world of the imagination and draws on creativity. It provides a new way of seeing people, things and events and of communicating this new vision through art. Works of art are part of the history of societies and reflect their aesthetic and cultural values. They also contribute to social and human development, because they play an important role in expressing and preserving the values of societies and the identity of peoples.
Contribution of the Arts Education Subject Area to Students’ General Education:
The practice of an art form enables adolescents to develop their creativity through the combined application of sensitivity and rationality. They draw on all aspects of the self in order to convey their ideas, values and dreams in symbolic language that opens up new perspectives on themselves, others and their environment. Arts Education thus contributes to students’ construction of identity, the enrichment of their world-view and their empowerment. It can also help them discover connections between their learning in school and the world of work and pave their way to studies leading to many occupations and trades in the arts and culture.
Arts Education in Secondary Cycle Two carries on from that in Cycle One. Students enrolled in one of the General Education Paths can continue their training through a compulsory course every year of the cycle. Although the arts are not a formal part of the curriculum in the Work-Oriented Training Path, teachers in this path can take advantage of these programs to enrich the learning situations provided for students. In the General Education Path and the Applied General Education Path, optional courses may be added that allow students to pursue further learning in an Arts Education subject or to explore the use of multimedia in relation to an art form.
Students are offered a range of artistic experiences that speak to them personally and encourage them to explore social and global issues. They develop their critical and aesthetic faculties and broaden their cultural horizons through exposure to works of different periods and origins, visits to cultural sites, meetings with artists and active participation in the artistic life of the school and the community.
Elements Common to the Subjects in the Arts Education Subject Area
Beyond their specific characteristics, the Arts Education subjects share a common vision, contribute to the development of similar attitudes, are based on the same creative dynamic and include activities of creation, interpretation and appreciation of the same nature.
The connecting thread among all these subjects is that they allow students to use symbolic language to convey their representations of reality and their world-view in various situations involving creation, interpretation and appreciation.
Learning in the arts makes students aware of the importance of being receptive to their sensations, impressions and emotions. It teaches them to show openness to activities involving creation, interpretation and appreciation. The practice of an art form encourages them to adopt a constructive attitude to their experiences, to cooperative work and to criticism. As they progress, they have more and more opportunities to demonstrate autonomy by expressing their personal, social and cultural values in making decisions.
The creative dynamic, which is common to all the Arts Education programs, is a tool that can help students become aware of their creativity and develop their autonomy through creation. The relevance and the value of the concept of the creative dynamic is that it sees creation as a systemic phenomenon combining an approach and a process and involving an ongoing dialogue between theory and practice, action and reflection, experience and cultural enrichment.
In each of these programs, activities of creation, interpretation and appreciation serve as catalyst, thread or framework for the creative dynamic.