Trainee teachers at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) learned about the value of creative arts in primary schools through a series of Expressive Arts Days.
Led by Sarah Howe, Ruth Pearson and Mark Larrad, Seniors Lecturers in Primary at BGU, the aim of these carousel sessions was to show the trainees how art activities could support their teaching, even if they didn’t believe art was one of their skills.
The activities included sessions on approaches to painting from still life, the value of ‘small world’ play across the primary curriculum, as well as the opportunity to design art around the theme of blossom trees on the BGU campus.
Despite not always having a prominent focus in curriculum plans, creative arts offer a wealth of opportunities to encourage and support pupils, as Mark Larrad explained:
“It is often stated that the arts are crowded out of the National Curriculum. As educators we have a duty to ensure the next generation of teachers is empowered to be able plan and teach purposeful and motivational expressive arts activities, knowing they are making a real difference to outcomes for children and their schools.
All teachers should be able to teach art, not just those who considered themselves to be artists, and the sessions provided support for all those who realise their main challenge is to inspire the disposition to create in all the class, not just those children who have a special talent.
Ultimately, whilst we know that art will always have a less prominent focus in school than the core subjects, like English, Maths or Science, we aimed to ensure trainees were empowered to be able to ensure that what little time they for expressive arts in school will really count, so maximum benefit is achieved; and the enthusiastic feedback we had suggests the trainees found all of these sessions really useful. We´re looking forward to repeating the carousel next year.”
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