Chennai

Experts roped in to enrich arts curricula

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Sara Vetteth, founder of Rainbowfish Studio, said their art curriculum included video lessons, and teachers of schools they worked with were trained on pedagogy as well.

Learning and listening to different genres of music, using art to learn science and getting introduced to movement and dance techniques are among the features of arts classes across several schools in the city. Having turned the spotlight on arts education, many of these institutions are engaging experts across fields to design arts curricula for them.

Sara Vetteth, founder of Rainbowfish Studio, said their art curriculum included video lessons, and teachers of schools they worked with were trained on pedagogy as well. “We’ve also built a custom app, which is given to the teachers on a tablet. Through the year, they upload photos from the classrooms, based on which we can have meaningful discussions with the teachers and understand how the curriculum is being implemented better,” she explained.

Latest announcement

While Ms. Vetteth said they have been working with schools over the last five years, the recent announcement by CBSE, mandating art-integrated education, has made more schools sit up and take notice. “Art encourages students to think out of the box and we also focus on how to effectively integrate art with what they’re learning in other subjects,” she added.

A curated and customised theatre pedagogy, that covers cognitive, social, language and physical skill development in children, with original plays that have relevant themes, is the genesis of theatre group Crea-Shakthi’s theatre-in-education programme.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a definite shift in the attitudes of parents, educators and students, with regard to art education in schools,” said Dushyanth Gunashekar, founder and chief mentor, Crea-Shakthi.

He, however, stressed the need for such programmes to be curated according to the needs of a school. “While some schools might be able to allocate more time, there are institutions which might just have one designated hour for arts, per week. Only if we work closely with the ethos and demographics of the institution, can an art programme be effective,” he added. The theatre group works with 48 schools across the State.

Structured module

Having noticed that many mainstream schools in the city do not have a structured curriculum in place when it comes to arts, Preludio — a music education and production outfit from the city — has designed a curriculum for music, and are currently working with four schools in the city.

“Instead of focussing solely on performances, our curriculum focusses on theory and analytical skills, while ensuring that the students are not just passive listeners. From exposing them to different genres and even being taught to read music better, we want students to enjoy and appreciate music better,” said Mohamed Shameer, who founded Preludio, with Bhavani Anantha Subramanian.

Art periods in several schools are taken up by other subject teachers in higher classes, especially in the case of classes taking board exams. Stating that art modules and classes offer much needed respite for students who are forced to focus only on academics, Aparna Nagesh, artistic director of High Kicks Dance, insisted that schools should make time to ensure students of all classes are in touch with some form of art.

“An art hour, which is movement-based in particular, will have a positive impact, both physically and mentally, on the students,” she added.

SEED Academy director and co-founder Vani Sastri said the values that students got from learning art, paved the way forward for them to become well-rounded individuals. “Effective art integration, which focuses on creativity and collaboration, ensures that they imbibe skills to face an ever-changing world,” she added.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 3:04:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/experts-roped-in-to-enrich-arts-curricula/article30280792.ece

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