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How to educate in art according to expressionist painter Mark Rothko

Have you ever wondered about the relevance of art in the education of young students? How could you contribute to an education that focuses on creativity, expressiveness and critical thinking to educate more empathetic and socially aware future citizens?art in school picture

Today’s post may not give you direct answers, but we hope it will be an inspiring tool to motivate you to make small but significant changes in your approach to teaching/training.

From Mark Rothko, a great admirer of the freshness with which children produce artistic expression, and his project “The Scribble Book”, we present five simple strategies to explore art education for secondary school students (equally valid for other educational levels).

1. Just like speaking or singing, art is an inherently human form of universal expression. The ideas, observations and emotions of young students can be transformed into moving and powerful works of art that communicate their views. Reflecting on a complex or topical issue and producing an artistic manifestation that reflects the student’s personal viewpoint can be a transformative vehicle for managing one’s emotions, developing creativity and lateral thinking.

2. Despite curricular limitations, art should not be expelled from the classroom, as limiting its creativity can also hinder the development of other skills such as communication or problem solving. As far as artistic expression is concerned, Rothko recommends providing flexibility, allowing for individualisation of work

3. To reinforce students’ self-confidence, it is possible to promote activities such as collaborative discussions or classroom exhibitions in which students have the opportunity to present and express their opinions or exhibit their work in front of their peers. Inspiring confidence in one’s own abilities will be essential to develop adults who are personally and professionally capable and actively engaged in their environment.

4. Do you want to introduce art into your classes as a learning tool? Then make sure to include references to all stages of Art History, so that students have access to a wide variety of artistic manifestations and styles. This will encourage their breadth of vision and boost their creativity.

5. “Work to cultivate creative thinkers, not professional artists”. Although the reference here to the future artist is obvious, this quote can be equally applicable to other fields (e.g. an engineer or a future teacher). In any case, the approach remains the same – cultivating critical thinking will help develop more self-aware, empathetic and collaborative learners and will result in better citizens in the long run.

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