Art teachers from all educational networks gathered in front of the Constitutional Court to challenge the new learning goals. They pay exaggerated attention to science and believe they are endangering the arts.
In September 2021, it will be a year since Flemish art teachers sounded the alarm bells to express their concern about the new achievement targets for upper and third cycles of secondary education. According to them, there is too much room for science and technology in these objectives to be achieved. Art and culture courses are reduced.
In September 2021, it will be a year since Flemish art teachers sounded the alarm bells to express their concern about the new achievement targets for upper and third cycles of secondary education. According to them, there is too much room for science and technology in these objectives to be achieved. Art and culture courses are reduced. There is a lot of concern about this, especially in arts education. Teachers in these schools fear that more math and science will demotivate or even abandon their students. “Our students have deliberately chosen these artistic subjects because they derive a motivation from them”, it seems. That is why they initiated proceedings before the Constitutional Court. They hope that achievement goals that are disadvantageous to their students will be destroyed. More or less artistic subjects in the schedules? We asked a math and music teacher, an artist and an art student. “In a few months, I will graduate as a plastic education teacher. But now that there is less and less room for arts subjects in the new curriculum, I wonder if there will still be room within the school walls for people like me. Fortunately, with my diploma, I can also apply for a job in museums or cultural centers. But I would prefer to teach. “Curriculum developers often underestimate the importance of arts subjects for youth development. As a human being, you need more than a book or a movie to broaden your horizons. With aesthetics or drawing lessons, you put students in contact with things that – in the digital age – are no longer so obvious. Many students see it as a normal lesson. But for some, it can be the start of a passion for life. “I understand that people want to focus more on the exact sciences. One thing to remember: a difficult calculation can always be done by a computer. But we will always need a person for a painting, drawing or photo full of emotion and creativity. ‘ “Of course, arts subjects are no less important than math, physics or chemistry. Many people won’t believe it, but art is pure science. Think of sound waves in music or the refraction of light in photography. This is also the reason why I sometimes use a sound wave during my math class to demonstrate something. And during my music lessons, I regularly use a mathematical formula, for example to calculate the risk of hearing damage. ‘ “It is a pity that there is less space in the new lesson tables for artistic subjects. Because although visual education, aesthetics or music require study, there is a whole different atmosphere during these subjects than during a mathematics class. And that’s normal. When you are creative, you are reaching out to other parts of your brain. Music or drawing lessons are therefore very important – during a full day of lessons – to allow the pupils to relax for a while. ‘ “During my adolescence, the subjects of artistic school did not impress me much. I was particularly inspired by the stories from history and geography lessons. After my graphic design studies I went on a trip. Artists I have met all over the world have given me ideas that you cannot learn in school. Not just on the technology, but also in my search for inspiration. ‘ “Arts subjects should not be assessed like classical subjects. It kills freedom of speech. And therefore also for creativity. The majority of students would do anything to be successful and graduate as quickly as possible. And there, it pinches the shoe. As an artist, you have to dare to do things that go against the imposed standards: to question the rules and techniques and to revolt against the opinion of the school or the teacher. But this attitude is not tolerated in the current education system.
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