Let's Talk About Education

The Arts Matter

October 26, 2021 - By Scott Little - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

At EARJ, we focus on guiding students to develop a conceptual understanding of learning objectives. This is accomplished through an approach to teaching and learning that does not aim to merely transmit knowledge but that requires students to demonstrate levels of thinking that will allow them to formulate understandings that they can retain in order to transfer the acquired skills and knowledge to new circumstances. This approach to learning takes place in all subject areas, many of which you would anticipate and others where you may not.

The Performing Arts

Student learning in drama and other performing arts classes epitomizes the conceptual approach to learning where students learn about on-stage performance and its associated skills and develop the ability to apply them in a number of scenarios. Additionally, according to Barra Upper School Drama teacher Fernando Pisani, students also learn how to respond creatively to solve problems through emotional control and sense awareness. In these areas, in particular, the performing arts make a difference in the lives of students, as through drama, students recreate and examine people’s actions, including their own. By testing and resolving human predicaments, drama activities help students to successfully face emotional, physical, and intellectual challenges in their own lives. Further development of the 4 C’s of 21st-century skills (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) requires real-time problem-solving and readiness to respond proactively in stressful situations. Responding effectively under pressure in real-time is the very definition of all performing arts and develops skills that all students benefit from developing in their everyday lives.

Future Readiness

A survey of 400 human resource executives of major U.S. corporations identified the top requirements of new recruits as being oral and written communication skills, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork, and collaboration skills (Trilling and Fadel, 2009). The importance of similar skill sets have been developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and are also the subject of numerous books including The Global Achievement Gap (Wagner, 2010). The Performing Arts can and do play an important role in the development of these skills and help to support students by contributing to their overall academic success and future career opportunities.

The Road Ahead

The EARJ community has consistently supported the Arts and has done so recently through participation in virtual exhibitions, live Zoom concerts, and recorded dramatic activities. At present, the students on both campuses have been working hard on theatrical productions that they are excited to share the details about.

Barra Campus

Barra Upper School drama students have been working hard rehearsing and look forward to performing Agatha Christie’s, “And Then There Were None” in the Barra campus gymnasium. The play is an adaptation of the mystery novel that was first published in the United Kingdom in 1939. With more than 100 million copies sold, “And Then There Were None” is the world’s best-selling mystery novel and one of the best-selling books of all time. The school production promises some surprising twists and turns that will keep everyone guessing about, “who dunnit?”

Gávea Campus

The Gavea Upper School is pleased to announce that they will be bringing the musical Mamma Mia! to the stage. Mamma Mia! takes place on a mythical Greek island in the present day, and centers around a young girl named Sophie who dreams of a white wedding, with her father giving her away at the altar. The problem is, she’s got three possible dads and has invited them all to the wedding! The high school production of Mamma Mia! is an undertaking that will also include the participation of both Middle School and Lower School students. The show is a real crowd-pleaser that will have everyone wanting more!

The Arts matter and so does our appreciation of them. EARJ thanks you for your support of the Arts and looks forward to your attendance at future events in the Lower and Upper Schools as circumstances allow.

Scott Little
Barra Upper School Principal

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