Art in education [Archives:2009/1222/Education]

January 5 2009

Nashwan Al-khwlani
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Teaching methods are changing and developing frequently in the field of education. There are many means of teaching such as: T.V, radio, newspapers, books and lectures. However, there is difference between one method and another according to its effectiveness on the learners, even though all of them aim at transmission of knowledge. Now a days, lecturing is considered to be an art (a creative art) in which the artist is a teacher who performs effectively and creatively that art in the classroom by means of his communication skills.

When a teacher enters a classroom, he should assume a personality, different from the one that the students are exposed to outside the classroom. In other words, his relationships, problems, and dilemmas must not be exposed to the students in his presentation. Unlike others, a teacher should have good attributes: a huge knowledge in his subject; a very nice view; and an enjoyable and interesting personality which no student gets sick of during his presentation.

The worth of these attributes comes to be reflected in his presentation inside the classroom, as the dimensions of lecturing art are immeasurable. Methods of lecturing art also differ from one subject to another. Unlike “the geography teacher who speaks to his maps; and the mathematics instructor who speaks so softly and obliquely that he could neither be heard nor understood”, and sometimes like the teacher of chemistry, he should exercise some skills to get students' attention. For example, once a teacher entered a classroom carrying in his hand a piece of chalk. After greeting the students, he threw it to the ceiling deliberately in order that it fell and broke. The students were surprised why the teacher did so. “Why does the chalk fall and break?” the teacher asked. “It falls, because of the gravitation” one of the intelligent students answered. “Lovely answer, you are right! And today we will see how the gravitation process works,” the teacher comments enthusiastically. In this way he managed to focus the students' attention to the theme of the lecture.

The teacher of literature has attributes that are basically very important to be distinguished from other teachers. Some of the most significant characteristics of his personality are the following: learning, authority, ethics, order, imagination, compassion, patience, pleasure, and flexibility which are coupled with his eloquence and techniques of dramataization, particularly in teaching plays which arrests students' attention. At the very beginning of teaching a play, the teacher should act, speak, and perform as creatively as the chorus himself in a play when he recites the prologue in order to engage students' attention “and for communicating to the audience (students)exposition about its subject, offstage events, and setting.” It gives students an idea that urges them to keep absorbed in the play to the end. As much as the teacher enjoys his performing the role of a chorus, and the characters later, his students do so.

Secondly, being a teacher, he should tell students indirectly that they are going to have a different experience as if they are watching a play. This is accomplished on the stage by means of his visual demonstrations, as he is the role model of action to them. However, his action inside the class should be natural and spontaneous. His head is compared to a fan that moves automatically from one side to another. So he should look at each and every single student in the hall in order to make students feel his compassion and keep their attention alert during a lecture.

Thirdly, as he is explaining a play by reading and clarifying the complex dialogue between characters, he could use his skills of speaking to differentiate between the tone of the characters in order to attract the attention of the students and give them a feel about the supposed tone of the character of the play and, thereby, make them better understand every single event and situation in an interesting manner as he is performing and not telling the events of the play. Thus, students live that situation as real as if it happens in actual life. That is why it is called catharsis- “purgation” or “purification” of emotions. So they can witness the enactment of the play, as the teacher performs or acts so imaginatively and creatively in his presentation on the stage.

The teaching process is not akin to a lullaby by a mother to put her child to sleep; but it is more a creative and performing art. It is not merely matter of what to say but how to say it. In sum, teaching is how to keep students' attention alert in a lecture.