The skills students will need to be successful in the 21st century develop quite naturally from the study of the arts. While many 20th century theorists, including John Dewey and Herbert Read, have written about the importance of the arts in human development it hasn’t been until the recent explosion of technology that the need to develop the kind of mindset that the arts produce has been seen as important to the navigation of our new globalized world. With the emergence of Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind and Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat a re-evaluation of skills and attitudes necessary for thriving in the 21st century has entered popular culture.
This re-evaluation is causing some significant change in academic and economic spheres. In 2009 the College Board issued a report titled, “Art at the Core” essentially recommending that Art be made a core course in schools. In 2010 the National Art Educators Association released their 21st Century Skills Arts Map. The Guggenheim Museum, again in 2010, sponsored Thinking Like an Artist: Creativity and Problem Solving in the Classroom: A Conference for Educators. The skills developed through an education in the arts - critical thinking, innovation, communication and collaboration are becoming core literacies equally as important as readin', writin' and 'rithmatic for the 21st century.
On this site you will find a working model for an art education practice that highlights the powerful impact that the arts can have on preparing students for the future. Many of the examples here were developed along with my colleague Nupur Gupta while I taught at the American School of Bombay. All the examples of Middle School work here is her work. This project continues with the input of my new colleagues at the International School of Beijing and will be added as it evolves.
- Brian Reverman