The Arts are Global Competencies
“The arts must be taken no less seriously than the sciences as modes of discovery, creation and enlargement of knowledge in the broad sense of advancement of understanding … [The] arts obviously play a prominent role in worldmaking; our worlds are no more a heritage from scientists, biographers, and historians than from novelists, playwrights, and painters.” – Nelson Goodman (Ways of Worldmaking, 1978)
The arts play a critical role in shaping a student's worldview in ways that are at once deeply personal and universal. The exploration of dance, music, theater, and visual arts allows students to experience their own culture and to meet other cultures and traditions in unique and inviting ways.
The arts with a global focus promote understanding of the world by asking:
- What are the arts skills and understandings our students need to know and be able to do to better investigate the world through artistic expression?
- What are the arts skills and understandings our students need to know and be able to do in order to recognize their own and weigh others' perspectives?
- What are the arts skills and understandings our students need to know and be able to do in order to give personal and communal expression and communicate ideas in and about a complex world?
- What are the arts skills and understandings our students need to know and be able to do in order to take action and make a difference in the world?
Beyond exposure to global cultures, the arts particularly equip students to meet the challenges of the world. By exercising imagination in producing and exhibiting their own works of art, students build the creative muscle to approach problems and opportunities with spirit and innovation. In the course of learning about the works of others, they learn to interpret and share non-literal messages—a critical need in an era where a flood of information is increasingly visual and expressive rather than verbal and linear. From a broader perspective, students learn that the arts refresh the human spirit, restore hope, and remind us of the beauty in life. As students prepare to face the sometimes-daunting challenges ahead, they can turn to art for inspiration, understanding, and rest.
To learn about Asia Society's professional development opportunities for teachers and leaders in global competence, contact Kate Farmer [firstname.lastname@example.org].