It is when we as educators assume such an aesthetic stance that our students may start to become aware of those new openings that may lead to possibilities never before imagined— so they can begin to envision things in ways other than the recognizable.

anthony-branker-2The Arts enable us to experience alternate realities and look at things in ways other than they appear…

The Arts free us so we can think and explore, search for understanding, and make our own meaning…

The Arts make it possible for us to unearth our identities as we create ourselves…

The Arts encourage our imaginations to take flight while mingling with the knowledge we have already come by…

And, it is our personal relationship with the Arts that gives us the courage to reveal “who we are” and “what we feel” whenever we share those intimate expressions of our creative thinking.

Doorways leading to treasure-filled classroom spaces are awaiting students involved in the arts…spaces where lived experiences are valued, multiple perspectives are permitted to co-exist in creative tension, interactive processes create synergistic realizations, and where difference is a fuel for powering collaboration and creative actions. It is when we as educators assume such an aesthetic stance that our students may start to become aware of those new openings that may lead to possibilities never before imagined—so they can begin to envision things in ways other than the recognizable.

Involvement with the arts can also help develop our awareness of other ways of knowing. In so doing, we can be transported from those reflexive ways of thinking and experiencing that are reflective of an outlook guided by habits of the mind. Placing focus on these types of cognitive processes can impact our ability to make meaning out of that which we are presented, expand upon our perspectives, and experience our surroundings with a fresh mindset and renewed sensibilities. No longer bound to those characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving, and knowing, we can now embark on a journey of exploration and discovery and, in the process, gain a more profound understanding of each other and the world we share.

Credits

This article was originally published in 2015 by the Princeton University Office of Development Communications. It has been reprinted and adapted for the web with permission.

Photography by Kah Leong Poon