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Art in Education- An interview with. Munindra Narayan Bhattacharya Retd. Principal, Goalpara DIET

Art in Education- An interview with. Munindra Narayan Bhattacharya Retd. Principal, Goalpara DIET


Sukanya Bharadwaj

          Art is the most primitive instinct of man. It is a language meant to speak the things that can't be said.  The  entity of art, as a medium of visual communication prevailed much before evolution of languages. Like water, art too has no single form. From the remote down to the present, it is all-pervading and have been cast in countless forms by man's own innovation, which ultimately is the genesis of his cultural awakening. Art in its broader spectrum may include performing arts like dance drama, music, literature and poetry, as well as visual art forms like paintings, sculpture, animation, photography and the like. Infact each of these artforms reflect and inculcate values, beliefs and ethoes that every society identifies itself with. Creativity is as much essential as literacy and numeracy. Self awareness, independent  thinking, decision-making problem solving, critical thinking etc. are competencies that every vocation demands today. Art takes along all these, while making way for the child's self discovery and expression. Experts have accorded much emphasis on this aspect and  have called for integrating every subject with art, thus making it an indispensible part of education. Retired Principal DIET Goalpara(Art Education) Munindra Narayan Bhattacharjya moderates more on this.

Q1. In what way is art an integral part of child's growth and development.

Ans. A child forms his first connection to his environment through art. Just when a toddler learns to take his first steps, his tender hands are often seen busy scribbling on the walls or the floor. An activity in which he derives pure joy. In the process they sometimes come out with interesting doodles that resemble real things. Many parents at this stage often mistake them to be child prodigies while they solely do it for self expression and muscular coordination. From the age of 18-20 months when they develop a strong tendency to imitate, they take pride in reproducing the acts of others, be it through music, dance, drawing or any other art form. Those who grow up with grandparents, try to imitate their mannerisms. Similarly they imitate their favorite characters from cartoon shows. Even as they go to school, the alphabets are taught to them through images. Art correlates their knowledge and experiences that helps them build conceptions and form ideas and is therefore instrumental to their growth.

Q2. How does art education Influence the learning of other subjects?

Ans: Nowadays NCERT accords lot of emphasis on Art Integrated Learning (AIL). As the child moves on to higher classes, he may find difficulty understanding complex subject matter, specially in social science, science and maths. In such situations inclusive learning doesn't happen through traditional methods. Here, when a teacher makes optimum use of technology in an innovative way, the desired result may be achieved. The best way to objectify concepts is to relate them to the real life situations of the child's environment.

Q4. In what way does art education prepare a child for the society?

Ans. The social, emotional as well as behavioural traits of the child is best fostered through AIL. Music, dance, drama, painting, recitation etc. can be means for fostering patriotism, respect, cooperation, responsibility, courage etc. which in the true sense prepares them for the society. In the same way teachers can be creative in delivering lessons about values. Here's a professor who took a glass jar and asked his students to fill it up with a few big pebbles untill it could hold no more, he then asked if there is space for anything more. The students replied in unision, 'No.' Then he took a heap of sand and asked them to fill it into the jar. To their surprise the sand settled among the spaces between the pebbles. Now the jar looked filled, yet he asked, "Can we fill in something more?" This time, a more confident, 'No' came from them. The Proffesor now came up with a glass of water and when he poured it in, the water easily got absorbed into the sand. He then explains that the jar represents life and the pebbles represent the most important things of life like education, relationships etc. Sand represented the pettier things. If we had filled the jar first with sand, there wouldn't have been enough space for the pebbles. So our priority makes a huge difference. We have the potential to accomplish just anything in this lifetime, if we use the time wisely.  And finally the water symbolised happiness. No matter how complete we are there is always space for happiness. innovative approaches like this, create happiness in learning. 

Q5. You have done several projects with CWSN. What sort of support does art education give them?

Ans I have extensively worked with CWSN and have realised that if they have impairment with one sense organ, all other senses function much more effectively than usual. Visually impaired children have extremely strong retention. Once In Kamrup DIET I came across this young batch which was visually impaired. I took them out and made them touch and feel a real goat. All of them felt it for a while. Then back in their class, I brought some soft clay and asked each of them to make a form like that. To my utter surprise, they did come out with froms that were quite like the goat. I couldn't teach them about colour but in this way could give them and idea of form and shape. Similarly, through art we can imbibe in them a sense of composition and correlation.

Q6. How does art education help in adolescence?

And: Adolescence is a stage of transition, but often it becomes challenging to cope up with the change. Keeping the child engaged in any art form, helps to channelise their energy in a positive direction. Moreover, this is a time when a sense of esteem grows in the child and they become conscious of their voice, appearance etc. Art forms like drama appeals to them at this stage, as on one hand it gives them the freedom to project themself the way they like and on the other helps explore their possibilities on appearance, costumes, voice modulation etc. which actually fascinates them. Inclusion of role-play or any other performing art boosts their confidence and belief in their own innate potential.


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