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- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Two summers ago I returned to China for a three-week visit to the city where my husband and I taught English in the late 1980s. Most of our Chinese friends are fellow educators and, over celebratory dishes of Sichuan-pepper fish, spicy mushroom soup, and platters of potstickers swimming in sauce, the conversation often turned to education in the United States. A number of our Chinese friends said they wished they could crack the secret of American ingenuity and creativity. Several of them had even traveled to the States in order to study our educational systems. Most of our friends had come to the conclusion that American freedom in the arts has a great deal to do with our exceptional ability to be creative as a people. They contrasted the Chinese system, in which students spend any art time they get--throughout their school years and even into college--copying the masters. The closer a Chinese student can get to cookie-cutter proximity to an original work of art, the better. Americans teach more freedom in art, even to children, my friends explained. They, as teachers, wanted to learn about this and understand it, and incorporate it into their lessons in Chinese schools.
What fools we would be to continue to chip away at our K-12 art, since it very likely is a wellspring of one of our greatest assets as a nation. People outside our country see the visual art, music, dance and drama still present in US schools as a valuable treasure. Why can't we?
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
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