Residing in Galway during the Arts Festival has being a pleasure. Everywhere you turn there are creations in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Although I enjoyed all the art I was able to see, talking with the people behind the scenes and then seeing Bláth made me think about how important art is in education. As in the United States, the economic difficulties across the nation have caused schools to stop funding for the arts, leaving it to the parents to give their children the experience the school used to give. The fact that low income families often do not have the time or the money to be able to provide their children with this enriching experience stands out to me the most. Branar, the director, talked about how important it is for teachers to appreciate art and the issue now has the attention of the Department of Education in Ireland. Ireland has implanted teacher-artist partnerships to help teachers who are not artist be able to include art in their contents. “Being able to creatively move across multiple disciplines to cross pollinates ideas between domains” (Mishra, Koehler & Henriksen, 20011, p. 24) is an important skill not only for our teachers but also for our students.
The production as well as the performance of Bláth reinforced many of the teaching practices we discussed throughout the year. Children who discuss this play after viewing are able to take ownership of their learning. Bláth contains minimal language so it does not tell its viewer what is happening, they need to use their imagination. There are just enough lines to tell them what they need to know, but not what they need to think or feel; therefore, each child has the opportunity to see the play from a different view point based on their prior experiences.
The development of Bláth mirrors how we should develop our classroom and how we want our students to develop in our classroom. Their design needs to always be flexible because many times it needs to be changed for each venue. As teachers we are forced many times to tweak our plans to purpose our students and the intentions. If they make a mistake it becomes part of the art. “Errors can be a learning opportunities” (King-Sears, 2009, p. 200) for all just as the errors as teachers and the errors of our students can be used to learn together. They see how it works and play around to make it better. This reminds me of the maker movement and the idea of exploring until we succeed.
Teaching has many difficult moments especially if you are trying to be successful in what you do. I share the mentality of the director, If it’s hard then it’s right and we should do it.
King-Sears, M. (2009). Universal design for learning: Technology and pedagogy. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(4), 199-201. KingSears-2009-UDL&Tech.pdf