What About The Children Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 may (or may not) have been good in theory, but the execution has left many students lacking in imagination, critical thinking skills and frankly, common sense. Why? Because for the most part many teachers are solely “teaching to a test” (sometimes very ineffectively) and students are all being taught the same way even though studies show people learn differently and one size does not fit all.
“Trying to achieve this standard, furthermore, results in teachers focusing solely on material that will be on the state’s standardized test, making school about passing a specific test, rather than about learning as a goal in itself.” http://www.opposingviews.com/i/pros-and-cons-of-no-child-left- behind
Moreover, in pursuit of raising the reading, math, and science proficiency levels in schools, the first programs to be cut are the arts, the very thing that helps students’ brains develop and strengthens the subjects on which they are being tested. This indeed is irony at its best.
“The exciting ‘brain’ news is that participating in art, music, movement, and storytelling activities not only develops language, mathematics, science, and social skills, but these activities also strengthen the synapses between brain cells!” http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/learning-through-arts.
So what can parents do to counteract the negative effects of NCLB? Enroll their child in an ACTING CLASS! At Gary Spatz: The Playground LA, we not only bring a sense of excitement and fun to the exercises, improvisations and scene work that we do with the students, everything we do increases our students’ self-confidence, ability to effectively communicate and use their imagination and think critically and problem solve.
Our students are asked to imagine themselves in environments, create characters and communicate emotions given either limited information or no information at all. They are challenged to make the strongest, most specific choices they can and commit 100% to everything they do.
Whether a script is being used or an improvisation is being done, the students at The Playground LA have to consider “real life” situations and determine what the characters want, the best way to get that given where they are and who they’re talking to, what conflict/obstacle is standing in their way and what feelings arise as a result.
Though we’re an acting conservatory that concentrates on training for film and television, in my experience, the bulk of the testimonials we receive from parents has to do with how much their child’s confidence and ability to communicate has increased in addition to comments from their classroom teachers about better listening, focus and scores.
Until the NCLB laws are reformed and arts education is back in place where it belongs, parents find a creative outlet for your children so that they may have a chance to fully explore all aspects of themselves and what they’re capable of accomplishing!