The Fine and Performing Arts & Education

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. (Paulo Freire)I see too many public service commercials-today-exhorting us to support the Performing and Fine Arts in public education. We, as a nation, have evidently become so low-brow, or unsophisticated, that we can no longer see the need for Art education in our schools. So now, we have our children pleading with us, on television commercials, to keep Art education alive. This is a sad state of affairs for us and our children, because art is what truly separates us from the beasts and allows us to rise above the mundane drudgery of life. As many others, I believe art should be at the center of education and not just because it’s good for us. Art stimulates a child’s cognitive and affective domains, as well as their motor skills, which leads to learning, discovery, creativity and motivation.Academics are very important, of course, but too often they only stimulate a very small portion of the student’s mind and heart. There are three, basic domains of learning: the Cognitive (mind), Affective (emotions or feelings) and Motor-Skills (hands-on). These three domains are key to our thinking/reasoning, learning, problem solving and creating. A healthy mind (Cognitive) is capable of taking in, retaining and processing information, which can then be applied, if retained and used, to the individual’s life. Emotions and feelings (Affective) are closely connected to an individual’s learning, because they aid in retaining and applying information, as well as stimulating the desire to learn more. Seeing, hearing, speaking, the ability to write, walk and run are all part of the individual’s Motor-skills. Without these three domains, learning, needless to say, would be impossible. Reading, writing, math and the sciences stimulate the cognitive and motor skills domains quite effectively, but the affective is too often short changed.If we think back to our school days, then we should be able to remember that the memorization of facts and successfully spitting them back out on tests was our main concern as students. This is very much a part of the learning process, and I’m not denying that, but where does the Affective domain play a significant part in this teaching process? In much of this way of learning the affective is absent, and-therefore-much of the educational material, which has just been learned, has no real application in the individual’s life and is forgotten. I remember very little about higher level math, the periodic table and scientific jargon. Why is that? It didn’t relate to my life nor touch me in a deep way. This is not to say that I, or anyone else, shouldn’t have taken math and science classes, but what I am saying is academics are less effective than they can be, because they tend to ignore the Affective domain.

I contend that the Arts use all three domains effectively, and they can-therefore-stimulate the student to apply, as well as retain, what they’ve learned. Creativity is key in this process. The Performing and Fine Arts have a distinct advantage-educationally-in their ability to allow students to create as they learn. In painting, students are in the process of creating at the same time they’re mixing colors and learning brush techniques. The same applies to sculpting and photography students. Many middle and high school music directors are-now-using computer programs to stimulate their students to compose as they learn to play and sing. Dance and theatre programs are examples, as well, of applying skills as their students learn. This artistic, educational process employs the cognitive and motor skills domains, but it also stimulates the affective. The art student experiences the sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully learning, and then being able to immediately apply this knowledge in a very personal way. The Arts can enhance a student’s ability to express their emotions in a very positive way. These students have ownership of what they have learned and are able to express this ownership through creativity. The Performing or Fine Arts student is motivated-educationally-beyond just memorizing facts and passing tests, because they’re using their newly-acquired knowledge to express what lies deep in their heart and mind.Surprisingly, the arts and sports have much in common, educationally. The basketball or football player, as well as the long-distant runner, learn their skills while applying them. The learning of physical techniques and immediate application reinforces the athlete’s desire to learn and perform even more. In team sports, such as football, baseball and basketball, the student athlete learns to work with others to produce a product, or team. The young athlete learns that the whole, or team, is greater than the sum of its parts, or players, as do dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists. As in performing ensembles, these young athletes experience the joy that comes from accomplishing something special with others. They learn, in a very intimate way, responsibility towards others and that the team is dependent on the very weakest athlete, as well as the strongest and most gifted. There’s really very little difference between a football player and a band member, when it comes to being responsible and understanding that it takes everyone-involved-to be successful. This is such a valuable and wonderful lesson, and it is learned primarily, through the affective domain.Educational collaboration between artistic disciplines is a great way for young artists to learn while they create. The pairing of young instrumentalists with dancers and visual artists, or actors with singers, can open up a whole new world of artistic exploration, discovery and creativity. These collaborations can become a great vehicle for learning and motivation, as any arts teacher who has experienced this process will testify. The educational process becomes more important than the outcome, or testing results, because it is in the process of exploration, discovery and creativity where learning really occurs. The educational outcome is secondary, because it is only used, in this case, to measure curricular goals. The motivation for and enjoying of learning comes through the process of collaboration, exploration, discovery and creating.In academia, the emphasis-today-is placed more on the outcome, or testing and grades, which, in my estimation, is a huge mistake. Academic instructors could learn much from their counterparts in the arts. The government and its politically motivated, educational policies, of course, stands in the way of any successful, corrective change to academic teaching methods. Political agendas, such as, “No child left behind” are meaningless and worthless to students and teachers, because they’re not concerned, as they so hypocritically claim, with the success of the individual learner. Instead, these agendas are merely an attempt to soothe the fevered brows of unsatisfied constituents.I will agree with academic teachers that their process seems to be more set in stone than with the arts, and the only real way they can measure educational outcomes is through testing. There has to be a way-however-to allow a math, science, English or history student to become more involved in the process of learning. English teachers have a distinct advantage, since they could use writing essays and poems to instill a sense of ownership in their students. Their students-then-could use their essays and poems to collaborate with young composers, actors and dancers, as an example. Even though it would be difficult, science, language and math teachers could also seek these same avenues for educational exploration, discovery and creativity, which would-then-hopefully-lead to a student’s retention/application, ownership and motivation. This, of course, will be impossible, as long as we allow our government to force academic teachers to teach-solely-towards the outcome, or “standardized” testing.American students, every year, fall farther behind their counterparts around the world, academically and intellectually, while their parents and teachers continue to buy into the educational propaganda, which is spewed out by the American-political machine in Washington. Every year, Art education becomes less and less important in our schools, because of it’s effectiveness in producing students who can think, reason, question, learn and create. Realistically speaking, Art education may be perceived as a threat to those who run this country and desire a race of middle-class, mindless, unquestioning and unsophisticated robots.

Education is the responsibility of the parents first and foremost, and if parents aren’t capable or willing to fight for their children’s education, then I guess America is doomed. If I were a parent-today-there would be no way I could allow my child to be intellectually molested by our current, public-education system. My child would either be home-schooled, at best, or in a private education system.The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and long lasting nations in the history of the world, and yet, as the Roman government declined, then so did its human values and arts. There is only one piece of music remaining, one mere fragment, after one thousand years of Roman culture. Rome literally disintegrated from within, because of a corrupt government and decaying society. The United States is less than two-hundred and fifty years old, and we’re already starting the lingering slide into governmental corruption, cultural ignorance and decay. Perhaps, it’s too late to save our society, but if it isn’t, then it’s time to start rebuilding what we have allowed to be torn down for the last one-hundred and fifty years. If it isn’t too late, then we must begin to rebuild our values and education system. Our values and education system may not have been perfect, in the past, but they were worthy of being fixed, properly.Most successful, world cultures, throughout history, have been measured by the quality of their philosophers and artists far more than their forms of government and technological advances. If we disappear as a nation, in another century or so, what will we be remembered for? What will be our legacy to the world?Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine. (Magdalena Abakanowicz)In my estimation, art is an integral part of being human and-therefore-is integral to human education. If we die to our affective inclinations, then we cease to be human in any real sense, and the results of this can be seen on MTV and its “Hip-Hop” generation. Money, material objects, self-absorbed egos, low-life affections and brutal power will never make us more human, if anything these extrinsic motivators will simply and affectively dehumanize us. “The one with the most toys in the end,” loses! Art education can help us to see ourselves, the world and-yes-God more clearly. We are more than flesh and blood, and our affective, as well as cognitive, attributes are exhorting us to remember this truth. The arts should be at the center of our children’s education, and our children shouldn’t have to plead with us to give them what they need and desire!

Three Types Of Livestock That Can Be Raised By Beginner Farmers

When people move from the city life to live in the country side they get interested in raising livestock. The reasons may vary as to why people want to raise livestock, some people raise them as pets and some raise them because they want to make some money by selling the livestock produce.What ever reason may be, raising livestock can be done by almost anyone who is dedicated to being a livestock farmer and someone who is willing to put aside a lot of his time in managing and taking care of their livestock. In order to raise healthy livestock you have to give the animals proper care such as feeding them nutritious food plus clean water on daily bases, building them some good shelter and have them checked by a veterinarian for health issues.There are various types of livestock you may want to raise as a beginner livestock farmer. Some of them need more care than others and maybe suitable for new farmers to raise. Three types of livestock that are suitable for beginner livestock farmers are goats, cattle and sheep. Below are more details on how you can go about raising them.Raising Cattle:A lot of farmers start by raising cattle in their farm ranch. Cattle are a stress free livestock to raise when taking good care of. Their produce such as milk and meat is in high demand in the markets for its nutritious benefits. When you own cattle you will be able provide your family with fresh milk on daily bases and save lots of money in buying milk.

When starting out in raising cattle you have to first choose the kind of breed you want to raise. There are over 800 types of breeds which are in 3 different categories known as the zebus, the hybrids and taurine cattle. Some types of breeds are good for the production of milk whilst others are suitable for meat production.When raising different types of cattle a farmer should install stalls that separate those that eat grass and hay to those that eat sophisticated feeds.Since cattle are grazing animals you have to have some large piece of land if you want to raise them. The land in which they graze on has to be well fenced so secure the livestock. For the fence you can either use electrical wiring or use a wood and steel fence. You should also prepare some equipment needed to raise cattle such as pails, water containers and feeding beds.Although cattle don’t require some sort of roofed shelter that doesn’t mean you can’t build one. A roofed shelter will also help you in storing your livestock equipment and can be used to milk your cows.Raising Goats:Goats are another type of livestock that can be raised by a beginner farmer and they are less prone to diseases than cattle. They can also be raised for the production of milk and meat which high in demand and cost more than cattle produce.When starting out raising goats you have to first make up your mind on what type of goat breed you want to raise. The type of breed depends on the end product you want to produce from your goats, you can either raise goats for the production of fiber, tasty meat and milk that is high in nutrients.Once you have made up your mind on the type of goat you want to raise you have to decide on the number of goats you are planning on raising. Knowing the number of goats you are planning on raising will help you estimate how large your land should be. One thing to note is that goats reproduce almost every year so the land should be large enough to accommodate the growth of your herd.Goats also need some shelter to rest at the end of the day. The shelter should be large enough for all your livestock to fit in properly without being over crowded. The shelter should be comfortable so that they can sleep at night and protect them from harsh weather such as too much sunlight, rain and snow. Don’t forget to fence the entire grazing land so that predators don’t attack and kill your herd.Raising Sheep:Raising sheep is very interesting and rewarding as raising cattle and goats. These type of livestock can be raised for various reasons such as producing quality wool, producing cheese from its prolific milk and the obvious tender meat. These produce can also be sold since they are in high demand.Sheep are animals that like grazing the field. If you want to raise healthy sheep then you have to have some large land of green grass for the livestock to graze on. Although feeding your sheep grain supplements plays a big part in their diet, grass fed sheep produce a higher nutritional value produce. Since sheep like grazing in a large group as a livestock farmer it can be daunting to manage them on the field so it would be wise to have a helper dog to assist you.

An essential part of raising sheep is keeping them within their confines, this helps them in not getting lost in the wild and end of being eaten by wild animals such as bobcats, bears and wild dogs. At the same time it helps in keeping these predators out of the grazing area. Using an electrified fence can help a lot and its easy to install as well.In order to ward off natural elements that can be harmful to your livestock you have to invest some money in building good housing for your sheep. When designing the house make sure you build a chute to manage the sheep when you need to make some checkups on each and everyone of them or when vaccinating them.As you see raising livestock can be done by almost anyone even if you don’t have any past experience or were not raised in a farm ranch. Just like any other type of pet they need to be taken care for and make sure they leave in comfortable conditions.When starting out its best to first start with raising one type of livestock then move on to another type when you have gotten the experience from your first set of livestock.