Students Meeting Art: Teaching Creativity in Thailand

学生与艺术的邂逅:泰国的独创性教学

 When it comes to educating students, how important is creativity in the grand scheme of things? 

当谈到教育学生时,创造力在事物的整体规划中有多重要?

There’s no doubt that students today live in a world very different from previous generations. The answers for how to navigate issues like climate change, global-pandemics and the rise of artificial intelligence, won’t be found in a textbook, lecture, or exam; they’ll be birthed from far-reaching and courageous imaginations, from unexpected dreamers and radical minds. In other words, tomorrow’s changemakers are today’s creative thinkers. 

毫无疑问,今天的学生生活在一个不同于过去几代人的世界里。对于如何应对气候变化、全球流行病和人工智能崛起等问题的答案,是不会在教科书、讲座或考试中找到的;这些答案将从深远且大胆的想象中诞生,从出人意料的梦想家和激进的头脑风暴中诞生。换句话说,明天的变革者是今天的创造性思考者。

Students in many Western countries are herded through curriculums that favour hard subjects to the detriment of so-called soft subjects — an emphasis seen as necessary to compete on an international level. Schools in Eastern countries like China and Hong Kong are notorious for pushing high test scores in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths). But these achievements usually rely on rote memorization and immense time spent studying to the exclusion of all else. It’s relatively straightforward for schools to churn out winning numbers when the main skill they’re evaluating is a student’s ability to regurgitate information. In this equation for academic success, critical thinking and creative problem-solving often get left in the dust, unhoned.  

许多西方国家的学生都更偏重选择硬科目而非所谓的软科目课程——而软科目被认为是在国际水平上竞争的必要条件中国和香港等东方国家的学校以在STEM科目(科学、技术、工程和数学)上取得高分而名声狼藉。因为这些成就通常依赖于死记硬背和大量的时间学习,并把其他与学习无关的事情都置之度外。当学校主要评估的是学生获取和解读信息的能力时,这就能比较能简单直接的得出结论。对于学术成功的这一复杂问题,批判性思维和创造性解决问题往往被抛在脑后。

So while young people may find themselves excelling in the confines of school, what about life beyond the classroom? How mentally and emotionally equipped are these students to adapt to the world’s shapeshifting present, and to create lasting change in its uncertain and challenging future?

因此,虽然年轻人可能发现自己在学校里表现出色,但在校外的生活呢?这些学生在心理和情感上具备了怎样的素质,来适应不断变化的当今世界,并在不确定且具有挑战性的未来中创造持久的变化呢?

It could be argued that ignoring the arts for STEM subjects and encouraging follow-the-leader behaviour did a reasonable job at preparing students for the “real world” in the past. Not too long ago most folks were still wedded to the single-career employment model: work at a company for 30 or 40 years, then retire at age 65 with a pension. Doing what you were told without rocking the boat is a useful skill for this kind of path.

有人可能会说,在过去,忽视STEM学科的艺术,鼓励模仿追随的行为,是为学生迎接“现实世界”做了明智的准备。在过去,大多数人还固守着单一职业的就业模式:在一家公司工作30或40年,然后在65岁退休并领取养老金。在这种情况下,按吩咐办事而不惹生非是一项很有用的技能。

Fast forward: between the internet and globalisation, pause to reflect on Covid, and Climate-Change, that old-school employment model is growing more obsolete by the hour. With the ongoing rise of self-employment, having an entrepreneurial spirit and leadership sensibility is paramount with the average person now expected to average between 12 to 15 jobs during their lifetime. No wonder creative economies are emerging as one of the fastest growing in the world — it’s being driven by this new wave of risk-takers.

快进:在互联网和全球化发展期间,反思新冠疫情以及气候变化,这种老式的就业模式正日益过时。随着自主创业的不断兴起,拥有创业精神和领导能力是至关重要的,现在每个人一生平均要做12到15份工作。难怪创意经济正成为世界上增长最快的经济体之一——这是由新一波冒险者推动的。

Being entrepreneurial is nothing new to artists. They are, after all, in business for themselves. With their finger always on the pulse of the cultural climate, sensing its natural ebb and flow, these creative practitioners must constantly retool their product, marketing techniques, and overall business model. But despite their multitasking prowess, many artists aren’t able to earn a sustainable living from their artwork alone. Instead, they seek alternative means of income still related to their creative practice. 

对于艺术家来说,创业并不是什么新鲜事。毕竟,他们是在为自己做生意。这些创意从业者始终把握着文化气候的脉搏,感受着它自然地盛衰更迭,他们必须不断地重组自己的产品、营销技巧和整体商业模式。但是,尽管他们具有一心多用的能力,许多艺术家还是无法仅靠他们的艺术作品来维持生计。相反,他们寻求与创作实践相关的其他收入方式。

Over time, we’ve gone from artist-as-brooding-genius to artist-as-Jack/Jill-of-all-trades. The artist’s ability to adapt to an ever-changing industry is just as important as the brush marks they make on canvas. Today’s creative practitioners aren’t just makers but polymaths through and through: they’re entrepreneurs, social media masters, teachers, content creators, small business owners, tech gurus, curators, gallerists, sales people, accountants, connectors, and — oh yeah — trained artists.

随着时间的推移,我们已经从一个忧郁的天才艺术家变成了多才多艺的艺术家。艺术家适应不断变化的行业的能力就像他们在画布上留下的画笔标记一样重要。今天的创意从业者不仅是制造者,而且是彻头彻尾的博学之人:他们是企业家、社交媒体大师、教师、内容创作者、小企业主、技术大师、策展人、画廊设计师、销售人员、会计师、联络者,还有——哦,是的——训练有素的艺术家。

So what’s the connection between these polymath creative practitioners and our aforementioned creatively-challenged students? Well, our students need to enhance their creative skill-sets if they are to make their own way in today’s brave new world, and artists have an innate power to help them do just that. What remains is figuring out the details. How do we incorporate an artist’s wisdom into a regular school that follows a mainstream curriculum?

那么,这些博学多才的创意实践者和我们前面提到的那些缺乏创造力的学生之间有什么联系呢?如果我们的学生想在今天这个美丽新世界里走出自己的路,他们需要提高自己的创造性技能,而艺术家们有一种与生俱来的力量来帮助他们做到这一点。剩下的就是解决细节问题。我们如何将艺术家的智慧融入到一所遵循主流课程的正规学校里?

Regularly bringing creative practitioners into the fold of everyday classroom experiences is one possible answer to this riddle. Situated amid the iconic rolling hills of northern Thailand in Mae Rim district, Prem Tinsulanonda International School (PTIS) offers a unique approach, employing a Creative Director who works with the Head of School & CEO and driving forward a progressive educational programme, Artist Residency Thailand (ART). The unique role and programme brings together working artists, creative practitioners and young people to enhance creative thinking and overall engagement in hard and soft subjects alike from Junior School to Senior School. 

定期将创意实践者带入日常的课堂体验中也许能解决这个谜题。坐落于泰国北部湄林区(Mae Rim district)标志性的起伏山丘之中的普林国际学校(PTIS),提供了一种独特的教学方式,学校聘请了一位创意总监,他与学校负责人和首席执行官合作,推动了一个超前的教育项目,泰国艺术家驻留项目(ART)。这一独特的角色和课程将职业艺术家、创意从业者和年轻人聚集在一起,来提高创造性思维并全面参与从初中到高中的软硬科目。

Imagine watching the acclaimed British actor Miltos Yerolemou — of Game of Thrones fame — step up to the front of an English class and recite Romeo & Juliet to a group of wide-eyed grade-school kids sitting on the edge of their classroom chairs. Students who couldn’t care less about iambic pentameter the day before now suddenly find themselves deeply interested in what this Shakespeare fellow has to say.  

想象一下因《权力的游戏》而出名的英国演员米尔托斯·耶罗莱莫(Miltos Yerolemou)走到英语教室前面,对着一群坐在教室椅子边上、睁大眼睛的小学生背诵《罗密欧与朱丽叶》。那些前一天还对五步抑扬格不感兴趣的学生,现在突然发现自己对这个莎士比亚学者说的话非常感兴趣。

Game of Thrones Actor Miltos Yerolemou helps English Literature students to bring Shakespeare to life 
《权力的游戏》演员米尔托斯·耶罗莱莫(Miltos Yerolemou)帮助英国文学专业的学生将莎士比亚带入生活

关于ART项目

About Artist Residency Thailand (ART) Programme

Now in its ninth official year, the premise of ART is simple: identify and accept an application from an international or local creative practitioner to join the programme and stay at the school anywhere from ten days to a month. The artist may be from any field or genre: music, graffiti art, filmmaking, dancing, acting, writing, painting, and so on, the programme also works with philosophers and culinary artists, all of whom sit within ART’s broad definition of creativity. During the residency, the artist spends 60% of his or her time on their personal artistic practice, and the rest delivering creative workshops to the students, largely based around that practice. ART’s programme founder and Creative Director Alex Soulsby provides one-on-one mentoring to the artists-in-residence, helping ensure that they learn how best to deliver workshops, engagements to the school’s young students, professional development to teaching staff and leadership and even engagements and performances to the wider community. In addition to this mentoring and professional support, the programme offers each creative practitioner studio space, meals, marketing support and accommodation. 

今年是ART项目的第九个正式年头,它的前提条件很简单:确定并接受来自国际或本地创意从业者的申请,加入该项目,并在学校停留十天至一个月。艺术家可能来自任何领域或流派:音乐、涂鸦艺术、电影制作、舞蹈、表演、写作、绘画等等,该项目还与哲学家和烹饪艺术家合作,所有这些都属于ART项目对创造力的广泛定义。在驻留期间,艺术家将60%的时间花在个人艺术实践上,其余的时间主要围绕实践为学生举办创意研习会。ART项目创始人兼创意总监亚历克斯·苏尔斯比(Alex Soulsby)为驻校艺术家提供一对一的指导,帮助并确保他们了解如何更好地为学校的年轻学生举办研习会和活动、为教学人员和领导层提供专业进修,甚至为更广泛的社区开展活动和表演。除了指导和专业支持,该项目还为每位创意从业者提供工作室空间、餐饮、营销支持和住宿。

One of the major benefits of the programme is how it integrates with pre-existing curriculum, rather than being awkwardly tacked on or targeting only art students, music or drama students. (Many art residencies that work with schools exist more or less separately from the curriculum’s core learning objectives) In contrast, ART uses the arts to involve young people in a wide-range of engagements that are central to the curriculum. For example, a professional ceramicist might join forces with the school’s chemistry department to show the young people how heat impacts glazes and molecular bonding. The tactile workshop helps visually cement scientific theory and is particularly useful to kinesthetic learners. 

该课程的主要好处之一是,它与现有课程相结合,而不是笨拙地附加在课程上,或者只针对艺术、音乐或戏剧专业的学生。(许多与学校合作的艺术家驻留计划或多或少与课程的核心学习目标分离)相反,ART项目对课程核心利用艺术让年轻人参与到广泛的活动中。例如,一位专业陶艺家可能会与学校的化学系合作,向年轻人展示热是如何影响釉料和分子结合的。触觉研习会有助于视觉上巩固科学理论,对动觉型学习者特别有用。

American Glass Artist, Jeremy Popelka demonstrating to Grade 1 students, how heat is used to make sculpture with glass 
美国玻璃艺术家杰里米·波佩尔卡(Jeremy Popelka)向一年级学生演示如何利用热量制作玻璃雕塑

Giving young people creative agency in this way lets them reach their higher potential. Having a Creative Practitioner in the classroom — an outside voice — engages them in approaches to learning that is often outside of,or additional to their usual relationship with schoolwork. And this, in turn, encourages students to learn more about that subject on their own time — and on their own terms. These students are helped to think for themselves, problem-solve in unique ways, and ultimately offer valuable contributions to the world. As Alex Soulsby suggests, “the interaction with these creative practitioners helps create organic agency in each student’s own learning, contributing to what a regular teacher can do and inspire on their own, but often going beyond what takes place in that day-to-day engagement between teacher and student.” 

以这种方式赋予年轻人创造力,可以让他们发挥更大的潜力。教室里有一个创意实践者——外来的声音——让他们参与到学习方法中,而不再是额外附加在常规学习上。而这反过来又鼓励学生利用自己的时间,以自己的方式学习更多有关这门学科的知识。有助于这些学生能独立思考,以独特的方式解决问题,并最终为世界做出有价值的贡献。正如亚历克斯·苏尔斯比(Alex Soulsby)所建议的那样,“与这些创意实践者的互动有助于在每个学生的学习中创造有机作用,为普通教师提供帮助,并激励他们,但这往往会超出师生之间的日常互动。”

How this works in practice is a real treat to see. A range of eclectic artists has already walked through PREM’s classrooms, sparking genuine curiosity and leaving a lasting impression on the young people and wider community. To teach them about water conservation, for example, writer and US Presidential Advisor Paula DiPerna led an experiment that demonstrated the practical impacts of water waste in Thailand and countries elsewhere. Meanwhile, UK-based musician Chris T-T passed on his own passion for punk rock to the students during his stay. He introduced them to punk philosophy and facilitated a song writing workshop inspired by the influential movement. Chris says about his time with the programme:

这个项目能在实践中起作用,是让人高兴的事。一些不拘一格的艺术家已走进普林国际学校的课堂,激发了真正的好奇心,给年轻人和更广泛的社区留下了持久的印象。例如,为了教他们节约用水,作家兼美国总统顾问保拉·迪佩纳(Paula DiPerna)领导了一项实验,展示了在泰国和其他国家水资源浪费的实际影响。与此同时,英国音乐家克里斯·T-T在驻留期间把自己对朋克摇滚的热情传递给了学生们。他向他们介绍了朋克哲学,并在颇具影响力的朋克运动的启发下举办了一场歌曲创作研习会。克里斯谈到了他在这个项目上的经历:

“I had a fascinating, hugely positive experience as an artist-in-residence. It was a unique chance for me to work in a part of the world I might never have otherwise got to visit. I very much enjoyed working with the kids at Prem and learned a lot about my own creative process by taking myself away from my usual bubble of southern England. I’m hoping to return to northern Thailand in the future because I fell in love with that part of the world — so the trip had a major positive impact on my working life.”

“作为一名常驻艺术家,我有一段极具吸引力且十分积极的经历。对我来说,这是一个独一无二的机会,我可以到世界上一个从未去过的地方工作。我非常喜欢和普林国际学校的孩子们一起工作,而且远离英格兰南部的日常生活后,我在自己的创作过程中学到了很多。我希望将来还能回到泰国北部,因为我爱上了那里——所以这次旅行对我的工作生活产生了重大积极的影响。”

英国音乐家克里斯·T-T(Chris T-T )

Interactive workshops like the ones facilitated by Chris T-T create heightened engagement between students and the curriculum. When lessons are delivered creatively, students organically pick up on it. Regular staff also benefit from having access to ongoing professional development throughout the year. The workshop multimedia formats target different learning styles through tactile experiments, visual media, hands-on activities, and open dialogues. Having an international artist in the classroom exposes young students to new ideas and fresh perspectives on a range of subjects, helping them develop into true global citizens. The workshops not only diversify learning outcomes in the classroom, but help illuminate the importance of creativity in the real world

像Chris T-T这样的互动式研讨会可以提高学生对课程的参与度。当以创造性的方式授课时,学生们自然地就会接受它。正式员工全年都可获得持续的专业发展。研习会采用多媒体形式,透过触觉实验、视觉媒体、动手实践活动和开放对话,针对不同的学习风格。有一位国际艺术家在课堂上让年轻学生接触到一系列主题的新思想和新观点,有助于让他们成为真正的全球公民。研习会不仅使课堂上的学习成果多样化,而且有助于阐明创造力在现实世界中的重要性。

Plus, there’s the coolness-factor: being taught English by your favourite actor or learning about song writing from a punk rocker you’ve seen on TV is surely captivating to young people. Unique lessons like these instantly feel more relevant to students and can rally enthusiasm for subjects that some students might otherwise be resistant to. As the students and faculty at PTIS have learned, the artist-run workshops both motivate the students and provide support for the school’s staff teachers. And the programme’s success shouldn’t really come as any surprise: artists are a natural fit for working with young people. A big part of their job is to stay childlike, remain curious, and step outside their comfort zone for the sake of keeping their creative practice fresh. 

此外,还有一个很酷的因素:由你最喜欢的演员教英语,或者从你在电视上看到的朋克摇滚歌手那里学习写歌,这些都对年轻人很有吸引力。像这样独特的课程会立即让学生感到更有意义,并激发某些对科目可能有抵触的学生对其产生热情。正如普林国际学校的学生和教师所了解到的,艺术家开办的研习班既激励了学生,又为学校的教职工提供了支持。这个项目的成功并不令人意外:艺术家天生就适合和年轻人一起工作。他们的工作很大一部分是保持孩子气、保持好奇心、走出他们的舒适区,来保持创意实践的新鲜感。

Finally, a programme like this benefits the artists themselves by increasing their marketability and skill-set for future employment. Knowing how to teach is invaluable to any artist’s earning potential and professional growth. They might go on to offer workshops at other international schools, organisations, or for private clients. As Miltos Yerolemou shares about his residency at PTIS, “What I like the most is that an artist can work with the teachers as well as the students. The work encompasses and embraces everyone’s curiosity, talents and energy. I love it because I learn as much as the students, and that is always inspiring.” The programme really is a win for everyone involved.

最后,这样的项目通过提高艺术家的市场竞争力和未来就业的技能,使他们自身受益。知道如何教学对任何艺术家的收入潜力和专业发展都是无价的。他们可能会继续面向其他国际学校、组织或私人客户举办研习班。正如米尔托斯·耶罗莱莫(Miltos Yerolemou)分享他在普林国际学校的驻留经历一样,“我最喜欢的是艺术家可以和老师以及学生一起工作。这项工作包容并接纳每个人的好奇心、天赋和活力。我喜欢这个工作,因为我和学生一样在学习,这是激动人心的事情。”这个项目对参与的每个人来说都是一场胜利。

Philosopher, writer and broadcaster Nigel Warburton delivering an Artist Residency Thailand seminar to local Thai schools and Universities
哲学家、作家和广播员奈杰尔·沃伯顿(Nigel Warburton)在泰国当地的学校和大学举办了一场泰国艺术家驻留项目研讨会

Jane Bryant, meanwhile, is on the other side of the education equation as the former CEO of ARTSWORK, the UK-based youth arts development agency that was founded and by chaired by the late Sir Ken Robinson. As a previous programme participant, Jane offers her insight on ART’s potential as a model for the future: 

与此同时,简•布莱恩特(Jane Bryant)则站在教育问题的另一边。她是英国青年艺术发展机构ARTSWORK的前首席执行官,该机构由已故的肯•罗宾逊爵士(Sir Ken Robinson)创立并担任主席。作为之前的项目参与者,Jane提供了她对ART项目作为未来发展模式潜力的见解:

“This extraordinary international programme offers creative practitioners — at different stages in their careers — an incredible opportunity to immerse themselves in developing and enhancing their own innovative and creative practice. What undoubtedly enriches this is the unique community context and the associated development of practitioners’ workshop and education leadership skills as part of a completely integrated approach. In my experience, this programme acts as an international model, uniquely drawing from the inspirational inter-relationships between innovative creative practice and education and community development.”

“这个非同寻常的国际性项目为处于职业生涯不同阶段的创意从业者提供了一个难得的机会,让他们能够专注于发展和提升自己的创新和创意实践。”毫无疑问,独特的社区环境、以及从业人员研习会和教育领导技能的结合发展,是丰富这个项目的综合方法。根据我的经验,这个项目是一个国际模式,独特地借鉴了创新实践与教育和社区发展之间富有启发性的相互关系。”

Our time spent at school inevitably impacts our relationship with the world and each other for the rest of our lives. Engaging young people on their own terms gives students greater ownership over their own learning. And when students feel a sense of true agency, the real magic can begin. As the world continues to evolve, so too must our education models — and we’d do well to move forward with approaches that embed creative learning directly into the system. The time has come when our younger generations must not only re-imagine but recreate our world for the better. 

我们在学校度过的时间不可避免地会影响我们与世界的关系,以及我们的接下来的生活。让年轻人按照自己的意愿参与学习,可以让学生对自己的学习掌握更大的自主权。当学生们感受到真正的能动性时,真正的魔力就开始了。随着世界的不断发展,我们的教育模式也必须不断发展——我们应该把创造性的学习方法直接嵌入到系统中。现在,我们的年轻一代不仅要重新设想,而且要重新创造一个更美好的世界的时代。

There’s an excellent reason why nearly all reputable cultural institutions like theatres, museums, and galleries have a department or person to connect arts and education. It only makes sense that our schools follow their lead and forge a link between creative development inside and outside the classrooms. The simple truth is, that this approach keeps learning fresh, energised and relevant to all the key stakeholders, not least of all the voice of our young people, that can all too often be muted in the process of formal education’

这就充分解释了为什么几乎所有知名的文化机构,如剧院、博物馆和画廊,都有一个部门或人员将艺术和教育联系起来。我们学校应该跟随他们的脚步,在课堂内外建立起创造性发展的联系。简单的事实是,这种方法使学习保持新鲜感、充满活力,并与所有关键利益相关者息息相关,尤其是我们年轻人的声音,而在正规教育的过程中,这些声音往往会被压制。

With ever increasing accolades and critical acclaim, including being a finalist for International Impact in the 2021 International School Awards, Prem is proud to be recognized globally for this unique and important work, ensuring our students are prepared for a challenging and uncertain future.

随着越来越多的赞誉和评论,包括入围了2021年国际学校奖国际影响力奖项,普林国际学校因这项独特且重要的工作在全球得到认可而感到自豪,并确保我们的学生为一个充满挑战和不确定的未来做好准备。

 

By: Alex Soulsby & Kimberly Laurent Bryant 

作者:亚历克斯·索尔斯比&金伯利·劳伦特·布莱恩特

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