Friday, January 08, 2010

Breakdown in communication

There is a distinct divergence in acceptable terminology between science and the arts. And yet we know that science and the arts are entwined like strands of DNA in the soul of human culture. For instance, if I were to talk poetically of the heart and soul of learners, the scientific eyes start to roll. They might want facts and statistics to ascertain that learners have hearts in the first place and that they matter. Those in the arts, know without question, when one speaks of the heart, or from the heart, that the essence of human creativity is being addressed.

Science is often set to work ascertaining what any artistic human being knew in his or her heart without question. From the standpoint of the arts, we are often led by muse to create lines of poetry or prose that while touching, escape reason.

Throughout history there have been those who've abused and misused the arts in the formation of religious institutions and authoritarian states. Often what is done in the arts is inexplicable in the realm of science which demands rigid adherence to meaning and procedure. And so on one hand, what is gobbledegook to one and faith to another forms the backbone of human culture, and precision in our understanding of the universe leads us ever onward toward overcoming tyranny and irrationality in human affairs.

Recently on Fox News, a major commentator said that our current cold temperatures in the US are clear evidence that Global warming is a myth and a lie. It is a complete shame when people in such positions are so out of touch from real science. It is an even greater shame that what we have been doing in schools allows people to be so ignorant and gullible and so easily manipulated and misled. Our separation of art from science, belief from evidence is tragic for the future of our planet.

When the hands are put at their rightful place in the education of our children, and every aspect of education is measured on the basis of whether or not it reflects the strategic implementation of the hands in learning, both science and the arts are brought to unified presence in the lives of our children. Each school must become both laboratory and workshop in order to meet the needs of our children, our culture and our planet. On the art side, our children's hands must be creatively engaged to engage their hearts and souls as learners. From the science side, students hands must be engaged in personal exploration in order for them to grasp the big picture and have the underlying intellectual capacity to understand it.

If you want to see joy in schools, visit Clear Spring School on Monday as children return following Christmas break and a week off due to snow and cold. If you want to get a handle on education, then you must first understand the strategic value of the hands. Like left and right, science and the arts. It is as simple as the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing.

The drawing above is Francis Crick's first sketch of the deoxyribonucleic acid double-helix pattern. For today, let it symbolize what happens when the arts and science intersect in the formation of human culture. Let it also symbolize what can happen when the hands are restored to their rightful place in education.

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