Arts in Education
How can we implement the transformative potential of art, to provide an understanding of the complex dynamics of behavioural and psychological functioning of our learners, and to present environmental, social and political factors, in order to facilitate pedagogical and educational delivery of trauma and mental health informed interventions in a rapidly changing environment?
The priority at all times is to ensure the safety of our students. As a setting we need to protect students from increased stress and not place them in situations that may increase this risk.
In September 2022 the start of the academic term brought new challenges, encompassing the impact of the pandemic in learners progress, the energy crisis and international political hardship reported and changing daily. The pressure on both the students and lecturers was significant at the start of the autumn term in my own educational setting, you could physically feel the psychological upset amongst staff and students. With tensions set high the need to provide a positive learning environment was even more so essential, one which promotes the feeling of warmth and social engagement.
I wanted to have an active role in improving mental health outcomes for students via artistic interventions in my own setting. I developed an internal arts programme and designed an exhibition space which allowed a space for social connection. With the intention to feature transitory displays over the academic year, each with a different theme from Aspirations and Personal Values to Anti-bullying and Equality & Diversity.
What did we learn from the display board?
The display responded to PROTECT promoting a positive learning environment - successful in its intention to raise aspirations and reveal students' dreams and hopes.
It provided an awareness for all staff to understand the vital need to provide EAA (Emotionally available adult) as a protective factor in our setting - evidenced by painful experiences disclosed on the wall. It also demonstrates the power of an interactive display and its ability to provide a platform for understanding which emotional systems of our individuals may be activated.
The need as an educational setting to optimally activate the emotional CARE, SEEKING and PLAY systems.