Jeremy Broun teach

Comment January 2011 Jeremy Broun FRSA argues the hidden value of practical art education in our schools. M astery of technique is common across the arts. Whether you are a dancer, musician, or furniture maker, technique defines much of what you do. Technique has a magic; it has to be worked at and is admired and is something lasting to hand on. Particularly rooted in tech- nique are the practical arts, traditionally called “craft” and the poor relation to art. I f you design a chair that breaks or is uncom- fortable and lacks any kind of aesthetic quality, it fails. The joy of using hands and mind crea- tively and purposefully and in working within these grounded and honest parameters can lead to a sense of well-being and foster the kind of innovation that the economy could ulti- mately benefit from. I am not arguing a case for training up loads of carpenters and glass blowers or suggesting there is any one fix to the hugely complex problems facing us. But we do have an obliga- tion to help young people develop their identity and potential and prepare them for the world. This is a messy task because children’s core values are already entrenched before they walk through the school gates. S chool is not just about getting a place at university that will lead to a degree to become a bio-chemist that will lead to working in a video hire shop. The quest to make university educa- tion the right of every child is political blindness when seven out of ten parents do not read out aloud to their young and one in ten can’t read properly by the time they get to secondary school. C hildren learn by doing and most enjoy mak- ing things. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disor- der (ADHD) rarely occurs amongst children playing computer games or engaged in making things. Integrating designing with making is hugely empowering as the child is not just learning dexterous skills by copying crafted ob- jects, but is challenged to make decisions about how things can be put together, what tools and