Monday, June 03, 2013

Learning from Michelangelo

Michelangelo saw and angel trapped within.

Creative teachers have the ‘David Factor!’

I have a habit of collecting articles or quotes that have particular interest to me. This web log is a way to share them.

An editorial by Arnold Bonnet called ‘The Shape Inside the Stone’, in an ‘Education Horizon’ magazine (Volume 7 2002), really appealed to me. For those who missed it what follows are the ideas Arnold shared.

‘In the museum of the Academy of Florence, there is a passage leading to Michelangelo’s magnificent statue of the young David. On either side of the passage stand four large blocks of marble and from each, a heavy shape emerges, roughly carved and unfinished. They are Michelangelo’s ‘Prisoners’.

Arnold sees these forms evoking the meaning of education. ‘Each human being arrives in this world trapped in a block of marble and it is the job of the educators – parents and teachers- to free the individual from the imprisoning stone and reveal its true form without disfiguring or damaging it.’
Such teachers, as with Michelangelo, do not like to work within prescribed programmes and targets passed down by distant authorities. Michelangelo was an artist and so are creative teachers. He was also a self willed individual. Too many teachers, due to social pressure to comply, become trapped in a marble block not of their own making and lose their individual creativity.

Creative teachers have, what I like to call, the ‘David factor’.

What we need, as we enter the first decades of the 21stC, are teachers with the courage and creativity to see new possibilities – the ‘David factor!

And we need a Minister of education who has the courage to create a ‘risk friendly’ learning culture that trusts school to encourage potential Michelangelos - at the moment we have the exact opposite!

Our collective future depends on developing such student’s and teacher’s talents.

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