Art is central to education, and is the glue that ties all the subjects together in our Los Angeles pilot school. As a senior and a community member of the School for Visual Arts and Humanities (SVAH), I have seen the curriculum flourish with Linked Learning as we focused on art as a way to universally communicate material expressed across subjects. On our trip to Washington, D.C on May 15, 2014 we were able to express our views of how art education through a Linked Learning lens helps us bloom as students. It does not only help us express our feelings, but in the long run serves as a tool to better our cognition. This trip allowed us the opportunity to share our opinions and lend our voices to the very same people who can make changes. We learned that anyone with eyes and ears can find a problem, but it takes critical thinking to come up with solutions. We grew skills essential to being a learner, such as public speaking, problem solving, teamwork, and work ethic. Our voices were not only heard by adults at the heart of our education system, but they were fully valued and validated.
For months, we posed questions on what it means to be a learner. In our History class, we studied adversities we face as inner city kids going to an under-resourced school. Quickly, students from all different socioeconomic backgrounds raised their hands. In our English class, we structured our writing to better capture our thoughts. Art overall gave us a voice and confidence to do better and work creatively in all of our other classes. The ability to link all subjects to each other not only helped us grow as a school, but it furthered our understanding of each subject.
Linked Learning in the classroom made it clear that EVERYTHING we learn today has a pivotal role in learning. We were then confident enough to present to policymakers that this type of real-world learning is the future of education. A long overdo revolution in education, Linked Learning forces faculty to work together and to unite subjects. Most of all, we were lucky to have teachers who are in love with their classrooms. They not only prepared us for the hardships, that is life, but also acted as mentors with hands wide open if we needed them. They expected more from us and it kept us challenging us not only in the classroom, but as human beings.
By Evelyn Anaya