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Art and Art History in the Educational System in Finland

I cannot say that I remember a lot from the art classes throughout my education. I know that I have done a lot of paintings in school, that I learned a few different techniques, and that my teacher in art in lower secondary was a very facinating person. For me art was always one of the subjects where you were allowed to relax a little bit, talk to your friend, and do something creative. I cannot remember learning about art history at all, but I guess I did since
I do recognize the world’s most famous painters, and also the famous painters within Finland. In our core curricula it says that the art education should help the student learn to understand the visual parts of culture (both their own and others’), support the students’ creativity, and develop the students visual thinking and estetic awareness. According to the core curricula the student is furthermore supposed to learn about art history, art in the present, and art in different cultures. These are of course only broad samples of what the student is supposed to learn within the compulsory education of art. Based on this I would say that art is important in the Finish education system. This may not, of course, always be the reality in schools, and most grades only have one or two hours a week of art education.

As a future primary school teacher, I believe that art is an important subject to teach, mostly because I believe that all children are different and I see art as one way for the children to express themselves. I furthermore think that children need the break from theoretical work once in a while and I believe that students would enjoy learning different techniques and materials. At the moment I do not think that I will dedicate huge amounts of time on art history when I teach. I do believe it is important that they learn about the cultural and historical aspects of art, but since the hours dedicated to art and skill subjects provided in school is constantly decreasing, I would rahter keep this to a minimum.  In my ideal art classroom I would play classical music in the background, and have calm children that are working with dedication and a creative atmosphere.

For me, art is both a way of being creative and a part of general education. I do not think that my teachers in the past have thought that art history is something really crucial, and neither do I. For me, art is important though as a creative aspect and I hope that we will have the opportunity to teach it in school in the future too.

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