Artwork by Nik Helbig
Art can be a tool used to promote mindfulness, decreasing anxiety and stress. It is therapeutic and an outlet for students to express their feelings without using words.During my practicum, I really wanted to integrate mindfulness into my unit planning, so, I thought about mediums that would work: watercolour. When mixed with water, watercolour has that tranquil, transforming quality. In a variety of cultures, water is used for healing. I decided to have students think about what spaces in nature made them feel at peace. They were to transport themselves into their peaceful landscapes.
Students benefit from "Mindful Mondays", having a 3 minute meditation before class begins. I noticed students concentrate better, and do not feel the need to use their devices as often. It gives them a tech break, away from media's expectations, away from notifications.
Art is a creative outlet for many but is also an important tool to send a message. Art activism promotes social change and hope for a more equitable world. As educators, we have a responsibility to advocate and teach about privilege and oppressive power structures. It is our obligation to become aware of our social location and advocate for the ways marginalization continues. With art activism, students develop an understanding of global issues and empathy for others. Art activism allows students to use and develop a variety of skills such as critical thinking skills and creative skills. Having our students learn about current world issues and create artwork that aims to promote social change, enables our children, our future, to see what a future of equality and acceptance looks like.