Food, design and music can be enjoyed together, whether or not you have the artistic flair, according to Aesthetics Subject Head, Miss Dorcas Low. She shares why an Arts education is for everyone.
Dorcas Low Duo Jia, Outstanding Youth in Education Award 2015 Recipient,
Serangoon Garden Secondary School
“Why is Awfully Chocolate called awful when chocolates are supposed to be delicious?” asked a student who was usually easily distracted during regular lessons in school.
As part of the cross-disciplinary project, Dorcas and her colleagues organised learning journeys to Awfully Chocolate and other chocolate-themed cafes for her students to gain a multi-sensory experience. The learning journey experience for each student varied and it definitely enables students see and interpret the world in different ways.
The students go through an ‘all chocolate’ experiential learning and the engagement encouraged students to raise interesting questions. They learned from the art of baking chocolate truffles, to designing chocolate packages for art even creating advertising jingles as part of the music curriculum.
A firm believer in the importance of art in a child’s development, Miss Dorcas Low, received the 2015 Outstanding Youth in Education Award. She shared that her dedication to her students was inspired by her music teacher who gave her the opportunities to perform at school events. She fondly remembers how the exposure made her more confident and inspired her to be a music teacher.
“The benefits of arts education are far-reaching. It helps to mould individuals in different aspects, enabling them to become more independent and resilient. When we finish our formal learning years, we would have to depend on the attitude we have towards life-long learning, and I strongly believe that arts education helps to develop that disposition,’ shares Dorcas.
She does not only teach, but she also helps her students to explore their interests and talents. One of her students, Hazim*, possesses beautiful vocals and aspires to sing like other vocal powerhouse singers. His interest and strength were in music. He was happier in music classes. He picked up the ukulele during one of Dorcas’s music lessons, loved it so much that he saved up to buy one for himself on his birthday. However, Hazim did not have the same level of motivation and interest in school – he was consistently late for or missing school and his academic results suffered.
Dorcas knew how she could help Hazim. She linked Hazim up with a nationally televised singing competition and taught him several Mandarin songs. Although Dorcas’s strict teaching style made it tough for Hazim, but he was ecstatic about the opportunity to perform and practised hard. Through these sessions, Dorcas built a strong rapport with Hazim and a trusting relationship with his mother. Hazim did not only learn self-discovery, he also learned the process of gaining understanding of oneself and one's interest, motivations and needs. Today, Hazim attends school regularly and enjoys his CCA.
“I find joy in seeing my students learn and grow through the arts. Whether in singing, dancing, playing an instrument or art, they realise more about themselves and discover the wonderful rhythm of life,” opined the arts education champion in school and the teaching fraternity.
*Actual name has been changed