IT’S ALL IN THE MIND: The Social and Psycohological impact of Arts Tuula Tamminen Professor of Child Psychiatry FINLAND President of WAIMH
Are there dark clouds in tomorrow’s dawn? • Growing world-wide concern about children’s mental well-being • The majority of children are growing-up in sub-optimal circumstances (poverty) • An alarming sign is that children in wealthy countries are suffering more and more mental problems
Challenges in a globalizing world • Mental adaptation capacities of individuals are heavily challenged in this continuously rapidly changing, multicultural, technological information era • Eg. WHO/EU have estimated that the biggest threaths for welfare in Europe until 2015 will be the increasing mental health problems
Minding the Mind • How are we supporting our children to grow-up in the modern, globalizing world? • How well do we take care of the mental development of children and adolescents? • Are we able to promote healthy, balanced psychosocial development during school years? • What are the real goals of our education?
Arts and arts education could and should have a unique role in answering all these questions There are several arguments for this statement, the best is that it supports maturation of the mind
Supporting creativeness • Two basic mechanisms/patterns of how the mind develops during childhood: 1. Identifying with someone/something, modelling, imitating, learning to be coherent and logical 2. Creating something new, through problem solving, finding something unique and new, learning to be creative • How many experiences and possibilities do we offer eg. in schools for promoting both ways of learning?
Arts education and creativity • Enough arts education? Frequency, continuity, diversity? • Multimodal learning: by doing, by experiencing, by sharing, by learning to know, by enjoying etc • Non-abstract ways are important for children
Important role of the Emotions • Important bridge between body and mind • Important role in functions of the brain and mind (eg motivation, understanding) • Important role in human interactions • Important bond between human individuals • Important tie between individual and society (eg values, attitudes) • Do we teach our children how to deal with emotions?
Arts education does! • Arts education is also exercising self-expression, training to notice (sensitivity, empathy) and practising to understand emotions (self/other-understanding) • Arts and arts education enable experiencing and sharing emotions (self-understanding, empathy) • Arts education offers support for emotional maturation (self-esteem)
Development of empathy • Ability to enter into someone else’s emotions (attunement) • Ability to step out of someone else’s feelings • Ability to recognize what kind of emotions this attunement evokes in oneself • Ability to react and behave according to attunement and own feelings • Arts and arts education facilitate the practice of all these four steps
Conclusions • Arts and arts education is a very much needed way of promoting balanced mental development in today’s knowledge based world • Arts education improves social (empathy) and interactional (emotional) skills of individuals • Arts education is a wonderful, enjoyable way of preventing mental health problems
Conclusions • The arts are extremely important in globalization • The arts increase trans-, cross- and multi-cultural understanding • The arts education is a way of teaching children to become global citizens (peace education)
Arts education should be the right of every child The human mind was born with the first cave painting. Let’s keep our mind alive!