This article is based on a rapid decrease of the art classes in Greek schools. Yet, these last years art education in basic education is shrinking in an international scale. We should stress that this phenomenon is linked to the continuing degradation of the quality of the education. If we add the fact that this crisis coincides with the international economic crisis, we can easily see that someone could talk about class characteristics of the demotion.
Of course, animation is not a basic art lesson, yet in some schools mainly of the USA and in Canada (but also elsewhere) in times there are relevant seminars (that happens even in Greece, since this is the example we started from). In any case, these are not lessons dictated by a planning. That said, it does not mean that when they are teach they are not organized. Here we mention the general educational orientation.
In this post, while we transmit the experience of vktoons in Greece, we also mention these: the classes mainly take place outside school’s schedule: in elementary education in co-operation with PTA’s. In secondary education in collaboration with the teachers associations and with the support of public and private entities. In few occasions, teachers are taking seminars, but weather they will use these knowledge is another issue.
Animation can help children in four sectors: 1) In the aesthetic and creative sector 2) that of socialization 3) of the technical sector and 4) that of the circular education.
Development of kids aesthetics and creativity.
Perhaps animation won’t set the aesthetic standards of the student, but it will help it to accept his/hers aesthetics and to confront the opinion that it has a “bad aesthetics”. That “accusation” impute mostly those who wish their aesthetics to prevail as the only one (or the only “real”). The kid starts working on the basis of its aesthetics and animation can help it think on it and to review it or to add to it.
At the same time, animation can push the kid to imagine a movement, a story, a picture and thus to bring out its anywise existing creativity. It can surely help it pay more attention to its environment as a source of inspiration, to start imagine a situation and – if that situation is problematic – even to start imagine the solution to it through image, movement, script/storytelling. Einstein once said: Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Animation is a team job. That means that to complete a short, children must collaborate: the director(s), the script writers, the BG artists, the light technicians, the cameramen and camerawomen, those who work on the computers, those who work on sound, animators of course etc. Students who will adapt each role must communicate and collaborate and even to overcome the natural rivalry and egoism of their age. Only then they will manage to see their work shown on any kind of screen. That is a lesson animation can offer them. A lesson also useful for the rest of their lives.
There is another very important aspect of that socialization: the psychological and psychiatric. Animation can help students with different problems – i.e. psychological, autism etc – to get in touch with their classmates. This contact can work for both sides (of course, there will be needed the help of a specialist, perhaps working on the same school).
At this point is equally important to mention that student should work in turn and do all the jobs for the film. That way, they will get a better view on the difficulties their “colleagues”-classmates face on their object. Of course we exclude those jobs which objectively cannot be done by someone.
The technical part of animation
Kids not only get in touch with the computer – note that this happens in a creative way and not only as a game – but also with lighting, cameras, microphones etc. That means they experience that part of the creation referring to the technical part of an animation. They learn terminology etc.
The encyclical education and animation.
Animation as an auxiliary means, can add also to the encyclical education of the pupils. That can be done in two ways:
a) Adjuvant animation: It can used during the lesson, in order for the teacher to have an optical means to transfer knowledge or an information to the student/pupil. That can have the form of a “patch” during the lesson delivery. Of course, there is always a danger: that teachers and students might get more excited than they should. That would lead to the adaption that a picture, an image, here: animation can replace the real teaching procedure. But such a thing cancels the learning procedure as well as the role animation can play to it. Such a point of view gives animation a role that nor must neither can have. So, there is a need for a studied use in the classroom.
b) Utilization of the school lessons in the animation lesson. Here we do the opposite: we bring ALL of the lessons (if needed) in the animation lesson. Writing a good script means to be understood by those who will watch the animation but first by those who will work on the short. So, the lessons of language and composition are here. Script can be based on every lesson. But usually the subjects are given by the more theoretical lessons: history, perhaps RE and also literature. Physics will prove to be useful to deliver a right movement to the bodies but also to get a right lighting, especially f we are creating a stop motion short. In lighting and perhaps in coloring characters and BG’s will possibly help chemistry along with other art lessons. Mathematics and geometry will be useful for counting the frames, the distances, the syncs, timing, staging, also in music. Even physical education can be utilized to show certain moves. So, in a roundabout way – and with a constant psychological push – we can help children to look at their school lesson with a different eye!
In the end…
Animation as a form of art. if utilized in a proper way will help pupils and students to evolve as characters in a pleasant way. They will even learn discipline. Not an obligatory discipline, but of the kind which will help them to complete a team effort. That way they will learn to collaborate for a common cause: to deliver something they want to say with as much as means they need and not more.
In conclusion, as a form of art it can add to try and create a better world sometime in the future.