Festival Opens Eyes to Art and Literature
Experiences outside the classroom are an integral part of an all-round education, says Shawn Hutchinson, principal of international school
ACG School Jakarta. He says the school, which offers an educational pathway from Kindergarten to Year 13, aims to provide students with all five key elements to a challenging, holistic education. They are academics; student well- being; sport activities and the arts; leadership and service; and experiential education outside of the classroom. The latter was put into practice when students in Years nine to 12 attended this year’s five- day Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in October. It is the third year running that ACG School Jakarta has attended the event, an annual pilgrimage for lovers of literature and conversation, which brings together some of the world’s most powerful artists, authors, thinkers and performers. Students were exposed to a raft of events, presentations and workshops, from Pecha Kucha – a presentation format in which artists present 20 images in 20 seconds that draws its name from the Japanese term for “chit chat”, to short films and exposés of creative writing. Highlights included a writing workshop by children's author Innosanto Nagara who treated students to the first public reading of his upcoming young adult novel; and a short film The Epic whose
Dutch director had taken inspiration from Othello and Ramayana. The most eagerly anticipated event was the Poetry Slam, which saw 24 international and local poets perform on stage in front of a packed and raucous audience. Students Daniel Dickinson and Isabel ten Have in Year 11 performed their pieces To All the Bros I’ve Loved Before and My Mind was a Serene Ocean that they had worked on as part of the poetry component of their English Literature IGCSE. “From an educational perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity for our students who are interested in English and Literacy to gain more experience and understanding,” explained Mr Hutchinson. “But experiences like this outside the classroom, particularly those involving travel, also teach students about self-responsibility, initiative and the many opportunities that life can present.
Not to mention the interactions they had with countless inspiring artists and writers.” He said the arts and activities like drama can also play a key role in students’ academic performance. "Traditional assumptions about the interrelationship between the arts and learning are now being supported by research showing there is indeed a link with student achievement and gains in maths, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skills," he says. At the end of the day, however, it’s about more than results. “Our students are engaged, connected young people and for us as their educators, it’s about a lot more than the pursuit of academic excellence – we want to nurture autonomy, global awareness, mindfulness, and compassion for others.”