From Behavioural to Successful — How Art and Poetry Can Help Your Child to Challenge Expectations

I recently did a poetry and art workshop at a local high school with two groups of students who were labelled as «behavioural» kids. The students ranged in age from 14-16 and were also of various cultural backgrounds. The students were like many other kids their age in that they were at times loud and disruptive especially when distracted by their friends.

I was warned that the students would be a difficult group and was told that the teachers were unsure of what kinds of results they would be able to produce when participating in the workshop.

However, I was optimistic because I had worked with other groups of students who had been labelled as «troubled or behavioural» students. Both workshops were admittedly challenging along the way but in the end produced encouraging results.

The focus of the art workshop was to have the students create poetry based on how they see themselves as individuals as well as how others perceive them based on gender, culture, race, etc. The resulting poetry was striking, revealing, thoughtful and creative. In the end, it became apparent that the students had used the workshop as a platform to express their voices in a meaningful way.

The second part of the art workshop involved creating masks that were unique and creative representations of themselves — each student’s mask was then mounted beside their poems. The finished products that resulted from the art workshops were remarkable. The teachers and administration were thoroughly impressed with the efforts that this notorious group of troubled students had made throughout the art workshop as well as with the creative products that they had produced.

The poetry and art workshop had made it apparent that the students merely needed an outlet of expression. They needed a platform to speak their minds in a constructive way. For a brief moment the poetry and art workshop had eclipsed public perceptions about these students as being «behavioural» — instead they had become thoughtful students who were able to channel their thoughts and ideas into engaging forms of creative expression.

When given the opportunity, these students were able to use art and poetry to (if only for an afternoon) become successful students in the eyes of teachers and administrators but more importantly they were able to contribute to their own personal success by enhancing their own perceptions of themselves.

Art workshops can act as a vehicle of expression for youth who often feel as though their voices are stifled and made to seem less important. They can help to challenge the thoughts, feelings and ideas which sometimes are expressed inappropriately if they do not have a proper forum of expression.

Artistic workshops can provide children who can be grouped as having behavioural problems with an opportunity to express the beauty, truth and wisdom that lies within.

#Behavioural #Successful #Art #Poetry #Child #Challenge #Expectations

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