Having just completed a monumental marking marathon of 120 assignments and 120 exam scripts, the greatest difference that struck me between students was not so much whether some had grasped the course content more than others, but how capable they were of articulating their knowledge. Ok - so it was Media Law & Ethics at university level. Certainly not everyone's cuppa coco. Of course the level of understanding would vary. The thing though, is that I got most of them into it - with a lecturing style that could quite easily be described as a tad unorthodox. And I mean really INTO IT! After just 3 months some students gave me exam answers that final year LLB students would have been proud of! And yes, the bulk of the class got it. Some however, could articulate it better than others.
It's perfectly apt that the first 3 letters of the word 'articulate', by themselves embody a whole world of creative expression. Indeed, expression itself is ultimately creative! Not many of us consider the fact that every time we speak we create. Literally. What we say did not exist until we said it. That's powerful daily stuff! The trick is then to make our creation the best that it can be! And it all begins with education. In The Sunset Limited - probably one of the best dialogue plays ever written; and recently turned into a fantastic film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L Jackson - there is a line: "Education makes the world personal."And it does you know! Education gives us a sense of our ability to influence a world that has catapulted right into within our grasp, because we now know about it - and often what to do abut it. Of course that will define our capacity for expression! Right now, millions of kids in our country are having their articulation strangled in their throats by an education system failing them on every level. By the time they get to me, I have to literally try stop the choking and then, for a while, try make sense of the mumbled flow that comes out - encouraging the sputter to grow into a stream; and to then guide it to start pouring out with deftness. I wish I had more time with them!
What I do know though, is that in a country where culture, performance and creativity seeps out of every pore, language is not all we have. There is more! There are THE ARTS! And they pre-date verbal communication! And they hold the secret to how our kids will re-learn how to express! Creativity and performance are the future! Even if the industrialised world collapses - which it very well might - and it all implodes, the last thing we will have left is our ability to clap, to dance, to sing, to draw a circle in the sand - to express!
Soon the National Arts Festival comes to Grahamstown once more. Expression will rule supreme for 11 days - and every fundi will have front row seats! This I promise! Watch this space! Last year I blogged about fest! This year, we'll be unleashing the full flow of its audiovisual spectacle. ARTiculation is a gift.Let's share it!
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