September 27, 2023

Can Art Inspire Change?

By N. Hamilton, BTW High School Newspaper

Did you know that creativity is the only real form of consciousness? Did you know that we spend majority of our time following rules, and completing automatic tasks via ingrained habits? It has been researched that once children reach the age of seven, which is determined to be the age of consciousness, that children are no longer in a stage of creativity. By this age, studies claim that children are believed to be living a life that is driven by daily completion exercises that fail to deeply engage the mind.

Xavier Taylor

At Booker T. Washington High School, we have decided to merge the two, Art and the Development of New Habits, to in order to create in-depth learning experiences. Our students are learning about The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey via daily reminders, videos, and art activities.

This leadership book was chosen by our very own principal, Dr. Carlos Phillips, to help our students understand the internal and external habits needed to become successful and to maintain success in a world where people of color are having a much more challenging time based on our current political environment.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People discusses the following habits in detail: Being Proactive (dealing with only what an individual has control over), Beginning with the End in Mind (creating vision plans and boards for their lives as a guideline to beginning with the end in mind), Putting First things First (deciding what is a priority and how to utilize time effectively), Thinking win-win (ensuring that all relationships an individual encounters dually beneficial), Seeking First to Understand, then to be Under-

stood (the idea of active listening without interruption when communicating is introduced), Synergizing (learning to accept ideas to create together, which is not a compromise, but a new idea or product), and finally Sharpening the Saw (continuous spiritual, personal, and intellectual development). Based on years of studying successful people, Covey found that each successful individual inhabited the previously mentioned Seven Habits.

As a staff, we had to ask our- selves, how do we pass this information on to our students in a way that they will remember? We decided the most memorable way would be via creativity. There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly and pervasively as creativity. Creativity drives progress in every human endeavor, from the arts to the sciences, business, and technology. We celebrate and honor people for their creativity, identifying eminent individuals, as well as entire cultures and societies, in terms of their creative achievements. Creativity is the vehicle of self-expression and part of what makes us who we are.

Booker T. Washington has been blessed with one of the most prolific Art teachers in the state of Texas, Ms. Maya Watson, who has begin implementing The Seven Habits via artistic expression. Mrs. Watson was just selected as a Teacher Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for the 2018-2021 academic year to research and explore teaching with works of art both in the Museum and in the classroom. Teacher Fellows are distinguished educators from the Houston metro area who have demonstrated leadership skills and a passion for innovative teaching and learning methods in their classrooms. The teachers are selected through their participation in other MFAH activities or recommended by museum staff members. Maya plays a critical role of the implementation of Art Excellence at Booker T. Washington High School, and within the learning landscape of the Houston com- munity. Ms. Waston has also been selected from a pool of over two-hundred Houston ISD Art teachers to display her art work through the HISD Visual Art Teacher Exhibition in the Original Alley Theatre in March of 2019.

Booker T. Washington is a campus full of unexposed gems, who are leading innovation, change, and inspiration to our African-American students!


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