Imagine a generation growing up with heightened powers of imagination, creativity and innovative thinking. Studies have found that children motivated to practise a specific art form, and who spend time focusing on arts projects, have measurably increased attention spans – even in maths and science. Other studies report similar findings, showing that sustained arts education contributes significantly to social and intellectual development. At each stage of childhood, artmaking generates a level of self-esteem, capacity and confidence unparalleled by most other subjects. But artmaking is not merely a means to an end: Imagine if all young people could experience the emotional, aesthetic and psychological fulfilment gained in expressing their own creative ideas, and discover the sheer pleasure and excitement of the creative process.

The situation we need to address

In poorer schools – which form the vast majority in South Africa – school administrations frequently do not see arts education as a priority. Resources are severely limited: there are few art materials available, no books, and little or no access to original artworks to study. Teachers are frequently assigned the responsibility of teaching art without experience or training, and even experienced teachers in poor schools have an urgent need for comprehensive teaching resources and additional training.

Imbali’s teacher training workshops

Imbali offers creative art workshops for teachers, ranging from short, intensive offerings to longer, more in-depth courses. The training is tailored to the specific needs of a group of teachers.

Our approach:

  • We believe that in order to teach creatively, teachers must explore and discover their own innate creativity. Our workshops are therefore hands-on, experiential and learner-centred.
  • We use cheap, easily available art supplies, along with recycled and found material, so that ideas from our workshops can be implemented, even on a very tight budget.
  • Teachers have been involved at every stage of writing and testing our educational materials.

While our workshops are aimed primarily at teachers from under-resourced schools in townships and rural areas, teachers from more affluent schools will also find them inspiring and useful.

Teacher training objectives

  • To enable teachers to develop and teach visual literacy skills
  • To equip teachers to teach creative art-making skills and techniques
  • To develop awareness and appreciation of our arts and culture heritage
  • To develop creative thinking, innovation, critical analysis, assessment and problem-solving skills in both teachers and learners
  • To help teachers and learners acquire skills with which to observe, question, challenge and contribute to the values and directions of our communities
  • To develop self-expression, self-confidence and a sense of individual identity in teachers and learners
  • To work towards social and personal development through arts and culture education and training
  • To work with the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in a creative and inspiring way
  • To equip teachers to design and plan curricula using learner-centred methodologies

Imbali Artbook rollout workshops

Since 2019, Imbali has been running one-day workshops introducing the Imbali Artbook series, ‘Adventuring into Art’ to teachers in various provinces. Partnering with provincial education departments, along with corporate and government funders, Imbali introduces teachers to the books, which cover a range of artmaking and looking activities. Teachers then return to their schools with a set of the Imbali Artbooks to support their teaching.

This rollout process is followed up with monitoring and evaluation in the form of classroom visits and ongoing contact with teachers through the Imbali Artbook Teachers’ Forum Facebook group. This is a platform where teachers can share their experiences, challenges and successes in using the Imbali Artbook Series. This is intended to create a community of Imbali Artbook users, able to support each other in the joys and challenges of teaching art and working creatively with children.