San Francisco State UniversityA-ZSearchCalendarNeed help?News

SF State News
SF State News Home
SFSU in the News
Events Calendar
Gator Sports News

Expert commentary
Expert Commentary 1
Expert Commentary 2
Expert Commentary 3

For Journalists
News Releases
Faculty Experts
Public Affairs Staff

For Faculty
Submit a News Item
Be an Expert Source
Working with the  Media

SFSU Publications
SFSU Magazine

Public Affairs

Teaching art to children in El Salvador

September 16, 2005

Photo of the Language Learning Wall created by Salvadoran children and SFSU studentsIn rural El Salvador where barely anyone speaks English and school books are hard to come by, stands a mural made up of 200 colorful images, each accompanied by the object's English and Spanish word.

The mural is one of many art projects created by children of Colima, El Salvador, with the help of seven SFSU students during their summer month-long stay in the agricultural village. The project was the main component of the Service Learning in Art Education course led by art Lecturer Andrea Hassiba.

In Colima, a three-hour drive from the capital city of San Salvador, the students were joined by four other Bay Area volunteers and a Salvadoran artist. The group worked with teachers in three local schools, devising curricula that integrated art into daily lessons, from preschool through eighth grade. For example, Hassiba taught the children about shapes and symmetry by creating a quilt design out of squares and diamond shapes.

The "Language Learning Wall" was one of two murals that function both as art and learning aids. The other mural is based on an effort by the Salvadoran education system to keep children in school and out of the workforce -- children often have to work to help support their families. The mural, titled "Children to Study, Adults to Work," shows children studying and parents working in various professions in the region.

The students also conducted afternoon workshops at a community center, where they stayed during the trip. Under the group's guidance, more than 150 children and adults made maracas out of gourds, made clay sculptures, and learned to sew and take photos.

Ashlie Gaos, a graduate student in education, said the project provided an opportunity for future educators to balance theory and practice.

Gaos added that she believes that teaching art to children benefits the community at large.

"In a town like Colima, where there are limited options in terms of work and living, there is a strong need for creative thinking," said Gaos, Hassiba's teaching assistant. "Providing a community with a vehicle to express ideas, feelings and beliefs is essential to helping build a thriving, healthy community."

Hassiba said the objective of the course is to gain a service learning experience outside of the United States and learn to respond to the needs of different communities.

"We really have to look at how to respect, participate and collaborate with that community. We're not just walking in and saying, 'Here we are,'" Hassiba said.

Associate Professor Julia Marshall conceived the project in 2001. This is the fifth consecutive year that SFSU students traveled to Colima for the Service Learning in Art Education course.

-- Student Writer Audrey Tang with Matt Itelson
Photo: courtesy of Andrea Hassiba


San Francisco State University

Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    (415) 338-1111
Last modified September 16, 2005 by University Communications