Why “The Element”?

Why would I teach an entire graduate course based upon the book and concept of “The Element?”… Let me share with you my personal journey with this concept and help you understand how this material has been so valuable to me and how it can benefit you AND your teaching!

I first encountered The Element, when I chose the book to read the book for pleasure.  Because the author, Ken Robinson is a creativity guru, I was interested to learn more from his writings.  What is neat about this post of yesteryear is I wrote it BEFORE I read the book.

I didn’t realize how much this book would change me. 

For the first time, someone was telling me it was OK to be me!  (Ok, maybe not the first time, but it was maybe the first time I actually listened).  Robinson suggested to throw everything I have into what I am good at, what my passions are, and trust my instinct. Wow- This was very powerful information.  Reading this book (and a combination of various other things) spearheaded many exciting things in my life, helped me to see my world and my strengths a new way and to go after what I was passionate about in a real, tangible way, not just wishing and hoping.

As an educator, this concept of “The Element” also helped me to connect with the students in my art room.  Year after year I see students in my art classes that don’t always succeed in traditional subjects in school.  I often wonder if I could be that teacher who finally recognizes the strengths in that student and helps them to build confidence that will carry on to the rest of their lives. Learning about The Element allowed me look at my students and see their potential in a fresh and new way.

Want to find YOUR Element and have the opportunity to earn graduate credit for it?  

There are still a few days to sign up for our July online class- The Element by checking out the Classes page.  I hope you’ll join us, it should be a very unique professional and personal journey.  

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I’m so excited to take this class from you! I’ve already started reading the book and I’m feeling it! After taking your blogging class I’m pumped to use some of the new ideas I learn from you and “Sir Ken” as inspiration for my blog and my teaching!

  • Anonymous

    I recently finished reading this book, and it was powerful on many different levels. I truly enjoyed reading it, and many of the ideas felt both like a revelation, and familiar at the same time. I think some ideas can be applied on a personal level, and some could be used in the classroom as a art educator. I am glad there are people like Ken Robinson fighting for the importance of the arts and the individual gifts of each person. I think it will be difficult to change the entire American school system with the complexities that are in place to keep things the way they are. Has anyone seen “Waiting for Superman”? It’s an eye-opener on education.

  • I too love this book!  I listened to it on audio from audible.com and actually feel like I know the authour now…I generally love books narrated by the authour.  Anyways, as an educator, I believe this sort of thinking needs to make its way into modern education.  We must begin seeing students as individuals and must begin highlighting their individual passions, dreams, and futures.