Anger is an Energy

Anger is An Energy - Dance Notes creativity blog for teachersAnger is an energy that can scare and intimidate. But what if it’s used creatively? 40 years on, does Punk have any relevance for modern-day learning?

The Essence of Punk

Chris Packham, renowned naturalist, recently produced a documentary for the BBC, in which he attempted to uncover the essence of punk. He visited some key figures from the movement to see what they are now doing and how punk has shaped their worldview. Each agreed that it had been an important cultural phenomenon and a key influence in their personal development.

So what is punk? In recent times, the word has been used chiefly to describe loud, fast, guitar-driven music with shouty vocals. However, the original punk movement was far more than a musical style. It was a state of mind. You could even say it was a way of being.

Angry Energy

During Mr Packham’s film, he grapples with finding a definition for this. His conclusion is that Punk is an attitude. It is having something to say about what is happening in the world outside, right now. And it is very much about expressing personal truths, however unpalatable, as directly as possible, through words, actions and – often – angry energy.

Clearly, today, there is plenty to be angry – or at least concerned – about. We spend quite a lot of time and effort convincing our children they should control their tempers. But where does that pent-up rage go? Could suppressed anger be partly to blame for fueling a rise in mental health issues among the young?

Dangerous & Subversive

Punk, in its heyday, was seen as dangerous and subversive. But perhaps it was more like a safety valve. It actually led to very little violence or disruption. By channeling their anger into something creative and expressive, punks actually may have averted serious civil unrest.

At the very heart of the movement was a reaction to wider complacency. The UK had been through a period of political turmoil and weak leadership. And the heartland of punk wasn’t deprived inner-city ghettos. Rather, it was the drab, middle-class suburbs. The very areas that were seen as safe and neutral.

Safe & Comfortable

As parents and teachers, we strive to create a safe and comfortable environment in which our children may grow and develop. But we also need to allow them space for self-expression. Even if this sometimes means venting anger and challenging established norms. Failure to do so can create personal frustration and collective resentment.

Anger is an energy. And, like all energy, it needs an outlet. One of the many benefits of creative expression is to give that energy purpose and direction. The punk ethos means that when someone has something to say, they take the opportunity to say it. The most important thing for the rest of us to then do is listen.

Full Marks for Anger

So, the next time one of your pupils is being angry and makes you think ‘you little punk’, stop and consider. Maybe they are being a little punk. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

What we ask of our children is that they make an effort. Effort is energy. And, since anger is an energy, expressing that anger is making an effort. So – full marks for anger!



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