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Lesson Plans

Re: Take 5--Art and Mathematics

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 10 Apr 1999 05:29:09 EDT

As a former would-be academic, I hesitate to take Eisner's statements on
Education through Art seriously.

For example, how would Mr Eisner teach . . .

. . . line, shape, form, symmetry/asymmetry without teaching at
least some rudimentary geometry?

. . . color theory without science?

. . . art history without discussing cultural, political,
intellectual history. (ie. Impressionism makes more sense to students when
placed within the context of the invention of the camera and paint in tubes).

. . . art vocabulary without teaching language arts?

while it is true that teaching quantum physics through art may be a dificult
thing to pull off, I think the idea here is to get kids to see that the world
is not comprised of discrete categories of knowledge, that knowledge is
dynamic and bursts out of the neat little compartments of the academic world
of specialization.

I think the point of Education through Art is to engage kids in a more
dynamic form of learning. Perhaps that places art on a level that is
"secondary" to "academic" subjects like English; however, we must ask
ourselves whether DBAE has significantly enhanced the status of art in our
public schools. I just spoke to an art teacher today who is going to be cut
back to half time in a well funded school district which has followed a DBAE
program and done great things with students. I spoke to another teacher in
the Indianapolis Public Schools who shares her classroom with the Consumer
Science (home ec) teacher--30 kids crammed in like sardines.

We may not like it, but the subjects we teach are viewed as a luxury--more so
than even athletic extra curriculars.

If I understand the "learned scholar" Mr. Eisner, here, I am hearing him say
that art education needs to exist for its own sake. Well, I beg to differ.
When ANY subject exists for its own sake it becomes vapid and uninspiring.
The specialization route is EXACTLY what so many English, Math, Science, and
History teachers are doing WRONG.

It frustrates me when social Studies teachers teach about ancient Greece and
fail to even discuss the basics of Greek art.

I hated history in high school because I didn't give a damn about dates and
who fought what wars and who was in power. That's not all there is to

Einstein and Richard Feynmann proved that there is a serious creative element
in science.

Literary study is the study of creative expression. How different is that
from art? music? theater?

God, I have so many thoughts on this issue. Can't express them all here.

thanks for reading

indpls, in