I view the elements and principles of art as a way to communicate with shared vocabulary and concepts. I do an intro to them in the beginning of an art class, then refer back to them as they are relevant to the projects on which we are working. I agree on teaching higher level thinking skills, but I don't think that has to equate to totally discarding or rebelling against teaching elements and principles. After an intro., they can be embedded into the rest of the curriculum.
I try to be careful about thinking that one way of teaching is "bad" and another is "good". If we teach eclectically, we cover our bases about the variety of threads to the subject of "art", as well as reach multiple intelligences. Besides that, there are artists who demonstrate a particularly skilled use of specific elements and principles, and I think it's valuable to look at them and critique them from time to time, as well as talking about the elements and principles used in students' own work.
(I especially like what Judy wrote about the importance of teaching kids to value and purchase art. This gave me a new concept to think about.)
"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."- Pablo Picasso
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