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Lesson Plans


Arts and Doctorates

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bob Beeching (robprod)
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 15:39:58 -0700


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THE ARTS AND THE DOCTORATE?

When in the early 1960's state colleges became state universities, =
professors with masters degrees were encouraged to pursue advance Ph.D. =
and Ed. D's in order to maintain their college positions. This =
stipulation has continued to undermine the instruction of the Visual and =
Performing Arts to this day.

In the 11th century, the scholar that he was, Abelard, concerned over =
the desultory activities of the mostly uneducated monks devised a plan =
to advance the education of novices by instituting the dissertation. All =
well and good for monks to learn to read, write, and to pontificate, but =
plays havoc with a non-verbal discipline. What has transpired over the =
past thirty years, is an abundance of verbal and written pontification, =
and precious little concerning instruction in the arts.

Enter the college classroom of any art education instructor in the =
1990's, and one will most likely find that the majority of time is spent =
on talking about, than producing art. It is that Abelardian dissertation =
mold that frames these college professor's modes of instruction in =
verbal discourse, not art production.

Where once, college instructors invested time in pursuing ways to =
improve the application of traditional art principles and elements they =
now give them a cursory nod; devising ways and means for students to =
skirt the issue that if one cannot draw well, all subsequent =
applications are severely affected.

The excuse that "most entering teacher candidates taking classes in the =
visual arts cannot draw, we move onto a non-threatening crafts mode of =
instruction, where proficiency is not questioned." One can hardly =
imagine this consideration placed on entering music or physical =
education candidates, but is unanimously accepted by most university =
systems.

Since Abelard's dissertation model is based on verbal and written =
assignments, it is obvious that when one enters a, primarily, non-verbal =
mode of instruction, many philosophical and applied knowledge conflicts =
arise. And arise they do; with frequency, and assumption prevails.=20

If one assumes that one cannot draw effectively - what is left? =
Presumably, one must seek other avenues of expression in order to fill =
the "arted" requirement. Enter project art; that one-time event so =
familiar to the elementary classroom teacher. If the disciplines of =
reading, writing, and arithmetic were to be introduced in the same =
manner, one would question the sanity of it all!

It is unfortunate that professional artists have not contributed more to =
the education of the visual sense, particularly in the lower grades. Out =
of ignorance, I am convinced, many elementary school children are =
introduced to art production by those who have little training as =
instructors of art, and who perpetuate what many comedians have referred =
to as "artsy-craftsy basket weaving" courses for dumb heads." This =
degrading of the visual arts process does little to enamour our =
citizenry to visual arts training. In fact, it has had the opposite =
effect on curriculum planning and budgeting.

One must question why those who have been disciplined in the visual and =
performing arts should be subjected to an archaic form of discipline =
that negates the very purpose of the arts; that of a non-verbal =
commentary on the human condition. How can one amplify a non-verbal =
discipline with words and oratory, alone?

Can you imagine a da Vinci or an Angelo working on a written form of =
dissertation. I hardly think that today's universities would accept a =
notebook full of drawings as a final doctoral thesis?

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           &nbs= p;            = ;            =   =20 THE ARTS AND THE DOCTORATE?

When in the early 1960's state colleges became state = universities,=20 professors with masters degrees were encouraged to pursue advance Ph.D. = and Ed.=20 D's in order to maintain their college positions. This stipulation has = continued=20 to undermine the instruction of the Visual and Performing Arts to = this=20 day.

In the 11th century, the scholar that he was, Abelard, = concerned=20 over the desultory activities of the mostly uneducated monks devised a = plan to=20 advance the education of novices by instituting the dissertation. = All=20 well and good for monks to learn to read, write, and to pontificate, but = plays=20 havoc with a non-verbal discipline. What has transpired over the = past=20 thirty years, is an abundance of verbal and written pontification, and = precious=20 little concerning instruction in the arts.

Enter the college classroom of any art education instructor in the = 1990's,=20 and one will most likely find that the majority of time is spent on = talking=20 about, than producing art. It is that Abelardian dissertation mold that = frames=20 these college professor's modes of instruction in verbal discourse, not = art=20 production.

Where once, college instructors invested time in pursuing ways to = improve the=20 application of traditional art principles and elements they now = give them=20 a cursory nod; devising ways and means for students to skirt the issue = that if=20 one cannot draw well, all subsequent applications are severely = affected.

The excuse that "most entering teacher candidates taking classes in = the=20 visual arts cannot draw, we move onto a non-threatening crafts = mode of=20 instruction, where proficiency is not questioned." One can hardly = imagine this=20 consideration placed on entering music or physical education candidates, = but is=20 unanimously accepted by most university systems.

Since Abelard's dissertation model is based on verbal and written=20 assignments, it is obvious that when one enters a, primarily, non-verbal = mode of=20 instruction, many philosophical and applied knowledge = conflicts=20 arise. And arise they do; with frequency, and assumption = prevails.

If one assumes that one cannot draw effectively - what is left? = Presumably,=20 one must seek other avenues of expression in order to fill the = "arted"=20 requirement. Enter project art; that one-time event so = familiar to the elementary classroom teacher. If the disciplines of = reading,=20 writing, and arithmetic were to be introduced in the same manner, = one would=20 question the sanity of it all!

It is unfortunate that professional artists have not contributed more = to the=20 education of the visual sense, particularly in the lower grades. = Out of=20 ignorance, I am convinced, many elementary school children are = introduced to art=20 production by those who have little training as instructors of art, and = who=20 perpetuate what many comedians have referred to as "artsy-craftsy = basket=20 weaving" courses for dumb heads." This degrading of the visual = arts=20 process does little to enamour our citizenry to visual arts = training. In=20 fact, it has had the opposite effect on curriculum planning and = budgeting.

One must question why those who have been disciplined in the visual = and=20 performing arts should be subjected to an archaic form of discipline = that=20 negates the very purpose of the arts; that of a non-verbal commentary on = the=20 human condition. How can one amplify a non-verbal discipline with words = and=20 oratory, alone?

Can you imagine a da Vinci or an Angelo working on a written form of=20 dissertation. I hardly think that today's universities would accept a = notebook=20 full of drawings as a final doctoral thesis?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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