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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Graeme Chalmers (gfchalm)
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 16:07:22 -0800 (PST)

I have been following the discussion that began with Elizabeth's question
about social studies, art, and the California missions. I want to go back
to Elizabeth's original question. There seem to be several issues involved:

1. Can art be a social study? Yes, definitely! Art MUST be a social
study. All art is socially constructed. We cheat kids if we never let them
ask "What is art for?" The answers are not "purely" aesthetic. There's
more on this in CELEBRATING PLURALISM <>

2. I agree that art shouldn't be a "hand-maid" to social studies -- merely
used to illustrate social studies projects, (e.g. copy illustrations of the
missions) but some relationship is possible. Take Elizabeth's topic of
"missions" for example. Students could look at the "missionising" function
of images across cultures (including especially those advertising images in
popular culture that are designed to "convert" us and to establish a
product's presence and identity).

3. That's all very well you might say, but what about MAKING art? Well,
Elizabeth might start by having students look at the architectural style and
symbolism of the Spanish missions. Whose values are represented and why.
Perhaps they could then meet with an architect (AIA has a group interested
in education) who would talk about "style" and "image" in the buildings that
they design. Students could then move on to design buildings that "display"
their own values and beliefs.


Graeme Chalmers
Graduate Adviser
Department of Curriculum Studies
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6T 1Z4

Tel: 604 822-4842
Fax: 604 822-9366

  • Maybe reply: Elizabeth Paul: "Re: Social Studies, Art, & CELEBRATING PLURALISM"
  • Reply: carla harwitt: "Re: Social Studies, Art, & CELEBRATING PLURALISM"