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Lesson Plans

What's Anti-Intellectual About Thinking?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 4 Jan 1980 07:54:29 +0300

I personally am an "abstract-random" in my learning style and hence
my teaching style. I believe in developmentally-appropriate
instruction and see learning as a spiral which repeats and transcends
to new levels. I, myself, however, may not be able to rattle off a
series of warm colors or cool colors because when colors are next to
each other they change, and what seemingly in the book is warm may
look cool next to a different color, but when it comes to producing
art, I select colors by pure spontaneity and aesthetics. All my
theory classes never impacted my art. Experience in the studio did.
I do not need to know p&e to enjoy making art, as witnessed by 1 1/2
year olds who love the feel of the movement of a tool across the page
before they learn to ascribe meaning to the marks they make. Look at
all the artists in the world who never had instruction in their lives. They
produced art because it's an innate urge which they gave form to. Theory,
background, P&E, and the like enhance and extend an exploration which
is innate and natural but I can't ascribe to the belief that
fundamentals are necessary to produce art. That doesn't mean I don't
teach them, but it's always in context to exploring concepts,
materials, and methods that may have no apparent sequence to the
outside viewer but fit an organic and non-linear approach to the
regular classroom curriculum, current events, and topics of personal

I have been in education for nearly twenty years as a teacher,
administrator, curriculum specialist, consultant, teacher trainer,
and am trained as a printmaker/visual artist. I do workshops on
developmental stages in art for the classroom teacher so they will
widen their perception and expectation of the kinds of things they
want students to produce in art. I believe in scope and sequences on
paper, but personally in practice, I think art has less to do with
sequence than involvement and engagement. Kids connect in with
concepts at different rates and different levels according to their
learning styles, predilection, and experience. It's a completely
non-linear process. I personally don't believe that a linear model
can be imposed on this non-linear process. You may as a teacher for
your own sense of organization create a scope and sequence, but the
reality is, the kid may not get it the way it is taught. I'm not sure
I can say that at this point in time I have any student in any of my
classes who is linear in their learning process. I may introduce
concepts and methods and processes I think is appropriate for this
age level but I let the kids take off with it and create. "Rules" are
arbitrary cognitive structures which provide a temporary organizing
system but in and of themselves are only constructs, which have no
other basis in reality except how they are believed.

I do all the DBAE "stuff" but in the end, it's not me that sequences the concepts as much as
the brain of the student. They are going to organize and sequence
data in their own self-organizing mode.

If we are moving from either/or thinking to both/and in the
"post-modern" era, then let's not get stuck on linear models which
really are more a reflection of the person than the profession.

Teresa Tipton

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 13:53:27 -0800
From: Robert Beeching <robprod>
Reply-to: robprod
Organization: International School of Tanganyika Elementary
To: "artsednet" <>

James Linker wrote: 01/24/98

"...I imagine my life would be much easier if I were so certain just
what art is..."
"Art is a non-verbal language of human expression." Otherwise, there is
no issue here!

In reference to teaching basic skills and art appreciation...

"Just how are they to do this without the intellectual tools and
background knowledge necessary to make such comparisons of the arts to
our society?".

Are we putting the cart before the horse here? Are we talking about
stages in development? Undergraduate studies are quite different from
graduate studies. Most classroom teachers never attain a Ph.D. or an
Ed.D. They rarely are confronted by courses in "Epistemology",
"Aesthetics," or "Theories of Learning." But they do need to understand
how to present children with a scope and sequence approach to learning
art process and skill development. What is so "anti-intellectual" about

Esoteric language is fine for a dissertation, but why muddle up
undergraduate education with issues which do not directly affect the
teaching of the Visual Arts in the classroom? Beginning reading,
writing, and mathematical skills are taught in a direct fashion with
little if any intellectual inferences. Why not basic Visual Arts? All
the talk of aestheticism in the classroom where children don't even
know how to manipulate a pen or brush does little to further the cause
of art appreciation.