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Re: [teacherartexchange] E/P lesson approach


Date: Tue Jul 19 2005 - 14:05:20 PDT

Hello all,
I am curious about how any of you out there at the middle school level
start out the year. I teach 6-8 and generally begin with the elements
and principles, but I wonder if I could hook more of my students if I
approached it from a meaning point of view.

-----Original Message-----
From: Diane C. Gregory <>
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Sent: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 13:17:00 -0600
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] E/P lesson approach

   Hi Pam,

I don't disagree with you at all. I would just start with meaning
first and
then at some point study the use of the elements within the lesson as a

I always liked Edmund Burke Feldman's approach that he elaborated upon
in his
book, Varieties of Visual Experience. I remember he divided up his
book by
themes and purposes of art.

I also believe I look at art education as worthwhile from an immediate
point of
view. How can art making help this child in the here and now, rather
than what
it can do for students in the future.

So a lesson on How I am Special for Kindergarten children could help
discover how art is a place to explore ideas and feelings that help
them in the
here and now. Having this experience in their present life will help
integrate and grow and develop in the moment so they can develop
Children are human beings when they are growing up and they need help
with their immediate ideas, and feelings. As they deal with their
ideas and feelings in the moment, they develop skills, abilities,
structures to handle life as they mature and develop. Gradually
unfold and naturely develop to handle the challenges of life in this
way. If
they have art experiences throughout their life that they find
meaningful and
personnally fulfilling, then art will be a way for them to express
and to discover the world throughout their lives.

Focusing on sequential concepts within a discipline without placing
concepts within a particular context, makes the subject matter devoid of
meaning. It is like learning skills without knowing what good it is to
the skill. It is like saying if you know these skills, one day you can
something more meaningful, but for right now you have to take your
medicine. I
believe meaning and concepts can and should be integrated. Jerome
Bruner did
not give much credance to the emotional, physical, social, and artistic
of children. He focused mainly on sequential concepts within a specific
discipline. A very narrow approach which, in my opinion, has led to an
unhealthy seperation of the intellect with other parts of human
The emphasis on rationality has led a whole generation down a path in
people find no meaning in life. Hence we have all kinds of
problems which leads to all kinds of other problems.

What do others think?

Dr. Diane C. Gregory
Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX  76204
Quoting Pam <>:
> It has been my experience that lessons that are based upon the 
elements and
> principles are the least effective. This is not to say that elements 
> principles are not important because they are the foundation of what 
> teach, however, I believe that substantial art lessons do not end 
with the
> elements and principles. What we teach is much deeper than that.
> One way to approach this is to ask yourself the question that Jerome 
> posed in "The Process of Education" (1960), "For any subject taught., 
> might ask [is it] worth an adult's knowing, and whether having known 
it as a
> child makes a person a better adult."
> With this idea in mind, we might ask "How is knowing about line (or 
shape or
> form or any e/p) worth an adult's knowing? How can knowing about line 
make a
> person a better adult?"
> If line or whatever e/p is to be explored in a lesson, why not 
explore it
> from a broader sense? For example, How do artists use line to 
> time, place, etc? How is meaning expressed through line?
> A concrete example is found in the work of Hundertwasser who used 
> line as an element of nature. Simply looking at the curved line in 
his work
> is meaningless, but exploring why he used curved lines and how curved 
> represent nature deepens the lesson. This sort of lesson impacts 
> learning because the curved line leads the viewer to explore ecology 
> global issues that affect us all. It's a way of addressing and solving
> ecological issues.
> I am sure many of you will disagree with my stance, but I hold firm 
to this
> one.
> Pam
> ____________________________________________________
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> ____________________________________________________
> For information about the NAU art education program:
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> Northern Arizona University
> Art Education
> P.O. Box 6020
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