Today my paper mailbox contained the keynote speeches from the last
three NAEA national conferences. I am happy to have these. I sat in
the enormous audience for Elliot Eisner's speech in Boston and there
was more than one statement that made me smile...but I took no notes.
So here is one good nugget.
"Gifted art teachers provide models and aims of practice that other
fields would be wise to emulate. What are the cognitive processes that
the arts develop? ...One is that it helps youngsters learn how to make
judgments in the absence of rules. When youngsters are choosing,
making choices, making decisions and making a painting or a sculpture
or whatever it is they're working on, but there is no recipe that they
have to follow in order to make those choices. They need to engage in
their experience, their bodily experiences, with the images in order to
make the choices that will enhance the work. So making judgments in
the absence of rules is something that the arts makes possible...and
what you see at the end is the result of the choices that they've made."
(National Art Education Association, page 66)