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Lesson Plans

Re: culture (relatively long post)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 1 Jul 1996 11:51:45 -0500 (CDT)

>From: EILEEN PRINCE <eprinc1>
>Subject: Re: culture (relatively long post)
>>Date: Mon, 01 Jul 1996 11:44:05
>>From: EILEEN PRINCE <eprinc1>
>>Subject: Re: culture (relatively long post)
>>Blind Eugenie wrote me the following and I feel that there is a legitimate
concern here which should be addressed, so I am sharing the interchange:
>>>so how do your students take to that class.....I mean are fairly obvious
>>>stereo-types come out of the do students really knows
>>>about South African culture....I can see something in the lesson plan to
>>>be sure but doesn't show me yet....the objective other than an intro-
>>> this what you mean.
>>>i have to make myself so much clearer to you .. ..The difficult part is pk
>>in defining a culture ......i would not touch aboriginal culture....
>>i know so little about it ....i know western know
western culture.....i'd take the approach of a pychological culture ....the
culture of the mind.....what we all share and not the differences...soorry
>>your lesson is pretty interesting but's a tricky area can't
>>really go deep into othere cultures without livin in them......but '''
>>i'm sure you realize this ...e
>>Eugenie -
>>As I stated in the posting, this is an introductory unit. Starting in
fourth grade, our curriculum includes four years of art history, and all art
history at Sycamore is taught from a cultural context. If I am going to
tell my students that art is a prodect of the culture that creates it, and
that to appreciate the work as fully as possible, it is necessary to
appreciate the generating culture, I had better be sure they understand what
the term "culture" implies. So we do a brief introduction to the art
historical inquiry method using our school building as an artifact. Since
our building was originally opened in the late fifties with no art room,
music room or library - and certainly no computer room - this leads very
naturally into a discussion of the differences between the "culture" of the
fifties/sixties and the present day. The lesson I suggested was just a
different way of approaching the same concept, and I plan to add it to the
fourth grade curriculum as an independent project this year.
>>When we are doing African Tribal Art (I am very careful to discuss the
positive and negative connotaions of the word "Tribal"), we do a great deal
of discussion, view several videos and filmstrips, read myths and legends,
explore some effects of African art on American, African-American and
Twentieth Century art, etc. We do this for Native American, Pre-Columbian
MesoAmerican, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian, Medieval - whatever art we are
discussing. I always point out to the students that there is no way that we
can fully understand another culture in such a brief time - or indeed,
without being part of the culture - but that it is vital to understand that
different cultures HAVE different philosophies and concepts upon which their
art is based. For instance, creating "beauty" is totally irrelevent to the
creation of many - perhaps most - African masks. Use of "proper" Western
perspective would be counterproductive to the creator of certain Chinese
hanging scrolls and Japanese woodcuts. What we try to achieve in our four
years of art history is an ATTITUDE rather than a complete knowledge of
other cultures which, as you point out, would be impossible under any
circumstances. I would like to think my students will ultimately treat the
products of ALL other cultures with respect; that they will reserve
judgement on things that look "strange" until they have more information;
and that they will discover that knowing more about a subject increases
their enjoyment and understanding. Fourth grade is a wonderful time to
initiate such a program, because fourth-graders are generally very eager to
please and appreciate being given "adult" material.
>>Eillen Prince
>>Sycamore School