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Lesson Plans

Re: What's worth teaching in art?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
nop62861 (teresatorreseca)
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 01:32:50 +0200

Hello Robert:

I want to thank you your long post about art education, you remind me the
historical roots of our wonderful job. I think the United States had great
personalitys in art education: Elisabeth Peaboby Jane Adams were american , and
more recently we all have been influenced by E. Eisner. You express my feelings and
believes in your words:

> 2. I want every student to finish my classes with a respect for the history
> of art as a record of creativity and the human spirit. It is a different
> way of knowing who we (the family of humankind) are and who we have been. A
> history class will teach facts and a time line but I want my students to see
> how art history captures the spirit of each age and therefore offers a more
> humane perspective on our global past and the seeds of our present and future.
> 3. I want every student to finish my class with an educated set of
> organizational criteria from which to make judgments about objects and
> events in their lives. The experience of making good choices in art, as in
> life, will serve them well into their future. The formal concerns (elements
> and principles of design) and the experience of criticism and judgment helps
> students develop confidence in their thought processes and in the process of
> making choices based upon their analysis and evaluation.
> ...
> Art education can also help our
> future citizens learn to work as a member in a goup effort, embracing
> diversity and being tolerant of cultural variety. Art education can give
> our future citizens of the age of information some valuable working
> experience with adaptation which will allow them to thrive productively in a
> working environment of change beyond anything we can currently imagine.
> Perhaps art education, because of its past teaching objectives and
> experience with creativity, art history, diversity, critical judgment and
> change, will be in the best position to meet the needs of students in the
> present and future epoch of technology.

As a teacher involved in a socially-critical orientation, i am very very worried
the aims in art education, and my concern is more dramatic because i live in a
south European country, so with less economical power than the north.
However, because of my initial training, i believe in the values and in the
virtues of the academic rationalism,
in the excellence of the greatest in literature and sculpture, film, dance or
painting: like Eisner, i feel that Matisse, Corbusier,
Stravinsky and Cunningham are the real knowledge and examples to transmit by
studio-making, by criticism, by aesthetics, by history and art production.
Of course they are not the only art, there are so many differents arts as different

On the other hand, i am convinced that art education must prepare students for the
new media, for the new
language and, most of all, enable them to understand manipulation through imagery
and give them critical rather than technical
skills. Knowledge must be focused on investigation, understanding, criticism and
history. The aim of education is to
provide critical skills to participate in this new world, in order to improve it
morally, socially and politically. It may be that technique is not so important , or
at least some
techniques coming from the past. My orientation is in the sense of criticism,
having a theoretical approach to the contents and giving emphasis to the aesthetics
aspects of the
themes because i know that the other art teachers in the school will approach the
other contents by technique and personal expression.

I agree with a post structuralist approach like Paul Duncum who argues that the
purpose of education is no longer to distribute information but to
teach how to handle the vast amount that is readily available. Media education is a
solution to deal with this problems?
Could we believe that a semiotic criticism of contemporary cultural forms could
give us a new approach to production and criticism of art education?

For art education to have a healthy future, it must be remade. It requires
a paradigm shift toward a socially
levelled, semiotic conception of culture. An inclusive conception of
culture could begin to address the proliferation
of mass media images and their multiple readings by our multifaceted
selves." (Duncum, 1997).

> .