It seems to me that we're missing an awful lot of history and culture if
we're not allowed to teach ABOUT such things. We (The Southeast Center for
Education in the Arts) are actually running into problems with a
multi-disciplinary unit on Ancient Greece we're developing because teachers
say they can't teach Greek myths because they are religious. I'm not sure
what concept of the past today's students will have without some of these
foundations. Granted, I wouldn't want a religion pushed on students as THE
way to live but I'm not opposed to their being exposed to world religions.
I gave a tour last year of the FACE OF THE GODS: ART AND ALTARS OF AFRICA
AND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAS at the museum in Montgomery, Alabama where I worked
as part of the education department. The artist of one altar used common
Christian symbols to represent gods from their own religion. I asked the
kids if they recognized the sculpture in the center of the woman in the blue
robe and no one even had a guess. Here is an instance when knowing something
ABOUT Christianity would have served the students well.
Kathryn Cascio, Assistant Director
The Southeast Institute for Education in the Visual Arts
So far as I know, art teachers seem to be the best vehicle for
teaching about art and cultures. We have not had any problems
with teaching the meaning behind religious symbols or practices,
as long as the content in taught in the context of the culture
to explain the culture. We are presenting historical and
cultural information needed to understand the culture of focus.
Thanks to all for your comments.
Nancy Walkup, Project Coordinator
North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
PO Box 5098, University of North Texas 76203
817/565-3986 FAX 817/565-4867