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Lesson Plans

Re: Questions about multicultural art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Jane Shiflett Manner (jmanner)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 23:29:03 -0500

At 10:58 PM 3/30/98 EST, you wrote:
I am a K-6 art teacher, and have been for about 15 years.
So, perhaps I will not be able to add anything new to this discussion. As to
how I view the issue of multi-culturalism, I guess I have these thoughts:
1. I teach in a white suburban district of Chicago. My students have a need to
know the world beyond their community.
2. Any serious art curriculum has to be inclusive of artists that are
racially, culturally and gender diverse and inclusive of cultures beyond the
dominant "American" culture. Otherwise it is an incomplete curriculum.
3. As racism is a historic component of North American culture, any
art/cutural curriculum ought to attempt to take this condition into account,
particularly in a classroom of white school children.
4. The structure of most elementary schools, including my own, works to create
an atomosphere the treats subject areas as separate and discrete. Time in the
art room is too short. The arts are not treated in an integrated way. Neither
is anything else.
5. In struggling to address these issues, we will make tons of mistakes. We
will do things badly now and then. I seem to. We will misappropriate, as many
on this list-serv have pointed out. But, if we are open and reflect frequently
and self-critically about what we are doing, we'll do it better.

What do you think?


I think your comments are exactly the type I expected. I am lead art
teacher in a system with 2 elementary, 3 middle, and 1 high school teacher
(me). We are rewriting out curriculum guides this summer and your cogent
comments will be included in our discussions.

Our system is very diverse. The community is rural and small and it is
rapidly changing. Our schools now have students whose families' heritage
is from Laos, Mexico, China, Pakistan, Iran, Viet Nam, Peru, Native
American and students, black and white, whose families have been here since
the founding of the town. If you have encountered art teachers(k-12) who
are addressing art educational issues in similarly diverse communities,
steer me to them please.