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Re: [teacherartexchange] TeachersFirst response

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_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sun May 01 2005 - 17:09:52 PDT


Hello!
    I teach art at the high school level and our annual school art show is
coming up in several weeks. I thought, as added inspiration, we could have
(also displayed and matted) thought-provoking quotations about how valuable
art is not only for art's sake but also how it relates to all other aspects
of our lives and, for students, their other courses of study. So often, art
is considered as just an idle occupation or just "busy" work by those who
are misinformed. But, throughout history, many famous and not-so-famous
people have documented and written on the value of art as a springboard and
integral ingredient in all areas of our lives and throughout our lives. I'd
appreciate any "words of wisdom"!!

BFelsecker

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pam" <pgstephens@npgcable.com>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
<teacherartexchange@lists.pub.getty.edu>
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 1:39 PM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] TeachersFirst response

> Recent media reports have cited research showing that exposing student to
> music and the arts can help build their skills at "hard" subjects like
math
> and science. Have you seen effects such as these in your teaching?
>
>
>
> My response:
>
>
>
> I have seen improvement in understanding of other content areas when the
> arts are meaningfully taught in schools, but I have a real problem with
the
> way this question us phrased. This question seems to imply that the arts
are
> nothing more than a superfluous element meant to support math and science
or
> other subjects. This is an assumption that is not only wrong, it is
> detrimental to quality teaching and learning.
>
>
>
> Using the arts as the handmaiden to other content areas is a common
mistake
> that educators and the media make. The arts are valid subjects in and of
> themselves. There is absolutely no reason to use the arts to build skills
in
> other content areas; however, because of the complex critical reasoning
> skills that the arts require, it is only logical that these skills
transfer
> to other content areas and thereby impact learning across the curriculum.
>
>
>
> There is a tremendous difference between "using the arts" and "teaching
> through the arts." Using the arts translates to something along the lines
of
> counting the trees in a landscape. Sure this helps to teach counting
skills,
> but it is making art the handmaiden to math. Teaching through the arts
means
> digging deeper, finding meaning and purpose in the art products, and
holding
> the arts accountable to their own cognitive skill sets.
>
>
>
> Learning to determine meaning and intent in works produced in the arts is
> demanding and requires development of careful observation, thoughtful
> contemplation, effective description, accurate analysis, supported
> interpretation, and competent arts making (to list only a few skills). Any
> reasonable person would infer that development of these skills will not
> remain the singular domain of the arts; that development of such skills
will
> positively impact other content areas.
>
>
>
> Research in the arts cannot prove that "exposing students to music and the
> arts" can build skills in other content areas, although there seems to be
a
> link (as I have outlined) between development of critical thinking skills
in
> the arts and those required for other content areas. It is a dangerous and
> unnecessary assumption to say that the arts build skills in other
subjects.
> I cannot think of a single artist, composer, dancer, or author who
produced
> a work of art so that math or science skills would be enhanced. Artists
> produce for worthy reasons and those reasons do not include counting the
> trees in a landscape or determining the velocity of a ballerina's twirl.
>
>
>
> Perhaps it is time to teach the media to use some critical thinking
skills.
> A few comprehensive art or music classes could do the trick.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> =============================
> Pamela G. Stephens, PhD
> Northern Arizona University
> Art Education
> P.O. Box 6020
> Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6020
> 928.523.2432
> Pamela.Stephens@nau.edu
> http://www.cal.nau.edu/art/fac_pages/faculty_s.htm
>
> For art teaching resources and professional development
> www.ArtResourcesforTeachers.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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