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Lesson Plans

Re: Professional Equity

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Thu, 09 May 1996 09:36:39 -0700 (MST)

> Henry Taylor asked:
> >
> >I leave you with this question. Would you prefer Science and its
> >technology based in an approach to Art or Arts ruled by the laws of Science?
> Chris Merriam asked:
> Is the world that black and white? Where is the wide value gradations of
> grays?

Henry Taylor wrote:
I'd say that the world is inadequately described by black, white, or even
the "wide value gradations of grays." For that matter, color also remains
insufficient. My question and its binarist structure was intended as a
simple rhetorical device to initate reflection not to require an
unachievable answer. Binarys do not reflect world structure generally
speaking. They often do provide useful starting places for analysis and
reflection. The point is that often questions do not exist to be
answered, only to prompt thought.

> I had the good fortune of attending a worshop with a middle school
> science teacher who saw the beutiful connections science and art can
> make... and I learned to relax, take the scientific approach... let kids
> make a hypothesis... what will happen if? and then experiment with their
> ideas. It helped me to be less controlling, believe it or not!

By the way, within an hour of posting my missal I had the good fortune of
encountering a program ON MATHEMATICS on our PBS affiliate that stressed
the value of perception. And I suppose as a result of my own
consideration of the questions I took on, I seem to have found greater
sensitivity to similar occurances that have been corssing my path in the

Indeed Chris you had good fortune. I note that it was a SCIENCE teacher
who initiated that experience. Indeed most of what I have learned about
art and aesthetics I have found in the writings of scientists or science
writers! It was not my intent to trash science (scientism perhaps, it is
altogether too present today) but rather to note that science and art
have different things to offer and that it is unreasonable to assume that
models that have worked superbly for the material sciences ought to work
with equal efficacy in application to the arts.

Let me recommend to all a book by biologist and anthropologist Gregory
Bateson (1904-1980) entitled _Mind_and_Nature:_A_Necessary_Unity_.
Bateson, at the end of his live was deeply concerned with epistemology, a
branch of both science and philosophy, concerned with how we know, think,
and decide; as well as the limitations inherent to knowing, thinking, and
deciding. Further, as a member of the Board of Regents for California he
was much involved in the application of such understandings in the field
of education. Aesthetics is central to Bateson's study. He returns to
considering the place and function of aesthetics in relationship to mind
increasingly throughout his writing.

Science is not the enemy, science is THE ally. To apply principles or
models however, because they bear the imprimatur of science, is SCIENTISM.
To apply a model to a situation encountered WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WHY such
a model is appropriate is, to my mind at least, an inadequate way to
proceed in the world, to say nothing of education.

Science is singularly important! The Arts still have much to reveal and
offer in complement with Science. Our discipline has as much to offer. It
will become more available, I suspect, when we, its practitioners and
facilitators give it as much respect, attention, and consideration as we
offer it's sister.

out on the limb again. ;-)