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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Glen Williams (gw1944)
Tue, 6 May 1997 08:58:51 -0500

Dear Henry, Ben, and Others,
Thank you for responding to my curricula foray. First I apologize for my
tardy response, but I did send a reply two days ago which is in cyber
space somewhere. I kept thinking it would return or show up. Wrong.
Let me start again by responding to some of your points Henry. As to
the nature of transfer I see it ideally as a two step process. We take in a
great deal of information visually. This raw data can go underground, can
be articulated , or can be transferred into concepts. Since visual
learning should be our domain, whether it be a studio course, art history
or aesthetics then we are at least partially in the business of helping
students turn visual sense perceptions into that which can be acted upon,
articulated , and with appropriate teaching can be turned into broader
ideas or concepts. Educationally I see it as the move from Plato to
Aristotle. We respond so continually to the visual world it seems
outrageous that we have not done more to understand the nature of visual
learning. Not only seeing what is there, but being able to visualize what
is not- this is our territory too. It is not too far fetched to say that
the process of visualization is one of the major tools for learning in
other disciplines also. Sorry I did run on. Back to the nature of transfer.
Transfer is first the mystery of how we learn ( which is by any measure
is largely visual) and then the application of that knowledge
metaphorically. In respect to curriculum we do a vast disservice when we
teach dead end art lessons which are too self-conscious about the product
while indifferent to the process of learning. While on this topic Henry,
you indicated that seeking out the common goals, or perhaps having more
unified art curricula might lead to lock step production of little Mona
Lisas.As I read the art lesson recipes which are exchanged over this robin
your fear becomes mine- for different reasons. Realistically we have to
have some concern for the "art product" . It is how others perceive us. How
they judge our programs. How we get funded. How we continue to exist. But
if we leave the public at this level we seal our fate. It is process that
teaches not product. Recipes without meaningful context, without room for
student negotiation, without the potential
for any meaning beyond the product keep us at the elective level in education.
Ben I certainly appreciated your comments. Another voice in the
wilderness. Perhaps not the Holy Grail , but most of the time it may be
like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Also Ben do not apologize for your
language- you do wonderfully.
Please take my answers to your questions as well as everything I have
written as honest and reasonably considered but in need of professional
friction. The" process" I talk about so glibly is also the act of
professionals dealing both with reality and abstract ideas at the same
time. Something we all need to do more of. We are not an island.
Art- As inclusive as possible. I do not think it is our job to determine
what "is not" art. What is "called art" comes and goes.

Concepts and themes- Any of Dr. Erickson's themes would serve as an
example. They move beyond product into conceptual territory. A concept
that we look at in art might well be "negative space". It is easy to see
how this applies to how we see an d work in art. Can this concept be found
in literature, in music, in math and the sciences?. For me the answer is
yes-. Even if only used as a metaphor it presents another way of looking at

Concepts not covered- I think many of the concepts and themes are covered-
they are simply not taken into areas beyond art.

Other Disciplines- For me everything needs to be connected and the
artificial boundaries of other disciplines should be seen as just that-

Integration- The why of the integration involves not only the richness of
learning(product) but the enhancement of the "process" of learning. All
grades! In many ways visual learning is the parent of all disciplines
and art people could be in the position of aiding how students learn in
all areas.

Finally what I would really like to see Getty do is to create a
controlled forum for further art curriculum study. Making projects in art
class or studying art history are "looking from". From being in the center
of the herd. Studying curriculum in art is "looking at". And boy, do we
need to look at the shape of what we as art educators are doing. If you got
this far you deserve a prize.
Glen Williams

  • Reply: Becky Alexander: "re: arts (was Re: Curricula)"