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Lesson Plans

getting response from kids

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 10:18:21 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Sandy E.,

One question which always seems to get a response from kids is: "Is there
such a thing as expert opinion, or is everybody's opinion about art equally
valid?" This question could lead very naturally into questions of criticism
and judgement and thus into the development of the personal standards you
are trying to elicit. We always discuss this question in my eighth grade
aesthetics and criticism unit and this year I got some especially profound
feedback. (One example: "Everyone should have certain basics, but after
that, it's a matter of what affects the individual." - pretty good, huh?) I
spur the debate by asking if there is expert opinion in other areas (like
music or medicine), if a five-year-old's opinion is as good as theirs, and
by pointing out the difference between "liking" and "judging". This year,
I'm having my students write responses to Steve Mannheimer. You may recall
the article Ken posted this summer. Mannheimer is an Associate Professor of
Painting at Herron School of Art and the art critic for the Indianapolis
Star. He wrote a column essentially arguing the uselessness of elementary
art classes and questioning the perceived value of art to any but the rich
elite. I wrote a response and received a reply from him which raised some
interesting questions about the effects of art education. So I'm going
straight to the "horses' mouths" as it were - I'm asking my kids to respond
to his points. I'll share any interesting comments when I see the
responses. Hope this is useful.

Eileen Prince
Sycamore School