Sprinkled throughout education journals and books is a lively discourse about the importance of the arts in every child's education. However, most of this work has been addressed to the already committed: arts educators and educationists focused on arts education. The purpose of this article is to bring together recent theories, research, and developments in arts education in order to broaden the base of discourse.
This article examines relationships between child and adult art, proposing an exploration of meanings of children's art activity by examining relationships between art-making and other activities of the same developmental period. The paper posits some basic human needs and considers how various activities might serve as instrumentalities to realize such goals.
This article examines why art is important in students' lives, features of artistry that captivate the mind, and reasons why arts should be fully integrated into school curricula. Change in art education should be grounded in substantive insights about artistic content, child development, teaching methods, and curriculum as a meeting ground.
This paper discusses how art and aesthetic education open people to visions of the possible, creating a community of distinctive individuals.
This article explains how to encourage students to respond to art rather than talk at them about what they should know.
The author presents a new perspective on how to integrate the arts back into education and how to make art education part of the school reform process. The perspective would teach only artistic insights that would best serve children at different times in their development, stressing the continuity between art and life.
The author describes museums as deeply rooted educational institutions. The large comprehensive museum has a "student body" more diverse than any school, college, or university. Museums are also more accessible. Although museums can never be an alternative to "schooling," they can be significant complementary centers of lifelong learning.
This volume discusses aesthetic cognition under four headings: the
antecedents of contemporary thinking about aesthetic knowing and
arts education; the nature of aesthetic knowing itself; the problems of
teaching and learning; and curriculum change.
Of all the forces that have affected American education, perhaps
the most immediate and enduring has been the drive towards universal
mass education). The rise of the common school movement in the
nineteenth century and the rapid growth of the secondary school in
the twentieth created enormous pressures to expand and diversify the
curriculum to meet the needs of an increasingly heterogeneous student
body. It was during these periodic phases of expansion that the arts
were introduced into the public school curriculum.
What philosophical stances have been devised not only to justify the
presence of the arts in education but also to answer the practical
question of what about them is most worth knowing?
A good many attempts have been made to answer that question
because it is itself rather complex and can be approached in a variety
of ways. I focus here on three influential arguments.
Since other contributors to this volume discuss arts
education from the point of view of human development, I will
concentrate on the substantive dimensions of aesthetic understanding.
First, however, it will be helpful to indicate the basic situation
around which we should organize teaching and learning in the arts.
This situation is one in which persons confront works of art for the
sake of realizing the worthwhile benefits such works are capable of
Other chapters in this volume chronicle the several versions and
past history of this paradigm. In this chapter I am more interested in
its future possibilities. I identify changes occurring in the environment
of art education and discuss the changes they call for in our thinking.
I suggest that we can no longer take for granted much about children's
abilities and the goals of art education that the cognitive movement did
take for granted. I suggest that the idea of cognition in the arts should
be understood more radically as interpretation, and I discuss, with
examples, what that would mean.
In this chapter wc draw on the visual arts for examples, but the
story we tell could be broadened to include various art forms. We
begin with a description of some of the brute facts, that is, examples of
the constant phenomena that constitute early artistic behavior and
invite different interpretations. Next we consider the main tenets of
the cognitive revolution that has transformed our conception and
cnhanced our understanding of that behavior. We review the impact of
this new way of thinking on aesthetics, and on the investigation of
child art, as well as upon general and aesthetic education. In
conclusion, revisiting the brute facts, we reconsider the precognitivist
perspective in terms of the insights these recent changes in thought
In this chapter we attempt to maintain a balance among three sometimes conflicting, sometimes complementary points of view:
those of the psychologist, the educator, and the teacher. It will become
apparent that the concerns of the first two are currently fairly
disparate, but we shall argue that a bridge can be built between them
by a careful and reflective consideration of the teacher's point of view.
My own experience points to two "lessons" of bad art education: (1) art is
not connected to the important aspects of life, and (2) art is mindless
activity; one handles art either passively or purely manually. Thought
plays no role.
Although there are signs that the situation is changing, the
questions of how thinking, and, more importantly, critical thinking,
can be a part of art education, and how art can be rightfully positioned
at the core, not at the periphery, of life (and hence of education) still
need attention. The role that the critical analysis of aesthetic puzzles
might play here is the subject of this chapter.
In this section we have shown that there are important differences
between rational thought, as it is represented by the sciences and
mathematics, and aesthetic knowledge produced by creating or
responding to art. It was our intention to show that the two domains
complement each other, by fostering cognizance of different
dimensions of reality. Our analysis suggests that creating, responding
to, or learning about art have more relevance for people's everyday
life experience and their existential struggles than do the natural and
I shall attempt in this chapter to do three things. First, I
shall seek to show how the dominant conception of the role of schools
in this country creates an inhospitable context for the arts. Second, I
shall seek to show how the conduct of teacher education perpetuates
organizational and curricular arrangements and reinforces an ethos in
schools that is disadvantageous to the arts. Third, using a concrete
example of a faculty group in a junior high school, I shall endeavor to
show the obstacles innovative proposalssuch as those that include
the artsconfront because of community expectations and the
regularities of schooling. I conclude on a somewhat upbeat note by
suggesting how arts educators might join the mainstream of teacher
preparation in the simultaneous renewal of schools and the preparation
Examines the shared cognitive dimensions of cultural institutions like museums, libraries, and parks, suggesting they make similar situations for transmitting information. This article encourages a critical understanding of public cultural institutions to enlarge the potential for discourse about their analysis and criticism. Heuristic questions for understanding cultural institutions are presented.
A case study of an Iowa junior high school describes how the school and community identified their resources and used them to create successful arts education programs from ordinary resources. This article examines four types of commitment that shaped school practice, noting effective teaching practices and administrative policy.
Three cases of public encounters with art are described below. The
three cases are isolated and unrelated incidents, but they are not
atypical for what they can tell us about the role of "the object" in
teaching the public about art. In this chapter, we examine the question
of the museum object as text, using these cases and other instances as
examples of the ways visual works of art are used by viewers in
informing their own conceptions of "art" and their reactions to it.
Implications for teachers' use of the object as text are drawn from
these cases and from the lessons they offer.
I will argue that general education is influenced by canons and that
the history of recent curriculum movements is one that demonstrates
how the priorities of socially influential groups affected the arts and
physical education. The movements to be surveyed include those
based on the "structure of the disciplines" of the 1960s and on the
"accountability" movement of the 1970s. I conclude with some
comments on the roles these subjects play in the overall maintenance
of balance in the curriculum.
An examination of the relationship between the form and content
of the opening paragraph in Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August will
help us understand what the phrase "aesthetic modes of knowing"
alludes to. Before examining this relationship I wish to mention now a
theme that I will return to later. The phrase, "aesthetic modes of
knowing," presents something of a contradiction in our culture. We do
not typically associate the aesthetic with knowing. The arts, with which the aesthetic is most closely associated, is a matter of the heart.
Science is thought to provide the most direct route to knowledge.
Hence, "aesthetic modes of knowing" is a phrase that contradicts the
conception of knowledge that is most widely accepted. 'I hope to show
in this chapter that the widely accepted view is too narrow and that the
roads to knowing are many.
In view of the title of this volume, the common curriculum is to be
constructed in the light of individual differences. Here we encounter
controversy as to what shall be denoted by the term. Should it be
confined to the contents of instruction, the process, or both? In this
essay, I have chosen the first meaning. The choice entails another, as to
what shall vary with individual differences, for contents and process
can both be varied. As indicated in the closing remarks of this chapter,
I have chosen to argue for varying the process and have indicated a
few ways of doing so.
We have not learned to experience beauty as an essential, pervasive dimension of our actions. Aesthetic sensibility represents the child in us imbued with spontaneity, imagination, and unity of soul and action. This sensibility makes it possible to reevaluate the world in terms of metaphor, image, fantasy, and dreams.
The educational role of the artist is close to that of the dreamer in the sense that they are active collaborators in the extraordinary process through which instinct and bodily function are converted into image and fantasy. The development of an image can release powerful flows of intellectual energy.
Inclusion of arts and humanities as a central part of any curriculum is defended by their ability to create critical awareness, to develop a sense of moral agency, and to foster conscious engagement with the world.
Throughout this brief survey we shall have to keep in mind the
active as well as the passive use of the various media. Passive use
serves the dispensing of knowledge. Pictures carry images of the
world into the classroom. They offer the raw material for factual
information. However, the pictures or models have been made by
experts somewhere else. They arrive ready-made. Student and
teacher act as consumers. Their acts are responses.
Ours is a visual age. We are bombarded with pictures from
morning fill night. Opening our newspaper at breakfast, we see
photographs of men and women in the news, and raising our eyes
from the paper, we encounter the picture on the cereal package.
The mail arrives and one envelope after the other discloses glossy
folders with pictures of alluring landscapes and sunbathing girls to
entice us to take a holiday cruise, or of elegant menswear to tempt
us to have a suit made to measure.
The purpose of this paper will be an attempt, first, to clarify
some of the causes of the current confusion, which is characterized
by seemingly irreconcilable goals, theories, and statements of purpose
as to what film is and what it should be in education; second,
to present a description of film as a process of communication that
can be used in subsequent discussion; third, to discuss how film is
used in the classroom; fourth, to present some evidence supporting
several new directions in the use of film as a means of instruction
related to the notion that film is a means of communication; and
fifth, to suggest lines for future research in education relating to
such uses of film.
Our aim here, as philosophers of art, is to specify the range of
activities that may be relevant in determining a peculiarly aesthetic
domain of future educational research. In so doing we shall be attempting
a necessary first step toward a broadened concept of educational
research, one that is defined materially by criteria of relevance
set up by related subject matter disciplines and, consequently,
one that would indicate the limits within which any formal method may appropriately be applied, if our restriction of prior intelligibility
is to be met.