Monday, August 27, 2012

Robert Genn - "Lessons That Art Teach"

I receive a wonderful newsletter from Robert Genn.  These newsletters cover a variety of topics, but all relating to art.  And all are sprinkled with a wry sense of humor which make them such a fun read.

The most recent installment has some information regarding an author, Elliot Eisner and his book The Arts and The Creation of Mind.
This is an excerpt from that book...

 'Ten Lessons the Arts Teach' by Elliot Eisner

  • The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.  
  • The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. 
  •  The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world. 
  •  The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. 
  •  The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition. 
  •  The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. 
  • The arts traffic in subtleties. 
  •  The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real. 
  •  The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job. 
  •  The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling. 
  •  The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important. 

 Robert Genn went on to say...

In our day, when math, history and even language skills can be quantified and measured, giving clear percentages that pass or fail a student, it's good to know the arbitrariness of art still persists. The teaching of art stretches young minds to new levels of curiosity, wonder and appreciation of our world. And while anything goes and solutions may be open-ended, there is still room for the joy of craft, proficiency and standards. Technical knowledge, design, drawing and an understanding of colour are still out there for each new generation. Further, art education can last more than one lifetime.
I keep my fingers crossed that those kids who have the desire to pursue the arts will persevere.  It's worth it.  :D 

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