Why teach Visual Art in school? How do you answer that all-important question from students, parents and the wider community? Thought leader, Dr. Elliot Eisner provides an excellent argument in the form of 10 points that clearly explain the immense value of the subject for 21st century learners. Download a wonderful poster for your classroom here, Eisner_10_Lessons_2013-1, and see an except from his book, ‘The Arts and the Creation of Mind‘ here.
10 Lessons the Arts Teach
1. 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.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. 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.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA.
Elliot W. Eisner, Connoisseurship, Criticism, and the Art of Education
“Elliot W. Eisner has deepened our appreciation of education in a number of areas. Here we examine his argument that education involves the exercise of artistry and the development of connoisseurship and criticism. We also assess his contribution to the debates around school reform.” Read more from Mark Smith’s (2005) ‘Elliot W. Eisner, Connoisseurship, Criticism and the Art of Education‘ here.
‘In education, the arts are considered ‘nice’ but not necessary…” Eisner
The beloved advocate for the arts in education delivers an empowering speech to students that details how studies in this area solidifies ideas, gives you the ability to judge relationships and helps to make your ‘work’ more powerful. Enjoy this keynote address from the influential Professor from Stanford University as he explores the contributions of the arts in human learning, development and achievement using data, research, qualitative analysis and research.