“ I strive to teach students not only how to create art in a variety of media and how to see the connections between the fine arts and other academic disciplines, but how to truly live an artistic life.”
Karen La Du
“Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else. Art inspires, produces an unwillingness to settle for what we have and a desire for something better. It is the product and producer of creative activity, change; it is essential for continuous development.”
Sydney Gureurtz Clemens
An early childhood teacher for more than thirty years, Sydney Gureurtz Clemens, is a widely recognized author and presenter on topics which involve hot cognition: children learning through things they are passionate about. These topics can be from the happy parts of life: early literacy, creativity, and many aspects of the work being done in Reggio Emilia, but they can also be from life’s painful parts, including divorce, death & dying, and parents in prison. Her three books, Pay Attention to the Children: Lessons for Teachers and Parents from Sylvia Ashton-Warner, The Sun’s Not Broken, A Cloud’s Just in the Way: On Child-Centered Teaching, and Seeing Young Children with New Eyes—What We’ve Learned From Reggio Emilia About Children and Ourselves are inspiring, practical, informative and a pleasure to read.
“Good teaching is more of a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”
Josef Albers (1888-1976) was a German American Artist who taught at the Bauhaus School until it was closed by the Nazi’s at the beginning of WWII. He fled to the US where he taught at Yale University. His works are based on his explorations of the interactions of colors. He is best known for his “Homage to the Square” series of paintings and drawings. I have included a lesson based on his work in the section of lesson power points on this site.
“ The arts make vivid the fact that words do not, in their literal form or number, exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.”
Elliot Eisner, Ten Lessons the Arts Teach
10 Lessons the Arts Teach
- 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 numbers 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.
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.