Education and Role of Technology in bringing Arts to Schools
One mode of inquiry cannot describe the whole of human existence. For example, science, history, and art all reveal different truths about any one subject or event and exist as three of the fundamental forms of inquiry. Their discrete languages form an essential part of the basic curriculum that relates to the knowledge and skills of civilization.
The principles of the arts relate closely to those in other disciplines. For example, discrete vocabularies support both experimental discoveries in science and factual analysis in history. Similarly, each art has its own vocabulary and organizing mechanisms. However, in addition, the arts have masterpieces, each exemplifying its own analytical principles and experimental methods. Consequently, the curriculum in art disciplines comprises the principles and methods of the masters and not experimental discovery or factual analysis.
Consequently, art instructors must provide students with access to the content of the arts disciplines. As with any other discipline, early work with the basics makes more advanced work possible. In art, this early work, inspired by masterpieces, develops skills that result in both technical and aesthetic competence.
Combination of professional and educational practice has become a symbiotic imperative. The relationship between the meaning of art and the teaching of art has become central to the quality of cultural advance. Therefore, art education consists predominantly of learning and not of teaching as the relationship between instructor and student develops to become mentor and protege. This type of learning requires personal interaction between the mentor and protege in very different ways from disciplines that focus purely upon the factual and the quantitative. It requires a synthesis of intellectual, artistic, and professional skills as a basis for developing social respect.
Responsibility lies with art instructors to lead and to remain vulnerable through professional and personal example. This results in the cultivation of students' creative ideas and provides a mechanism for challenge. Egocentricity, prevalent in many disciplines, has no place in art instruction. Consequently, it becomes essential to remove all notions of status and evaluation of competence in relation to grade level. The most important learning achievements in the arts have traditionally resulted with children under ten years of age. Arts instructors agree on the importance of beginning an arts education before the age of ten to insure success at higher levels of learning in later years.
Historically, the professions have set high standards directed toward general intellectual enlargement and refinement; not narrowly restricted to the requirements of technical or professional training. Instructors should try to emulate these standards through preparation that not only covers the theoretical aspects of masterpieces but also the realism of new communication methods and new communications tools in technological environments.
The seven liberal arts in medieval universities comprised the trivium and the quadrivium that derived from a curriculum of seven sciences introduced in the sixth century. The trivium formed the lower division of grammar, rhetoric, and logic and the quadrivium formed the upper division of arithmetic, music, and geometry. These curricula formed a plan for teaching because curriculum studies related to a field of inquiry into the development, implementation and evaluation of education programs. Today, liberal arts curriculum encompasses both the humanities and the social sciences.
The US Congress, in establishing the National Endowment for the Humanities (1965), defined humanities as including "language, both modern and classic; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; the history, criticism, theory and practice of the arts; and those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods." Forming one of the two main curricular divisions, these subjects constitute a common interest in the moral values and cultural attainments of human civilization. However, in K-12 these principles, so important to the humanities, have eroded through heavy emphasis on vocational education. Fortunately, the universities have retained humanities curricula that assure a genuine liberal arts education.
Primary inquiry relates to four questions:
1. What basic subject matter to teach?
2. What learning process to adopt?
3. What practical curriculum to develop?
4. What affect the curriculum encourages?
Some instructors become oriented toward outcome, viewing curriculum as a structured series of intended learning goals.
Other instructors include in a curriculum all the opportunities for learning. This approach addresses both intended and unintended outcomes but pays greater attention to education than to particular achievements. Some theorists distinguish between curriculum and instruction; others believe that the dichotomy relates falsely because the method of teaching has a great influence on what is learned. Consequently, some educators argue for curriculum goals related to subject matter, others for curriculum goals related to society, and others for curriculum goals related to students. Unfortunately, many programs in the public schools become influenced by local and state government. Another detrimental effect relates to the strong influence of art textbooks and "educational" art software presently touted as artistically all embracing.
In relation to the fine arts the term realism has conveyed a number of different meanings. Until the end of the 19th century it most often connoted naturalism, or the representation of the external world as it is actually seen. During recent decades of the 20th century the term realism has been used to describe the movement away from abstraction and toward representational art.
Suzanne Knauth Langer (1895-1985), influenced by the philosophy of Ernst Cassirer, developed a logic of signs and symbols, initially applied to music and later extended to the whole range of the fine arts. Langer defined art as the creation of apparent forms expressive of human feelings and appearance. Fundamentally opposed to behaviorism, her study of the mind postulated that all mental phenomena exist as modes of feeling. However, the present inclination in art education contrasts Langer's approach in that technique tends to become more important than aesthetic.
The present system of higher education contains resources and commitment for providing arts education. They exist as an important educational aspect for students who will eventually work in other professions and technologies. The arts disciplines comprise a unique means of communicating information. As such, they relate as essential components of both education and technology. Basic work in arts subject matter provides the foundation for personal development and interpersonal communication skills, however, these do not comprise the only goals of art education.
Arts education relates to the development of a basic understanding of dance, music, theater, and the visual arts. This understanding gives the student the ability to work with artistic elements and structures in many different disciplines. Comprehension in any discipline requires a basic knowledge of language, structure, method, and skills. Therefore, knowledge of the language and grammar of each art form, as they relate to creation, performance, or exhibition, becomes an essential communication skill in planning and using advanced technologies.
Arts education should prepare students for higher education and should have educational parity with English, mathematics, science, the social sciences, computer science, and foreign languages. Arts education helps students:
1. To understand the unique qualities of each of the arts.
2. To appreciate how people of various cultures use the arts to communicate.
3. To comprehend different artistic styles from historical periods and cultures.
4. To know the social and intellectual influences affecting artistic form.
5. To develop communication processes and communications technology skills.
Conducive environments, professional presentations, and humanistic studies do not substitute for the acquisition of fundamental skills. However, they form an important part of an arts education.
Arts education supports the following goals:
1. To establish an environment conducive to artistic awareness, understanding, and respect by using elements of the arts to teach in other disciplines. This provides an artistic working environment and makes pursuit of aesthetic culture a priority.
2. To gain experience through professional presentations of the arts through lectures and shows by visiting professionals. This provides opportunities for students to attend performances and exhibitions and a means for first hand exposure and independent study.
3. To present materials on the arts as a humanities discipline by focus upon historical and cultural development. This creates in the student an ability to recognize masterpieces.
4. To emphasize the content and practice of the arts disciplines through teaching basic language, grammar, and method. This becomes a prerequisite to performing or playing musical instruments.
The benefits that accrue from art education relate to:
1. Cultivation of an understanding of the human experience.
2. Solution of problems in areas that require technological expertise.
3. Development of aesthetic and cultural judgments through personal exposure.