Ten Lessons the Arts Teach By Elliot Eisner with Implications for Interchurch Families

Pages 25 & 26 ……..  Ten Lessons the Arts Teach  By Elliot Eisner with Implications for Interchurch   Families

July, August and September 2013                         Volume 24; Edition 3

The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families

International Standard Serial Number:   ISSN 1943-6467 (print)                                                                                                              ISSN 2160-682X  (online)

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I found this article by Elliot Eisner. It addresses why art is so important in education. Many of the points he makes are so applicable to many other endeavors, and perhaps also they may have potential as an application for those who are working toward creating or finding Christian Unity that I thought I’d share it here:

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach

By Elliot Eisner

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 number 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, Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.

I especially like the points made, that problems can have more than one solution, and that we celebrate multiple perspectives.

We can find suggestions in art that can be applied to many aspects of our lives to live in a society that is diverse and where each person is viewed as a gift or for their potential to become a gift to society.

The arts may become useful as a way of helping to lead all of us to find ways to create cultural bridges.

It seems that at this time in our history that we need to find that of God in the ordinary talents and gifts that we already possess and to look for that of God in the face and work of Others. Each of us has some worthwhile gift or talent to share.

Once again, I am reminded of the following Bible verse: 

Philippians 4:8  New International Version (NIV)

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


Implications for Interchurch Families:

For interchurch Families, If the arts attend to the subtleties, if the arts are not limited by vocabulary, if the arts open us up to a willingness to accept, if the arts teach us that there are more than one solution for any given problem, if the arts celebrate multiple perspectives, if the arts rely greatly on judgment   or preferences in taste as opposed to the adherence to rigid rules, if the arts allows us to explore emotions in a comfortable way, the arts may help us to move forward in other areas where we are looking for solutions where previously none seemed to have existed or to be impossible for us to find previously.

If collaborative creations could be considered in the creation of art and then re-applied to other areas in our lives, I see great potential and hope for the future. Art opens up our own potential to be able to create something beautiful and to seek and find new solutions, and this is exactly what seems to be needed in other areas of the lived American experience at this time.

Please consider how art may be helpful to us as we seek to build cultural bridges in our society and the world.  ~ M.J. Glauber

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