Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebrate YAM! (Youth Art Month!)

It’s March and that means it’s YAM!

No, not those yams...Yams are delicious, but we are talking about Youth Art Month!

As many of you know, I am an art teacher by day so I want to get everyone on board with YAM! Throughout this month, I’ll be blogging about some ways you can celebrate art with your children in March and all year long!

YAM is sponsored by the Council for Art Education, Inc. The aim is to increase awareness about the value of arts learning and to encourage support of art in our schools. Youth Art Month is a time for us to think about why art is an important part of our children’s lives, education and development.

What’s the big deal? Art is just supposed to be fun, right?

I sure do hope my students have fun and share the joy of creating art with me! But there are some seriously important reasons why art education has a huge impact on kids. As a matter of fact, there are 10 really good reasons we need to teach about the arts according to art education expert Elliot Eisner! Read this list below, and remember that arts programs in every community need our support so children can have a complete education.

from Elliot Eisner’s book The Arts and the Creation of Mind (2002, Yale University Press)

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.

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