Program Philosophy: Visual Arts in the 21st Century
Our art program at Kent Island High School is designed to offer opportunities for students to explore visual art concepts while developing essential 21st-century problem-solving skills. When practiced in an inviting environment with high standards and substantial one-on-one support, I am able to encourage creative risk-taking and therefore foster artistic behaviors at the highest levels possible.
The goal of our new course sequencing is to build on prior knowledge each semester while increasing more advanced opportunities including honors and AP studio art in addition to preparing our visual arts students to become college and career ready.
Artistic Processes are further guided by the cognitive and physical actions by which arts learning and making are realized using the Maryland State and National Core Arts Standards, which are based on “the artistic processes of Creating; Performing/ Producing/Presenting; Responding; and Connecting”
In my 2D studio learning is active and participatory. Carefully planned lessons are designed to promote self-expression, encourage perseverance, and require articulate communication. My exploratory style of instruction is designed to limit passive engagement and instruction; students will not be able to avoid a daily conversation with me regarding their ideas, processes, and purpose for their work.
For years I have admired my Elliot Eisner, a true visionary and father of art education. I prescribe to his educational philosophy which I encourage you to read and consider.
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 experiences 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.