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dba art ed or re: discipline based art education or dbae

updated tue 23 jun 98


Christopher Greenman on mon 22 jun 98

Its onerous if one makes it so. Actually many art teachers k-12 teach with a
version of this anyway. It is a teaching strategy for art that includes art
history, art criticism, arrt studio, and aethetics. The goal is to teach
torwards a general understanding of the visual arts laying the groundwork for
further study recognizing that all people are not going to become artists but
that all people can benefit from learning about the visual arts i.e Learning
about heritage, developing aesthetic perception, developing an appreciation
for the arts, learning about other cultures, learning about morals, values and
other issues presented in the arts and learning to be crative with the
materials of art. But in the visual arts should be as developmentaly
chalanging as in the sciences and mathematics-- not just a succession of
projects. A good teacher should be able to balance her teaching art k-12 to
incorporate all disciplines and not exclude....

Yes there are problems with this type of art teaching.
1. As written DBAE does focus on teaching the masters or teaching from
accepted canons of art --- whose art whose makes those decisions doesn't this
exclude other cultures and exclude the lesser arts of folk art and crafts
hence it is deemed as very elitist.

2.As noted in preious posts regarding this issue, it is hard for a teacher to
balance out these disciplines in the classroom. Let alone how do you teach

3. DBAE is being developed by the Getty Institute (a little bit to corporate
for me )

To often the visual arts get taken for granted by elementary education
teachers and elementary art teachers and the teaching of art falls down to
teaching projects that have little or nothing to do with what the artist does
or what happens in art world. Teaching DBAE to elementary education teachers
in an open arena teaches them to understand the value of art in the elementary
school and teaches them to question the value of the teaching they are doing.
What good is making hand turkeys for thanksgiving - what real art concepts are
being taught with this lesson ? just how much does this project promote their
creativity? Is this the kind of thinking an artist does?

So what does this have to do with teaching clay? ( Wayne Higby wrote an
article dealing with the teaching of clay for Studio Potter back in c.1990)
Ask yourself how you would want your child to be taught. Wouldn't you want
them to know that Maria Martinez made incredible coil built pots as they were
working on their own? Wouldn't you want them to reflect not only on the
aesthetic value of their own but know how to make it better? Is'nt it valuable
in the students' life to reason about why Martinez's pots are valued in this
society as much as some fine art paintings and yet they are just pots--(Seems
like a familiar thread).

Yes this is a lot to ask an elemetary school teacher or art teacher to
consider but, what happens when the students do not learn about artistic
heritage, art history, how to "see", what is creativity? what is art?

This soapbox just got a little to short...DBAE has some problems but its
rreally not such a bad stategy if used with a little common sense.

Chris Greenman
Stewing in Alabama
we've woodfired in the heat, we've rakued..... hey, lets high fire.......