One of the books that impacted my teaching philosophy has been Elliot Eisner’s “Art and the Creation of Mind.” In this book, Eisner lays out ten compelling ‘lessons’ that the arts teach BEYOND direct skills of visual art. Often learning in the art class is accused of being intangible and nontransferable – some magic mist that hangs in the air and settles heavier on some students than on others. In reality, the learning that takes place in a visual arts class can have a mighty impact on a student’s development. For one, increasingly we are learning how ‘intangible’ skills affect student achievement and how having the ‘right answers’ is becoming less and less important than actually doing something with those answers.
In the art classes of Advent Episcopal School we seek to develop the whole child and use the learning in visual art as a means to that end. We teach skills that help students become craftsmen and creators of visual artifacts but we also teach them that the product is only a portion of their learning. The struggles, frustrations, journeys, and joys of creative process are also highly valued. By demonstrating value in the process and products of visual art students will grow in their understanding of their artistic selves. We also hope they will grow in artful thinking and understanding of the world around them. Through the platform of this blog, we look forward to sharing glimpses into the art world of Advent!