SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 28 of 58

24 SUMMER 2018 SchoolArts A D V O C A C Y L et's assume, at least for the time it will take me to write and you to read this column, that activist Marian Wright Edelman is right and that the main purpose of one's education is for ultimately improving the lives of others as well as one's own. So how might we, as art teachers, make Edelman's ideal of education work in a system that is driven by test scores with little emphasis placed on creativity and the arts? How do we instill in students a sense of civic duty and responsibility to oth - ers? How do we inspire students to think creatively about community and world issues and to consider divergent ways to find solutions to problems? How do we help indi - viduals develop a feeling of trust in their own efforts and abilities? For a Better World For me, these questions require in-depth discussions about creativ - ity and the importance of the arts, design, and performance in every individual's education at all six - teen grade levels and beyond. As art teachers, we need to emphasize mak - ing connections with community and make sure that the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired in our lifelong education will enable us to make our community and the world better places to live. Starting with Design To begin with, we might consider how an emphasis on design think- ing can lead students to engage with community. Designers seek solutions Art + Communit esign Eldon Katter We must think of art education as preparing students for a meaningful and fulfilling life, not just for making a livelihood. to real problems and specific needs of others. When students design, they learn to think about purpose, process, pitfalls, progress, and product. Making Meaning If we want to make our community and our world better places, if we don't want to leave any child behind, if we believe in self-reliance, and in developing in each and every student a feeling of trust in their mental and physical efforts and abilities, then we, as art teachers, must do our part to ensure that education does more than prepare students for high-stakes test - ing. We must think of art education as preparing students for a meaning - ful and fulfilling life, not just for making a livelihood. We can start with the equation: art + community + design = meaningful lives. Eldon Katter is the former editor of SchoolArts magazine and co-author of Explorations in Art, available from Davis Publications. ekatter@ Design Thinking Is a Way of Thinking When designers seek solutions the are most assuredl inclined: to investigate real problems with specific purposes in mind; to look for new approaches with limitations and constraints defined; to consider possible adjustments leaving no plausible idea behind; to identif measurements of progress allowing time to stop and rewind. A clay laptop reminds us that design all around us can serve as subject matter for a variety of materials. Photo by Nancy Walkup.

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