The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

By Ivan Olson; Ralph A. Smith | Go to book overview

Preface

Educational issues such as reform, school vouchers, and standardized testing have shared the educational spotlight in recent years. Of these three issues, reform has become the ever present one, drawing into its circle not only the other two, but also other "hot" issues such as standards, quality, curriculum development, and budget, as well as defining and investigating the processes of learning, teaching, and creativity.

As this ubiquitous reform movement continues to take shape, there appear more and more opportunities for focus and discovery within the various academic disciplines, including all the arts. These are opportunities for us to gain new insights into the learning processes, to not only better understand ourselves as creatures of thought and reflection, but also add to our understanding of the "hows and whys" of our "adventures of the mind." The arts are truly adventures of the mind, yet only a very small proportion of our society approach them as such. With that in mind, this text focuses on three approaches which hopefully will stimulate further interest and study in descriptive and experimental aesthetics as they can and should be applied to the core of our educational curricula and programs in general: (1) realization of the arts as cognitive and affective essentials in human development; (2) the necessity of a controlled and dynamic tandem of perception and cognition for meaningful experiences in the arts; and (3) how important our imaging processes are in all arts experiences.

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