The Meaning of Transfer in the Practices of Arts Education

By Brown, Neil C. M. | Studies in Art Education, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

The Meaning of Transfer in the Practices of Arts Education


Brown, Neil C. M., Studies in Art Education


Redressing the marginalization of the arts is often linked with attempts to redefine and broaden their cognitive structure. Recent evidence of transferability between knowledge in the arts and other curriculum domains is currently advanced as one useful approach. Taking a social realist approach to education in the arts this article argues that the meaning of cognitive transfer, including evidence of a cognitive structure shared with other domains, varies according to its representation within different values of arts educational practice. This article examines the impact of three frameworks of value on the evidence of cognitive transfer in the arts.

This study examines the role of cognitive transfer within the practices of education in the arts. Borrowing from the social realism of Searle (1996), Bourdieu (1977), and Boyd (1988) it takes an anti-reductionist approach to the explanation of institutional practice. Rather than reducing explanations of practical causation to raw evidence and theoretical ideas, social realists are more interested in the institutional terms under which evidence and ideas are applied. Understanding how evidence and ideas are put to work within a practice involves disclosing the ways in which meanings, values and intentions are ascribed to them by its institutions. Variations in these ascriptions explain how facts and theories are able to exert their influence over the conduct of practice within a domain. The value ascribed to scientific evidence by a practice is expressed as a function of its symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 1977). The symbolic capital attributed to evidence are those of its properties that can be traded in exchange for the advantages they contribute to the field. Thus the symbolic capital ascribed to cognitive transfer is redeemed through the value of the role it transacts in the arts educational "economy." It is argued here that the redeemability of cognitive transfer, its meaning for practice in arts education, varies in significance according to the terms under which the arts are valued within the curriculum.

Educational Practice in the Arts

The arts are part of a wider group of practices historically referred to as the practical arts. The practical arts include fields such as medicine and engineering (Brown, 1997). It is rare to find any of the present-day practical arts, other than the visual and performing arts, represented in the curricula of elementary and secondary schools. Because the practical arts are vocational they have been historically separated from the education of children. Their tradition of apprenticeship relegates them in most instances to post secondary education. Practical skills need to be rehearsed and coached. Practices are not easily reduced to the sequential rules and principles commonly found in school subjects. Although children learned pattern drawing and choral singing at school in the 19th century, singing and pattern drawing were regarded as general accomplishments at a time when mechanical means of reproduction were limited (Smith, 1966).

Before the advent of child psychology there was no tradition of acknowledging children's spontaneous expression in practical domains (Fletcher & Welton, 1912). The psychological repositioning of the concept of childhood early in the 20th century, however, changed the role played by subject matter in children's education (Cunningham, 1995). Subject matter began to be chosen for its contribution to the development of the child (Thorndike, 1914). This created a tension between psychological evidence and standards of specialized knowledge in the arts that continues to resonate in the literature of arts education today.

Three Claims of Value for the Arts in Education Claims of Inherent Value in the Arts

There are three contemporary arguments supporting claims for the importance of education in the arts. The first claim argues that educating children in the arts exposes them to subject content, qualities of experience, conceptual structuring, ways of life, depth of participation, and forms of subjective reasoning that cannot be gained through other subjects or by accidental exposure to the arts in everyday life (Eisner, 1972; Clark & Zimmerman, 1978).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Meaning of Transfer in the Practices of Arts Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.