The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

Synopsis

The arts are truly "adventures of the mind." Yet, except for a fortunate but relatively small number, even the more educated and sophisticated segments of U.S. society are hardly able to relate to the arts. This book stresses that the arts are cognitive and affective essentials in human development. It provides a thousand year overview of some of the foundational thinking on aesthetic processes and the mind, and then focuses on the critical thinking mechanics and the processes such as aesthetic awareness, cognition, imagery, and the psyche. The book ends with a discussion of aesthetics, cultural literacy, school reform, and teaching approaches.

Excerpt

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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