Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present Day

By Joy A. Palmer | Go to book overview

ELLIOT EISNER 1933-

In a culture in which more people watch 'Family Feud' in one night than attend concerts of classical music all year, the marginal place of the arts is understandable. Yet, one hopes that educators would do better. Can those of us who work in education provide the intellectual leadership to give our children a chance to know and perhaps love what only a few know and love? One of my passions is trying to make that happen. 1

Summarizing the career of Elliot Eisner is a daunting task. As one of his former students, I have been asked to introduce him at a few of his speeches. Each time, I was instructed to 'be brief'. I quickly discovered how hard it is to condense the achievements of someone whose contributions and accomplishments have been so expansive and distinguished. At last count, Elliot Eisner's curriculum vitae is ninety-two pages and reveals the markers of notable achievement: Lee Jacks Professor of Education and Art at Stanford University; five honorary degrees since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1962; election to two European royal societies and to the National Academy of Education in the United States; numerous presidencies of scholarly organizations, from the National Art Education Association to the American Educational Research Association; and several awards for his work, including a Guggenheim fellowship.

He has written 285 articles and fifteen books, averaging about seven published articles per year since 1970. With regards to this body of work, my list of essential Eisner reading would include: The Art of Educational Evaluation (a collection of essays capturing his early ideas), The Educational Imagination (vital for all curriculum workers), Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered (his definitive work on mind and representation), The Enlightened Eye (his major text on qualitative research), Educating Artistic Vision (for all art educators) and The Kind of Schools We Need (a collection of essays on school reform).

That Eisner would turn out to become such a prolific writer on educational topics was hardly expected in his early years. When Elliot's third-grade teacher praised his artistic talent to his mother, she enrolled him in Saturday morning art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. His mother hoped he would become a commercial artist-a position in which he could make money. He did go on to major in art (and education). However, while in college he took a job teaching African-American boys in The American Boys Commonwealth in the neighbourhood in which he grew up in the west side of Chicago. This experience shifted his focus from art to art education. From this shift, however, ideas that would ultimately influence educators around the world began forming. Eisner recognized that schools omitting the arts were providing an unbalanced or inequitable type of education. Moreover, he began to realize that conceptions of cognition lacking artistic modes of thinking were inadequate.

In the context of schooling…we have ideas about the development of mind that are getting in the way of the arts and their potential contribution to educational development. 2

-247-

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Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents viii
  • Preface xiv
  • A.S.Neill 1883-1973 1
  • Notes 5
  • Notes 14
  • Notes 27
  • Further Reading 28
  • Notes 32
  • Notes 37
  • Notes 48
  • Carl Rogers 1902-87 49
  • Notes 53
  • Ralph Winifred Tyler 1902-94 54
  • Harry Broudy 1905-98 64
  • Notes 68
  • Further Reading 69
  • Benjamin S.Bloom 1913-99 86
  • Note 89
  • Further Reading 96
  • Notes 117
  • Further Reading 118
  • Notes 140
  • Notes 153
  • Michel Foucault 1926-84 170
  • Donaldson's Major Writings 181
  • Illich's Major Writings 188
  • Further Reading 193
  • Notes 203
  • Nel Noddings 1929- 210
  • Noddings' Major Writings 215
  • Notes 222
  • Notes 228
  • Notes 233
  • Theodore R.Sizer 1932- 241
  • Elliot Eisner 1933- 247
  • Notes 251
  • Lee S.Shulman 1938- 257
  • Notes 270
  • Henry Giroux 1943- 280
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