Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Education


The past three decades have witnessed increasing interest in discovering the value of art education despite diverse conceptions concerning its educational outcomes. However, with the passage of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act in 1994, the arts were written into federal law acknowledging that the arts are a core subject. On the heals of Goals 2000, a publication known as the National Standards for Arts Education: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to do in the Arts was created. This publication served as a model for several states as they developed state standards for the arts. In 1996, the Ohio Department of Education, in an effort to organize meaningful learning experiences in the arts for students, adopted the Comprehensive Arts Education: Ohio's Model Competency-Based Program. Building upon the National Standards, the focus of Ohio's program centered around planning and teaching the arts on the uses, meaning, and value of the arts in people's lives. Emphasis was placed on creating viewers of art that could make connections between disciplines rather than simply creating artists. It is important to note that while these documents discuss the four arts (dance, drama, music, and the visual arts), the researcher has chosen to concentrate discussion around the visual arts. The Ohio State Department of Education document is organized much like the curriculum advocated by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts, Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE). The Getty .approach integrates the Tour disciplines of art education: Art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics. In the past, art education curriculums were focused on art production and teaching skills, but philosophers and teachers have contended that the visual arts are more valuable that simply teaching a student how to produce a tangible object. In a world dependent upon knowledge of mathematics, social studies, and science, it has become evident that art education has a special role to facilitate teaching across the disciplines and to serve as an instrument in developing human potential (Eisner, 1976). The Getty Center has been a driving force in the reform of art education, therefore many states have modeled their art programs after it. Research studies, like those conducted by the Educational Research Service (1995) and Dr. James Catterall of Americans for the Arts (1988), supported the notion that experience in the arts leads to expanded imagination and creativity (Cawelti, 1995). Treating the arts seriously in teaching and learning is necessary for the acquisition of knowledge and skill; in addition "it leads to the application of understanding from the arts to other subjects and to a way of living" (Cawelti, 1995). Catterall also found that the arts served as motivation for academic success and instruments of cognitive growth. Of the four disciplines of art education, the aesthetics component has met the most resistance from teachers. It is possible that because aesthetics is rooted in philosophy, teachers do not feel comfortable interjecting aesthetic lessons into the classroom because they themselves do not fully understand the discipline or its benefits. However, several reasons for the integration of aesthetics in the visual arts classroom have been determined in the writings of educators. First, the difficulty with the performance-oriented approach to art education is that it does not allow for much growth in students that are not talented or fail to persist (Broudy, 1976). An approach which emphasizes appreciation for the historical and perceptive, contexts of a piece of artwork yield students who are lifetime viewers of art and their environment (Broudy, 1976). Practitioners also suggest that the addition of aesthetics to a balanced curriculum in art is a "significant way of fostering a reflective and meaningful engagement in the study of art (Stewart, 1994). It might be argued that .the higher thinking skills learned and used in art classes are applicable to the work students might do after they finish high school (Stankiewicz, 1996). The inherent transfer value of an approach rich in helping students make connections between what they are learning and how that knowledge might be applied in other situations cannot be dismissed. Thirdly, adding aesthetics to the visual arts curriculum pushes a student into a realm most likely not explored in any other classroom. Through aesthetic inquiry, according to aesthetician Marcia Eaton, students begin to search for the answer to "What is art?" and "start identifying the richer moments of their lives" as aesthetic experiences (1990). Lastly, the National Standards do not offer aesthetics as an option. Visual arts teachers and arts teachers in general should be implementing aesthetics into the classroom in order to be compliant with these standards. The researcher, though trained under a DBAE philosophy, has experienced frustration when trying to implement aesthetics into classroom activities in an attempt to align her curriculum with that of the State of Ohio and the National Standards. Therefore, the researcher wanted to survey teachers about their experiences with aesthetics in the visual arts classroom


Art teachers Ohio Attitudes, Aesthetics

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