Why encourage children to learn about and create art? Why should communities invest in art programs? While children undeniably relish participating in all types of arts activities, as demonstrated through the imaginative visual, literary and performance projects they create, involvement in the arts also teaches children skills that are applicable to all aspects of life. In his book The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Elliot Eisner describes 10 of these skills.
- The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
- The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
- The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
- The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
- The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.
- The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
- The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
- The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
- The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
- The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA
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