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Discussions about the state of arts education often focus on the experiences, emotions and technical skills of artists, rather than the critical function of the arts in society, stages of cognitive development or evidence-based research into arts participation. Arts Education Beyond Art calls for a new artistic and pedagogical consciousness focused on art's cognitive and social processes rather than the qualities of the artistic artifact.
The contributors to this volume (composers, professors, administrators, theorists, artists, actors and writers, among others) argue that art education should be embraced as a social practice; instructors have to teach students to look at life with and through art, and not the other way around.
People and societies thrive on a versatile and imaginative awareness. Yet the critical debate on arts education is still too often about the qualities of artefacts and technical skills, and tends to neglect issues such as the critical function of the arts in society, artistic cognition and cognitive development, changing artistic and cultural practices, and research into arts participation.
Therefore it seems time for a change in perspective, shifting the focus from the qualities of artefacts to those of embodied cognitive and social processes. Arts Education Beyond Art argues that education of the arts, both for children and adults, should focus on the qualities of the processes generated by the artistic artefacts, and on these artefacts as means to an end. Instead of teaching how to look at art, we should teach how to look at life - through art.
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