Importance of the Arts
Arts education has always appeared to be a contested field. Many arts tutors have argued that the subject should be in the school syllabus by emphasising its role in students’ ethical and individual personal development (Lemon & Garvis, 2013). The arts as a subject are perceived central to the idea of education being about understanding of love and learning to obtain a relevant knowledge. It is no coincident that the arts are usually linked with the thought of being educated. Hence, a knowledgeable person is believed to be concerned or involved in the arts (Plourde, 2002). Twentieth-century German theorist Ernst Cassirer assessed the importance of the arts as follows: science gives humans order in thoughts; morality gives humans order in actions; art gives humans order in the anxiety of visible, substantial and perceptible appearances (Stone, 1996). A better education includes a better arts education, introducing children and young people to have literature (novels, poems and short stories, plays), dance, visual arts, music and film. How a school focuses on the arts may be a subject for discussion, which relies on the expert teachers to have knowledge about arts. Yet, a school is still dedicated to introduce children to the most relevant forms of art in the curriculum.
In late 1980s, arts experts from the United States and the United Kingdom created the discipline-based arts education (DBAE) as a method of describing what should be integrated in an arts syllabus (Garvis & Pendergast, 2010). Rejecting the previous importance on self-expression and child-centred education, DBAE involves four different integrated areas of arts around skills and art making, chronological knowledge, visual understanding and crucial judgement, with the objective of helping students to learn to imagine like artists and art opponents do (Bamford, 2004). A visual-arts syllabus might seek, therefore, to develop skills in, and knowledge of, a variety of art techniques, including line, colour, text and form.
Importance of Different Art Forms
This section provides a discussion of four different art forms, such as art painting, art sculpture, photography and computer arts.
Art Painting: It is focused on creating pictures by using colours to a surface. Paintings can trace events as well as capture a picture of a person, place, or item; notify stories; decorate walls; and demonstrate texts (Bamford, 2004). An art painting can communicate emotions and ideas, or merely be enjoyed for its extensive qualities. Approximately 20,000 years ago, early humans used charcoal and minerals as coloured powders to construct images on cave walls (Tosun, 2000). Sometimes the colour powder was mixed with the saliva or animal fat to form a liquid, which was derived through reeds, or used with fingers. The first paintings were considered to depict hunting scenes.
Art Sculpture: This art form represents the division of the visual arts, which operates through three different elements, including a form of the artificial arts. The durable sculptural method originally used statues or figures (the removal of material) and forming (the addition of objects, as clay), in rock, metal, ceramics, wood and other substances (Rice & Roychoudhury, 2003). A wide range of materials may be used by removal, such as carving, accumulating by welding, forming, or transmitting. An art sculpture in stone exists far better than works of art in fresh materials, and frequently represents the bulk of the surviving art works (other than ceramic) from antique cultures (Martinello & Gonzalez, 1987). However, certain traditions of sculpture in wood may have been misplaced almost exclusively.
Photography: Visual impact cannot be undervalued – it is the very fundamental nature of creativity. Creative media, art photography, video and web links represent the best method to a familiar life without really being there (Falk & Dierking, 2013). In the business environment, whatever it is that they can do or work with, it is significant for companies to rapidly and efficiently communicate what they do in a way that connects with their audience. Art photography makes remembrance of special events and valuable moments dramatic (Dinham, 2011). Photography can be able to rewind time and presents a strong recall effect by looking at photos.
Computer Arts: The use of computers arts is steadily established in many science fields and subjects. This part of art and design is considered to be exciting and energetic, with new IT technologies constantly developing, allowing the advancement of new methods to communicate and mix different art and design art forms (Dinham, 2011). Understanding and keeping up to date with the transforming technological needs of the art industry is important in order for students to be flexible, adjustable and employable (Hein, 1998). It is vital that students engage with new art technologies and advance the skills, knowledge and consideration that are necessary to communicate ideas successfully in a highly economical, technical and pioneering sector.
Contextual Description of the School
The school for which the lesson plans on teaching creative arts are created is a primary school located in Fort Worth, Texas. It presents a realistic and relevantly structured art curriculum that targets the learning needs of students from grades 3-6. Learning through creative arts has been perceived as a proper way to encourage integration of students’ cognitive, emotional and sensory potential (Chomley, 2005). The main approach adopted by the school is based on active participation in the arts. Learning experiences in the arts refer to broad aesthetic experiences, constant creative engagement in different art tasks and development of adequate skills that allow students to express themselves in a distinct, creative manner. Students have a prior experience in learning arts, which serves as a strong basis for introducing relevant art concepts and principles (Dean, 1994). As a result, the school is committed to providing an art program that suits students’ learning needs.
Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the program is to foster students’ awareness of the importance of creative arts, which reflects in their social and emotional growth. Experiences in the arts would allow students to use their full potential to contribute to their local community and to society as a whole. Participation in the arts, as an approach used in the process of teaching the art lessons, can expand students’ horizons in numerous ways (Caston, 1980). The major objective that can be achieved with this program is to help students learn about diverse artistic practices. In addition, young individuals have a relevant opportunity to learn that they are part of a living, dynamic and constantly evolving culture. This assumption is important to strengthen their view and interest in the arts. Students can be encouraged to interpret different art forms and concepts creatively and critically (Garvis, 2010). This would eventually demonstrate a strong focus on their imaginative and innovative potential that they can realize in practice through specific art forms.
The first lesson plan presents the topic of art appreciation. It is intended for grades 3-6 from the described primary school. It has been assumed that students have a prior knowledge of certain art forms, mainly paintings and photographs. The main objective to be achieved with this lesson is to foster students’ understanding that every individual tends to demonstrate a different opinion or attitude toward the idea of what constitutes good art. As part of teaching strategies for this lesson, the teacher needs to use reproductions of artworks created in different styles. Moreover, the teacher should present to students a set of different shapes, including heart and house. In the beginning of the lesson, it is important to put art prints in front so that students can see them. Then, each student is given a different art shape, as they should be encouraged to explore the images in details. The shapes they are given serve as indicators of like and dislike regarding their own perception of the art prints. There should be a relevant discussion on the reasons behind students’ selection. Learning strategies are quite abstract considering the specificity of the lesson. Students may discuss certain cultural values as related to the process of perceiving and interpreting different art forms.
The second art lesson to be taught is intended for students of grade K-2 from the identified primary school. The topic of the lesson is presented as primary hands, implying the use of portfolio assessment as a major teaching strategy. It is expected that children can obtain a significant knowledge of the primary colours in the process of making primary colour handprints themselves. Practical materials needed for this lesson include markers, crayons, white drawing paper, scissors and glue. The introductory stage of the lesson is dominated by a discussion of the three primary colours, respectively red, yellow and blue. Students need to be taught to grasp this basic concept in art. When students are ready to follow the practical part of this lesson, the teacher provides them with a white drawing paper so they can trace their hands on the paper. Another step of the teaching strategy is to request the students to colour the printed hands in primary colours. Moreover, students need to glue their hands on the construction paper as well as cut out the handout. In this way, they learn an essential practical art skill of making different shapes and colours. The use of students’ portfolio assessment allows the teacher to focus on learners’ progress because it is monitored in a structured way-from beginning to end.
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