ERIC Identifier: ED329490
Publication Date: 1990-12-00
Author: Zimmerman, Enid
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science
Education Bloomington IN., Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for Art Education
Teaching Art From a Global Perspective. ERIC Digest.
In global education programs, emphasis on commonalities shared by all
peoples and at the same time understanding and appreciation of differences
within various cultures and subcultures may provide strong rationales for
those who wish to teach art in a social context. Global education should
not be viewed as a discipline with particular content or subject matter,
rather it should be seen as an approach to the study of culture that can
focus on international concerns or those related to study of students'
own local communities.
To prepare students to be citizens in a global age, educational efforts
need to be undertaken to bring about changes in content, social context,
and methods through which cultural values are taught. Anderson (1979) described
these changes in terms of social context as moving from (1) a mono-national
context to a multinational context; (2) a mono-cultural context to a multicultural
context; and (3) a school-bound context to a community-involving context.
In this Digest, art teaching is discussed from (1) multinational, (2) multicultural,
and (3) community-based contexts, and (4) as part of global education.
TEACHING ART IN A MULTINATIONAL CONTEXT
A few projects and programs developed in the United States during the
past decade encompassed multinational, multicultural, or community contexts
as integral to establishing a pluralistic method of teaching art. Of the
three methods described by Anderson (1979) for teaching social concepts
in global education, the one related to teaching in multinational context
has been least developed in the field of art education. One example, WORLD
VIEWS THROUGH THE ARTS, had the goal of demonstrating "the interconnectedness
of one's life, one's society, and major concerns such as the environment
and how these affect our future choices" (Hough & King 1979, 3). This
project includes readings from primary sources and art activities organized
around themes such as people's needs to create from different cultural
perspectives and different ways cultures respond to change. Although the
visual arts are not the sole focus of WORLD VIEWS THROUGH THE ARTS, this
project presents a viable example of how to internationalize art curricula
without making arts study instrumental to other subject areas.
TEACHING ART IN A MULTICULTURAL CONTEXT
Anderson's second method of teaching from a social context, multicultural
education, had its roots in the 1960s and early 1970s when the civil rights
movement influenced educational policies in regard to racism and schooling
that led to many reforms, including multicultural education programs.
In the past decade, a few multicultural art projects have ranged from
a teacher preparation program to prepare in-service and pre-service teachers
to teach students from three cultural backgrounds (Rodriguez & Sherman
1983), to a large school district curriculum project in which art was one
of a number of curricula areas incorporated into a multicultural approach
to education (Los Angeles 1981), to a traveling museum exhibit that featured
similarities and differences between Tibetan and Indiana (U.S.) culture
at about 1900 (Clark & Zimmerman 1985). Multicultural education art
programs and projects in the past decade have been sparse at best. Art
education textbooks that focused upon cultural pluralism and multicultural
art education reached a zenith in the late 1970s and have been almost absent
since, although the issue of cultural pluralism is not dormant among art
A notable exception is ART EDUCATION AND MULTICULTURALISM (Mason 1988)
in which qualitative methods of research are employed to develop both a
conceptual basis for curricula design and art programs that explore issues
related to multicultural teaching. A continuing contribution since 1983
to research about multicultural art education is the JOURNAL OF MULTI-CULTURAL
AND CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH IN ART EDUCATION from the United States Society
for Education through Art (USEA). Interest in the issue of multicultural
art education is evidenced in a renaissance in the field of art education
as demonstrated by an increasing number of presentations about this topic
at the 1990 National Art Education Association (NAEA) meeting in Kansas
City, Missouri, and the newly instituted NAEA multicultural resource register
that will collect and facilitate exchange of resources concerning multicultural
programs and projects.
TEACHING ART IN A COMMUNITY-BASED CONTEXT
Anderson's (1979) third method of teaching in a community-based social
context is evidenced in a few art programs that take art beyond the walls
of classrooms and emphasize teaching cultural and aesthetic values. Young
(1985) described an art program, conducted in a community center and operated
by volunteers, to improve and supplement African-American students' art
education. Classes were conducted as a workshop and discussions in which
students learned about Afro-American art and history and created art products
based on these experiences. In addition, students from a university art
education and art therapy program attended a seminar to help develop art
curricula that emphasized studying art works from different groups in their
community, exploring alternative methods of teaching visual arts, and understanding
the cultural and historical background of these various social groups (Blandy
& Congdon 1988b). Artists, educators, and community leaders from different
ethnic groups were featured speakers and workshop leaders.
Several community-based art education programs have taken place in museums
and local art galleries. Blandy and Congdon (1988a) conducted research
based on an exhibit they coordinated in which members of a local fishing
community worked together to identify common aesthetic values and helped
curate an exhibit in which functional objects such as boats and fishing
paraphernalia were presented for public viewing. Blandy and Congdon recommended
developing exhibits to attract new audiences in which art is part of social-cultural
contexts and related to the lives of people who view them. Parkash and
Shaman (1988, 43) claimed that museums have been silent too long about
ethical and social issues and that museums should meet the challenge of
educating people about contemporary problems and concerns. Art should not
simply be presented for its own sake, they contended; art must be presented
so that viewers "gain insights into local and global issues." They advocated
using the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) model that advocates socially
responsible public choices based on understanding a new type of literacy
created by science and technology. STS programs, such as studying an urban
habitat and exploring anthropological photography, go beyond exposure to
aesthetic or cultural artifacts and invite viewers to engage in solving
problems related to their local and world-wide communities.
EDUCATING ART STUDENTS GLOBALLY
Art educators who wish to teach from a global perspective are presented
many problems and few solutions. In order to promote what she considered
cultural literacy, Boyer (1987, 91) researched development of art students'
"skills in critical dialoguing and decoding of their own cultural assumptions."
As a means of educating art students globally, Boyer created a program
for developing cultural literacy that encouraged students to take an active
role in their learning, have concrete educational experiences, and examine
their own cultural experiences and beliefs. After conducting a number of
research studies about art teachers and students from diverse cultural
backgrounds, Stokrocki (1988) concluded that motivation, classroom behavior,
student/teacher interaction, and evaluation were four instructional variables
that can be manipulated to facilitate art learning. Nadaner (1985) suggested
that art teachers use art criticism to decide what objects should be included
in an art curriculum and use ethnographic methods to decide what aspects
of their students' sub-cultures and the core culture should be emphasized.
Nadaner (1984) stressed the need to use sociology of art and social criticism
to study certain subjects, such as sex and violence in the media. Art making,
he believed, could be reconceived rather than abandoned within a social
context by expanding the range of subjects students choose to portray,
creating a classroom culture in which political issues are discussed, and
having students include critiques as integral parts of their art work.
Most writing about global issues and art education is presently at the
advocacy level; it is now time to build a body of scholarship both in theory
and practice. Boyer (1987) noted that it is necessary to develop a body
of research about cultural literacy using phenomenological methods, social
historical methods, cross-cultural perspectives, and projections into the
future. A great amount of literature exists related to study of the psychology
of the individual, but there is a dearth of sociological research related
to art and aesthetics or the interrelatedness and interdependence of sub-groups
within the core culture.
Sletter and Grant (1987), in a study of over 100 publications related
to multicultural education, found that teaching resources were not plentiful
and tended to be only separate lessons. Infusing global education into
art curricula will necessitate creation of model programs and courses of
study that are not only complete, but demonstrate the use of scope and
sequence across grades. Art teachers cannot be expected to have in-depth
knowledge about the many different cultures in their communities; to be
knowledgeable about all cultures throughout the United States and the entire
globe is virtually impossible. What is needed are practical materials for
teaching as well as financial and emotional support from school administrators,
community leaders, teacher educators at university levels, government policy
makers, and private foundations.
In 1977, McFee and Degge believed that both national characteristics
of people and their art and international trends should be studied in art
programs. Their concerns are viable more than a decade later. Art should
be studied in a context in which people are linked through their communities
and nations with people in other communities and nations throughout the
world. The next decade can become a time of celebrating all people's past
accomplishments in the arts and creating a future in which students gain
access to global knowledge and understanding in and through art.
REFERENCES AND ERIC RESOURCES
The following list of resources includes references used to prepare
this Digest. The items followed by an ED number are in the ERIC system
and are available in microfiche and paper copies from the ERIC Document
Reproduction Service (EDRS). For information about prices, contact EDRS,
3900 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22304; telephone numbers are
703-823-0500 and 800-227-3742. Entries followed by an EJ number are annotated
monthly in CIJE (CURRENT INDEX TO JOURNALS IN EDUCATION), which is available
in most libraries. EJ documents are not available through EDRS; however,
they can be located in the journal section of most libraries by using the
bibliographic information provided below.
Anderson, Lee. Schooling and Citizenship in a Global Age: An Exploration
of the Meaning and Significance of Global Education. Bloomington, Indiana:
Social Studies Development Center, Indiana University, 1979.
Blandy, Doug, and Kristen G. Congdon. "Community-based Aesthetics as
Exhibition Catalyst and a Foundation for Community Involvement in Art Education."
Studies in Art Education 29 (Summer 1988): 29-30. EJ 375 510.
Blandy, Doug, and Kristen G. Congdon. "A Multi-Cultural Symposium on
Appreciating and Understanding the Arts." Art Education 41 (November 1988):
20-24. EJ 383 043.
Boyer, Barbara A. "Cultural Literacy in Art: Developing Conscious Aesthetic
Choices in Art Education." In: Art in Democracy, edited by Doug Blandy
and Kristen G. Congdon. New York: Teachers College Press, 1987.
Clark, Gilbert, and Enid Zimmerman. "A Tibetan Pilgrimage: Exploring
the Arts of a Nomadic Culture." Journal of Multi-Cultural and Cross-Cultural
Research in Art Education 3 (1985): 44-50.
Hough, Lindy, and David C. King. World Views through the Arts. 1979.
ED 237 428.
Los Angeles Unified School District. Incorporating Multicultural Education
into the Curriculum. Grades Four through Eight. 1981. ED 231 905.
Mason, Rachel. Art Education and Multiculturalism. London and New York:
Croom Helm, 1988.
McFee, June K., and Rogena Degge. Art, Culture, and Environment: A Catalyst
for Teaching. Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1977.
Nadaner, Dan. "Critique and Intervention: Implications of Social Theory
for Art Education." Studies in Art Education 26 (Fall 1984): 51-55. EJ
Nadaner, Dan. "The Art Teacher as Cultural Mediator." Journal of Multi-Cultural
Research in Art Education 3 (1985): 51-55.
Prakash, Madhu Suri, and Stanford Sivitz Shaman. "Museum Programs: Public
Escapism or Education for Public Responsibility?" Art Education 41 (July
1988): 41-43. EJ 375 550.
Rodriguez, Fred, and Ann Sherman. Cultural Pluralism and the Arts. Washington,
DC: US Department of Education Ethnic Heritage Studies Program and the
University of Kansas, 1983. ED 232 795.
Sletter, Christine, and Carl A. Grant. "An Analysis of Multicultural
Education in the United States." Harvard Educational Review 57 (November
1987): 421-444. EJ 363 083.
Stokrocki, Mary. "Teaching Students from Minority Cultures." Journal
of Multi-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Research in Art Education 6 (1988):
Young, Bernard. "Visual Arts and Black Children." Art Education 37 (January
1985): 36-38. EJ 310 610.