Art and Cognition: Integrating the Visual Arts in the Curriculum / Edition 1

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807742181
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 6/14/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Uneasy Connection Between Art and Psychology 1
2 Artistic Development in Cognitive Developmental Theories 14
3 The Cognitive Revolution and Conceptions of Learning 52
4 Cognitive Flexibility Theory and Learning in the Arts 82
5 Obstacles to Art Learning and Their Assessment 107
6 Imagination in Cognition 133
7 The Arts and Cognition: A Cognitive Argument for the Arts 156
Notes 173
References 179
Index 189
About the Author 201
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2003

    Art builds a curriculum architecture

    This is an important book that has already been a great help to me in my development as an educator. Efland builds a rationale for the necessary integration of arts learning in general education curriculum. Efland's effort stems from his belief that works of art require a particular rigor of intellectual inquiry to make meaningful sense, and become of value to the learner first and foremost because they are context-bound creations. Consequently, works of art may be understood as personally relevant artifacts only when they are understood in their interconnectedness with social forms and personal experience. Efland boldly takes us then to where the positivist bias in the human sciences will not allow us to go-toward the proposition that reductivist and scientific methodology is not 'the only way to procure reliable knowledge' (p. 5). Efland's aim draws upon an architectural metaphor: to 'build a foundation for lifelong learning inclusive of the arts' (p. 6). According to Efland's thesis, this all becomes possible assuming that one pictures the mind as more than a hierarchical repository of logical-scientific symbolic structures, more than reservoir of enculturated symbols mediated by parents, peers, and knowledgeable adults. Rather, Efland portrays a mind flexible enough to employ different strategies appropriate to the mastery of understanding in pre-packaged, generalizable, and well-structured domains of knowledge as well as ill-structured, broad and complexly fragmented arrays of knowledge. The mind is able to integrate the variety of knowledge domains and arrays into coherent and purposeful maps and models of the world. Ultimately, the book purports the mind's imagination to be the most flexible and integrative of all the symbol-processing tools at our disposal, powerfully formative and capable of 'creating new ideas or images through the combination and reorganization of previous experiences' (p. 133). The imagination can acquire other cultural tools such as language, mathematics and works of art and then utilize them in continually reshaping an individual's lifeworld in accommodation to the dispositions of the learner, also described as the learner's 'habits of mind' (p. 118). Learning and the creation of new knowledge may thus be preceded by imaginative, even artistic, purpose and development. Efland's point is that through the arts, learners discover that irregular and ad hoc transferences between a work of art and one's lifeworld are both conceivable and tenable as an extension of knowledge. A mind can thus made, remade, unmade, and made over; it is never finished. It has no certain form and every possibility. Not relying upon conventional curriculum architecture, Efland seeks a fresh approach to general education born of a process melding conventional learning exercises with the sculptural sensibilities, the dialogic engagement of the senses and materials that is inherent to aesthetic experience. Efland's suggests that educators utilize key works of art as landmarks for cross-disciplinary and cross-social learning, that we recognize the role of metaphor and narrative in providing the basis for 'an imaginative reality.' Efland understands the purpose of the arts as being contributive to the embodiment of 'the myths that bind human social systems together' (p. 171), and as an essential tool in furthering the exercise of human development. It is a bold integration and a great read!

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