10 lessons the arts teach

Lesson 1

The arts teach children to make GOOD JUDGMENTS about qualitative relationships. Unlike most of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

LESSON 2

The arts teach children that problems can have MORE than ONE solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

LESSON 3

The arts celebrate multiple PERSPECTIVES. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to SEE and INTERPRET the world.

LESSON 4

The arts teach children that in problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.

LESSON 5

The arts make VIVID the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can KNOW. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our COGNITION.

LESSON 6

The arts teach students that SMALL DIFFERENCES can have LARGE EFFECTS. The arts traffic in subtleties.

LESSON 7

The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which IMAGES become REAL.

LESSON 8

The arts help children LEARN to say what can’t be said. When they are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them FEEL, they must reach into their POETIC CAPACITIES to find the words that will do the job.

LESSON 9

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.

LESSON 10

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. National Art Education Association.

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