Stanford professor passes, a great loss
When I entered college in 1972 Elliot Eisner’s book Educating Artistic Vision had been recently published. It was used as a text in one of my Foundations of Art Education courses and provided a basis for looking closely at what I was considering spending my career doing. I remember it fondly and I plan to go to the attic this weekend and find that text just for a walk down memory lane. I am sure that some of you have memories from your teacher training days and Dr. Eisner or perhaps another researcher?! If so, please share a comment.
One piece that I love that Eisner wrote is about, not just visual art, but all the arts.
Ten Lessons the Arts Teach
The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.
The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children 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.
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.
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, Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.
The entire National Art Education Association community is saddened by the loss of our dear friend, mentor and leader, Dr. Elliot W. Eisner, 81, of Stanford, CA, on January 10, 2014. Elliot served as President of NAEA from 1977 – 1979 and is renown for his work in art education, curriculum reform, and qualitative research. His vision, intellect, and generosity of spirit will be celebrated at the 2014 NAEA National Convention in San Diego as we remember Elliot and his widespread influence. The family requests that memorial gifts be made to NAEA’s Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award, established in perpetuity by the Eisner family and NAEA, recognizes individuals in the field of art education who have made a sustained and significant contribution to the field through their work as a teacher, lecturer, or artist-including those who work in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and colleges and universities.
Find out more about the Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award at