Yesterday was just one of those really awesome days and I feel the need to share. I started my day off handing out drawing supplies to really cute children at the RISD Museum, preparing them for all of the drawing activities going on in the museum for the Big Draw. There were some phenomenal things going on and I was really excited to see what everyone was creating. I was really sad when I had to leave early to go to my part-time job at the mall. But it turned out to be a good day at American Eagle. Not only did I win two free pairs of shorts thanks to the ongoing contest among the employees, but I also got to assist a kid with his Make A Wish shopping spree.
Listening to the panel discussion after the Alive Inside premiere on Saturday at the Rubin Museum, I was disappointed to learn that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities were refusing to endorse Dan Cohen’s iPod Project (see previous posts below) because they couldn’t fund the project.
And why not? Used iPod shuffles cost as little as $49 a piece; these patients’ daily medication cost is usually much higher than that simple one-time purchase. Nope, that isn’t the issue. The problem is that these institutions would not get reimbursed by the government for endorsing this program because the impact could not be measured effectively. By effectively, they meant in numbers, in statistics that could prove the program worked.
Never mind the documentary film just released, which documented these patients awakening from their unresponsive and depressed states. Never mind that someone who had been using a walker for two years put on headphones and danced on her own. Never mind that this project opens doors to people’s souls in ways that medication never will.
Which got me thinking - isn’t this what always happens with art programming? With arts and music in schools? Why is qualitative evidence inferior to (often skewed) quantitative evidence? How long before government officials will understand that the benefits of arts education might not be able to represented purely in numbers and symbols? When will people finally understand the benefits of arts programming by listening to people’s stories? Isn’t it time already?
That’s one of our biggest challenges as art educators, and we will be tested time and time again. We need to argue for the effectiveness of qualitative research, and fight hard. Who’s with me?!
I’m with you Liz! I’m having issues trying to qualify my theories with more than generalities and restatements of ideas. If I can’t make the argument in my thesis, how can I make the argument to teachers, school administrators, and the general public?
Graduates from RISD’s department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design have been challenged to define our pedagogical stance through a unique and unexpected visual metaphor. We are allowed to explain our metaphor in 85 words and two accompanying images. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly my pedagogical stance is, but I think I am coming close to my general idea. Here is my first attempt at explaining my pedagogy in exactly 85 words:
I seek to recontextualize the history of objects as a series of present, lived moments to engage students in historical research, discovery, and learning. As an educator I want to create occasions for students to consider objects not as stagnant, well-preserved things, but rather as a mode through which we can critically analyze the past and the present. It is my belief that meaning is ever changing and learning can become most significant when constructed through questioning and manipulating context to form new interpretations.
How does your understanding of the past influence our actions in the present or future?
How does looking at the past help us understand the present, and plan/predict the future?
Why is history important to me?
What is heritage?
How am I influenced by my culture (e.g., family traditions, peer values)?