Proposal: investigating methods of art appreciation taught at the elementary school level
Benway, Barbara Jean
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PROPOSAL: INVESTIGATING METHODS OF ART APPRECIATION TAUGHT AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL The purpose of the study is to investigate some methods of art appreciation currently in practice at the elementary school level. Many diverse methods and techniques are being used in the teaching of art appreciation programs throughout the elementary schools today. In some elementary schools the area of art appreciation appears to have been neglected almost entirely. While still in other schools excellent programs are underway. The results of this investigation may encourage teachers to improve upon their programs of art appreciation. There are many explanations for the lack of art appreciation being taught at the elementary school level today: (1) emphasis on an activity type program, (2) elementary classroom teachers have generally been unprepared to teach art appreciation, (3) appropriate explanatory materials to be used with pictures has not been made available, and (4) art appreciation study has often been delayed until the senior high school years. Generally it has been agreed that some art appreciation should be taught at all levels of the elementary school. A well balanced art program must be developed. This well balanced art curriculum must include an activity program as well as some appreciation In order to develop the aesthetic judgment of the elementary school child. The first step in the investigation was to read and review the vast amount of writing concerning the early and current methods of teaching art appreciation. This in turn led to the Investigation of art appreciation programs of five selected elementary school districts. The school districts chosen were located in five Chicago north and west suburban communities. Bach school district was a well financed district and each undertook all necessary steps to safeguard the education of the elementary school child. This investigation was carried on through personal interviews with each art supervisor within the school district. The findings of the study of five Chicago suburban elementary school districts clearly revealed that well developed art appreciation programs were being carried on in these districts. Many districts had a written course of study which included the art appreciation program. The development and evaluation of the art appreciation program was clearly the responsibility of the art supervisor. This responsibility included the sending of a rotating exhibit of reproductions among schools and also for making arrangements for field trips to the Chicago Art Institute. The study further revealed that although the development of the art appreciation program was the responsibility of the art supervisor. It was generally the art teacher or classroom teacher who undertook the actual teaching of the art appreciation lessons. Approximately thirty minutes per month or more was spent on art appreciation lessons at all grade levels, kindergarten through 8th. The art appreciation lessons were frequently correlated with other subject matter. At the conclusion of an art appreciation lesson, little or no testing was undertaken in these five school districts. The art supervisors agreed generally that budget allowances were adequate for the purchase of art aids. The most frequently used aid was the large colored reproduction. Colored slides* movies and original works of art were also used. The art aids were representative of the contemporary artist as well as from the earlier period. These were used interchangeably at all grade levels. The choosing and purchasing of the art aids was usually the responsibility of a committee rather than one individual. Most of the art supervisors interviewed reported a change in their art appreciation programs over the past five years. It was apparent throughout the investigation that these art appreciation programs were the product of enormous study, change and evaluation. These art appreciation programs are still undergoing some study and re-evaluation at regular intervals.