Measuring the impact of the arts is never easy. However, Elliot
Eisner of Stanford University, one of the premier scholars
on arts education today, has identified
Ten Lessons the Arts
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
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
circumstances 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 nor
numbers define 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.