In early years, children learn through experience. Education in these years is based on games and role playing, such as playing kitchen or shopping are great examples. It allows children to explore and interact with their environment. Games as such, introduce children to real life social and human settings, and they prove to be very efficient. As years pass by, subjects such as chemistry and biology are meant to achieve the same objective (Dewey, 1998).
While early school education preserves the social and human aspects, traditional scholastic education, departs from them into a more objective intellectual type (Dewey, 1998).
If any scientific subject were taught through real life experience, as Dewey (1998) mentions, learning would become more effective. This is possible as we live surrounded by science, from the light we use, to the roads we drive through. Instead, traditional education approaches sciences in an abstract way within a setting that does not allow exploration of ordinary life experiences and interaction with them.
This way of looking at education is in line with Art Education explained by Holzer (2005), where education should aim to explore possibilities, new ways of seeing, hearing, feeling the world, in order to discover new meanings. Education through arts, which is through music, dance, architecture, juts to mention some, students use their prior experience and integrate them to their work of art that are not used as ends in themselves, but as a mean for education, to teach other subjects. Cognitive skills such as perception, cognition, affections and imagination are involved (Holzer, 2005).
In traditional education, teachers represent in some cases a dictator, and students are restricted in their interaction with the social, human and environmental elements of the world. Thus, there is no room for some skills to be developed such as the ones mentioned above (Dewey, 1998). Through Art Education, the educator’s role is to accompany and guide each student who according to their experiences will find new ways of discovering the world around them. It provides a vehicle for students to grow, develop their minds and use their past experiences to learn about science and be innovators, creators, and more.
In Aesthetic Education, students learn how to contemplate; they have the freedom to integrate their past experiences, which shape the way they see the world and those works of art. They use their imagination, their perception. They develop their freedom as well, not in a restrictive way, but enlightened by and guided by their educators. They are able to use arts and the skills the cognitive skills they learn through it, to apply it to sciences, and become innovators, entrepreneurs, creators.
Art Education allows students to interact with their environment, observe contemplate, through the eyes of their already lived experiences. Integrating all these, real knowledge and learning can happen. From a scientific perspective, they are more able to discover new cures to disease, to create new architectural buildings, from the perspective of music, new symphonies. And the list can go on and on. Ultimately, Art Education integrates real life, allowing education to happen, to bring to life knew knowledge.
Holzer, M. F. (2005). Many layered multiple perspectives: Aesthetic education in
teaching for freedom, democracy, and social justice. In N.M. Michelli & D.L. Keiser
(Eds.), Teacher Education for Democracy and Social Justice (pp. 131-148). New York
and London: Routledge.Dewey, J. (1998). Experience and education. West Lafayette, IN: Kappa
Dewey, J. (1998). Experience and education. West Lafayette, IN: Kappa Delta Pi.