Teaching & Learning In/Through/With the Arts
The standardization of both curriculum and assessment within the most recent education policy reforms and the current academic “push down” of formal curriculum to the early years give little recognition to the dynamic and complex processes involved in children’s learning. Although there is increased interest in arts integration and multiliteracies across content areas, art largely remains a curricular space that is perceived to be about self-expression and that requires little to no instructional guidance (Thompson, 2007). In our final section, Teaching and Learning In/Through/With the Arts, the contributing authors provide examples that highlight multimodal approaches to teaching and underline the power and possibilities of the arts in young children’s learning.
Our first selection, Art Education at Bank Street College, Then and Now, by Edith Gwathmey and Ann-Marie Mott, takes readers through the history of art education at Bank Street College to show the innovative and child-centered approaches that continue to challenge dominant educational thinking. The second essay, Sophie Rudolph’s Theorising through Visual and Verbal Metaphors: Challenging Narrow Depictions of Children and Learning, takes issue with current education policy in Australia. Through a rich description of how young children use drawing to express their emerging understandings of the world, Rudolph disrupts narrow definitions of the child as learner. In our final essay, Time for a Paradigm Shift: Recognizing the Critical Role of Pictures Within Literacy Learning, Beth Olshansky broadens the definition of literacy with the help of children’s drawings and conversations. She shows how the social practices of literacy are enacted in and through the visual.