Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Arts Education: Theorists and Theories

As a qualifed visual arts teacher, and someone passionate about the arts and education, I am interested in the theories behind artistic practise and creative knowledge development. By examining the many and varied ideas behind chrildrens' developmental stages, a foundation is provided for tailoring effective and efficient pedagogy and curriculum. (However having said that, I am not trained in Early childhood nor do I think I need to be to gage the average ability and capability of 2-5year olds). Syllabus and curriculm guidelines assist in planning anyway.

So whether you teach early childhood or senior, having background knowledge of theories and theories will make you a richer teacher. Here is a list of Theorists and a description of their theories about art and education:
  • Vygotsky
  • Halliday
  • Berstein
  • Lowenfeld
  • Eisnor
  • Gardner
  • Piaget
  • Erikson
  • Kolberg.

The following information is my summations from the information I have read and researched.
 You can find the detailed version here, Childhood Development and Art document. This information is for students and educational purposes ONLY and can not be distributed, published or passed off as your own.
Theory: Stages of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget was not a psychologist but a developmental biologist interested in observing the abilities of young children; studying their actions linked to interpreting their thinking and non-verbal forms of communication. Piaget was concerned with analysing how cognition changes over time as a result of a child’s interactions with people, places and objects, thus constructs the child’s knowledge from experience. His concern was for language and thought but also accounted for physical, emotional, perceptual and individual factors. 

Theorist: KELLOGG (1969, 1979)
Theory: Stage by Age

Rhoda Kellogg over 20years collected drawings from over one million children across the United States and other countries between the 1950s and 1970s. She analysed the drawings and concluded there are 20 stages  of ‘scribbles’ which form a child’s graphical, pictorial and non-pictorial foundation for creative development. 

Theorist: LOWENFELD & BRITTAIN (1987)
Theory: Stages of Artistic Development

Victor Lowenfeld, a professor of art education, and Lambert Brittain built on Kellogg’s theory of artistic development, however were more interested in a linear approach of creative and mental growth of a child through to adolescence. They considered aesthetic, social, physical, intellectual, and emotional growth reflected in children’s art and concluded children move through the 5 stages; scribble, preschematic, schematic, dawning realism, pseudorealism and the period of decision/crisis as they matured not necessarily reflective of their age.

Theorist: GARDNER (1983, 1991)
Theory: Developmental Phases - 8 Intelligences

Howard Gardner is an American psychologist known for his theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner’s interest was with the mental association of creative development. He theorised that creativity has needs during three developmental phases which influence one’s ability of spontaneity into adulthood.

Theorist: KINDLER & DARRAS (1979, 1994)
Theory: Multimedia Modes
Anna Kindler and Bernard Darras integrate the two ideas of physical and cognitive growth with social and cultural learning as a mode of artistic development. They suggest that children do not lose their approaches to art production as Lowenfeld and Brittain suggested but incorporate their knowledge and revisit it as they need it throughout their life. Kindler and Darras’ model of artistic development illustrates modes of behaviour rather than specific ages or stages of growth. For example, creating with an unfamiliar medium could result in a child or adult reverting back to an exploratory mode, using random gestures of mark making to experience the material. Once they are confident in their experience, a more detailed and graphic approach is employed. The model focus moreso on the process rather than the product produced by the child, examining the child’s movement and what the child says as they involve themselves in the creative process. Kindler and Darras put forward their theory that ‘art production is a multimedia blend of graphic, verbal and kinaesthetic communication that reveals the child’s thought processes’ (Koster, p. 63). 

Theorist: ERIKSON (1956)
Theory: 8 Stages of Development
Erik Erikson was a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development. His stages of psychological development reflect successive challenges from infancy to adulthood. Erikson’s theory was conceived through extensive experience in psychotherapy ranging from various socio-economic backgrounds and age groups up to adulthood. His Eight Stages of Development theory suggests that every stage consists of a crisis to be faced, and it’s the resolution humans surmount that results in our development. He also suggests that each stage is like a foundation which requires the former to satisfactorily be accomplished to move onto the next. 
 *Note that taking aspects from each theorist is best practice.*

I am very passionate about art and education and I hope this information makes it clearer for anyone interested or studying it.



  2. Thanks for your comment -I am glad I could help (make sure to paraphrase and interpret into your own words).

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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