Cohen, Elaine Pear & Ruth Straus Gainer. Art: Another Language for Learning. 1976
Art: Another Language for Learning is basically a guide for teachers, parents, and any individual who is working with children in an education environment. Cohen and Gainer relate real life experiences inside the classroom, relating to art and offer a really basic educational philosophy and psychology reasons behind the situation. They make it a point that art is a natural language that all students are drawn to. It offers a path of non verbal communication which can offer clarify and inspire (Cohen, 1979, p. 89).
“The Significance of Children’s Art”
Response: This was an interesting chapter because it really related how important children’s art is. While the majority of the chapter focused on art within the classroom and in learning environments it was the application of student art within the school setting that was most interesting to me. I liked the idea of using real student art to decorate schools and walls. The use of student created murals which seems to give light and life to areas of the schools that were otherwise ignored or forgotten. I really enjoyed the relating of real life classroom experiences because they are real and I feel like I can learn a lot of from real situations with real people that might not always end in the perfect way (Cohen, 1976, p. 1- 15).
“The Art Process in the Classroom”
Response: Cohen and Straus do a good job of really breaking down the process of art in the classroom and outlining exactly what a teacher needs to do to include art in their lesson planning. Many times books say a teacher should implement a particular concept however they offer no real practical advice in how to do that. Cohen and Straus offers examples of teachers who are doing amazing things with art in the learning environments. It was certainly very educational and inspiring to read. I felt that I could start adding aspects of art into my lesson planning today (Cohen, 1976, p. 30-56).
“The Nature of Children’s Art”
Response: This was an excellent chapter with dealt with analyzing children’s art. I think it is important to be able to look at a piece of created student art and be able to pick up the signs of what that student is trying to communicate. Cohen and Straus cover all aspects of the nature of children’s art include color choice, art style, symbolism, and even relate the signs an educator should look for in troubled students. Often art can reveal personal struggles that young students cannot properly verbalize (Cohen, 1976, p. 65-78).
“Integrating Art with Other Subjects”
Response: This chapter related stories which dealt with teachers of core subjects which utilized art within those topics. One of the most interesting stories related were those by a math teacher that taught math as a inquiry based subject and art was a regular part of his lesson planning. He comments that students that considered themselves bad at school and particular bad at math, excelled in his class because the focus was not just on math. Art allowed a path to these students teachers do not always utilized. Math suddenly became accessible to these students and these students became accessible to the teacher (Cohen, 1976, p. 84- 90).
“Some School Problems and Prospects”
Response: Art is often the first subject to get cut from a school budget because it is not tested on state tests, it has very little influence on school funding, or comparison of school achievement. However, like sports for athletes, art can be a major reason students show up and participate in school. It becomes a safe haven for students who just want to be good at something. Just because art is no longer a class does not mean that school’s can make it a point to keep art alive in the classroom (Cohen, 1976, p. 100-105). .
Cohen, Elaine Pear & Ruth Straus Gainer. Art: Another Language for Learning. 1976. N 350.C54