The aesthetics of asian art: The study of montien boonma in the undergraduate education classroom

Journal of Aesthetic Education 40 (2):67-82 (2006)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:The Aesthetics of Asian Art:The Study of Montien Boonma in the Undergraduate Education ClassroomMary Ann Maslak (bio)John Dewey, in his Experience and Nature, expounds on the developmental nature of human experience premised on the concept of qualitative propinquity—the integration and harmonization with the environment exemplifies the essence of experience. This principal line of reasoning shapes his fundamental argument in Art as Experience, one of Dewey's most significant educational works used today.1 In it he argues that the roots of experience lie in the commonplace occurrences in the course of human life. The integration of the meaning and value drawn from previous and present circumstances results in an "experience," which, in turn, constitutes a foundation of learning for the individual. Dewey's ideas are not only appropriate but also useful in the field of education. In what ways may future teachers experience art? How does the experiential process of examining art contribute to future teachers' pedagogical tools that can be used to incorporate art into the elementary school classroom?This article demonstrates how an experiential study of a work of art in an undergraduate education course—part of the St. John's University/Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCIAE) Higher Education Collaborative program in New York City—contributes to the pedagogical repertoire of process-based learning for teachers and their future students. The article begins by providing a theoretical background for the work, followed by the definitions of three concepts that are pertinent to this piece: aesthetic education, the experiential approach to learning, and process-based instruction.2 The article then focuses on the specific aims of the university's arts course, the LCIAE Partnership Program, and data and analyses from the process-based aesthetic learning for the students enrolled in the course. It ends with conclusions about aesthetic education. [End Page 67]Theoretical BackgroundAssuming the sociocultural nature of learning suggested by Dewey demands consideration of the layers of experience, it is necessary to discern the learners' emerging thoughts in light of various experiences. As a teacher, I subscribe to this belief and wanted to note how I could employ scaffolding practices to the aesthetic education learning experience for my undergraduate students. I aimed to accomplish this goal by scaffolding aesthetic experiences for students from their personal points of understanding, the university's classroom setting, and the context of museum exhibitions.Scaffolding instruction has a lengthy and persuasive history that provided the underpinning for my approach to the course.3 The intent of scaffolding is to help a learner undertake a task or goal that is beyond the learner's present level.4 Effective scaffolding encompasses a number of key features within cognitive and emotional domains.5 Cognitive elements include (1) selecting challenging activities for students; (2) monitoring their efforts; (3) using guiding questions to develop self-regulation; and (4) using indirect questioning strategies to extend and enhance the learning experience. Emotional support includes (1) structuring experiences to discourage frustration and encourage confidence; and (2) creating an atmosphere of comfort. While not all these features are applicable to scaffolding activities in an art education course of a university's teacher education program, I was mindful of their importance in structuring this course.Given that this course was my undergraduate students' initial exposure to aesthetic education, scaffolding served as an appropriate systematic pedagogical approach. In the words of Maxine Greene, aesthetic education is an intentional experience "designed to nurture appreciative, reflective, cultural, participatory engagements with the arts" by enabling the student to observe, analyze, and interpret meaning.6 In other words, it is the interactive study of the nature and expression of beauty. It seeks to enhance perception and affect, cognitive development, and personal growth by assuming that works of art provide an inexhaustible resource for exploration and reflection by the learner and an understanding based on the cultural context in which the artwork was created. Greene's philosophy, developed from the work of Dewey, posits that understanding a work of art is based on the active connection to and association with the piece. Therefore, the approach to its study is of the utmost importance.The experiential approach to learning is a...



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Citations of this work

Dewey's aesthetics.Tom Leddy - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Embracing resistance and asymmetry in pre-service teacher aesthetic education.Miriam Hirsch - 2010 - Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 9 (3):322-338.

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Experience and Nature.John Dewey - 1958 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 15 (1):98-98.

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