The Kind of Schools We Need: Personal Essays
Grades K - 12
"Education without the arts would be an impoverished enterprise." So says award-winning author Elliot Eisner, an internationally renowned authority on how the arts can be used to improve education. In a long and distinguished career, Eisner has given eloquent voice to the concerns of those who decry the marginalization of the arts in school curriculums. Now, for the first time ever, readers will have access to his best essays in one concise volume.
The Kind of Schools We Need reviews Eisner's ground-breaking theories on aesthetic intelligence-theories that have helped us rethink the connections among art, literacy, research, and evaluation. A full section devoted to cognition and representation explains how the process of education expands and deepens the kinds of meaning people have in their lives. Schools must therefore help children learn to encode and decode the many forms of meaning they encounter, be they visual, auditory, linguistic, kinesthetic, or mathematical. It is precisely because those meanings are often expressed through the arts, that Eisner believes the critical methods employed in the arts have broader educational relevance. That relevance is explored in a section entitled "Rethinking Educational Research," which examines how the arts can be used to study, understand, and improve educational practice.
In an era when school reform movements are sweeping the nation, Eisner's organic or "ecological" approach is more cogent than ever. He discusses this approach in detail in the final section of the book, "The Practice and Reform of Schools," making problematic beliefs about the utility of fixed and uniform standards in a nation whose schools serve fifty million students. It is fitting, then, that with The Kind of Schools We Need, teachers, school administrators, and scholars will find a connection to one of the most influential thinkers in education today.
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The Celebration of Thinking
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