Eisner SIG Newsletter

May 2016

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Elliot Eisner SIG

The purpose of the Eisner SIG is to promote scholarship that applies, extends, critiques, and reinvents Eisner's scholarly contributions and core principles towards the overarching aim of school improvement.

Message from the SIG Chair

Dear Eisner SIG Members,

It was a pleasure to meet all of you in Washington, D.C. last month! Our SIG sessions were well-attended and I think you will agree with me that we learned a lot from our presenters, who included the following:

  • Kathryn L. Shively, Ball State University
  • Aaron Samuel Zimmerman, Michigan State University
  • Derek Gottlieb, University of Basel
  • Valerie J. Janesick, University of South Florida
  • Liora Bresler and Kimber J. Andrews, University of Illinois
  • Miriam Leah Gamliel and Laya Salomon, Yeshiva University
  • Merrie Koester, University of South Carolina
  • Jehanne Beaton, University of Minnesota
  • Erica Rosenfeld Halverson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • David J. Flinders, Indiana University
  • Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa, who delivered an invited address at our business meeting

Also, a special thanks to the Elliot Eisner leadership team who includes Christy McConnell Moroye, Bradley Conrad, Valerie Janesick, and Jodie Wilson. A great deal of work goes into sustaining the Elliot Eisner SIG and I am personally grateful for having the opportunity to work with such a great team.

In addition to the AERA venues, we also participated in joint sponsoring an arts reception, which was held at the Hillyer Arts Space. We hope to continue working yearly with the following SIGs to make this happen: Arts & Learning, Arts-Based Educational Research, and Arts & Inquiry in the Visual and Performing Arts. My thanks to the leadership of each.

The Eisner SIG continues to enjoy growth; we've had a number of new members in the last 6 weeks alone. We are deeply grateful for your loyalty over the last 2 years, and ask for your continued support as we enter our third and final year as a SIG-in-formation. Additionally, I hope some of you will consider running for a leadership position. We will soon be seeking a chair, secretary, and treasurer. Be on the lookout for more information soon.

Best Wishes,

Bruce Uhrmacher

Professor of Research Methods and Education

Morgridge College of Education

University of Denver

Elliot Eisner SIG Chair

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Images from Our Sessions

Embodied Art: Transformative Learning and Pre-Service Teacher

by Jane E. Dalton, University of North Carolina and Kelly A. Hrenko, University of Southern Maine

How can pre-service and in-service educators offer systems of embodied art in order to motivate and enhance learning outcomes for all students while creating communities of caring and inclusion? In a recent paper exploring a model of preparing pre-service teachers through the practice of embodied art, our research demonstrated inclusion and equity of all students through transformative art-based processes. Different than traditional arts integration models that aim to strengthen teaching and learning by using the arts as a tool for extending content knowledge, embodied arts offer pre-service teachers transformative experiences to design and implement meaningful, rich and socially engaged curriculum. This embodied model releases art from the traditional role of serving as a handmaiden to content and instead empowers art as the pedagogy from which content is learned. Transformation in this work positions art as a critical process in learning, not a product.

We purport that by redefining the role of art in schools, essentialized notions of all content areas in schools will need reexamining. In the repositioning of art away from a product solely based on an isolated content area and into a pedagogical practice, we are theoretically redefining all content areas from isolated subjects areas that are often pitted against each other, into merged ideas of knowledge and understanding. Theories of embodied art offer unlimited potential in school application and treatment. However, this paper will further define just one possible layer of embodied art, using theories and processes specific to the practices of care that are rooted in receptivity, relatedness, and responsiveness (Noddings, 2005).

Through a curriculum of caring and embodied art experiences, pre-service teachers can create curriculum that is sustainable, culturally relevant, and critically charged in order to engage in transformative teaching and learning with their students. “The arts are attempts to understand both the common (experienced by most or all) and profound (of great seriousness and significance) aspects of what it means to be human” (Stevenson & Deasy, 2005 p. viii). Creating learning environments where children can translate their thoughts about their experiences using the arts expands their capacity to learn and grow emotionally and cognitively.

To truly prepare pre-service teachers for the demands of the profession, it is essential therefore, to demonstrate the profound significance of interdependence between self, other, thought, and feeling as an embodied art. To create transformative learning experiences for both pre-service teachers and the future students they teach requires revamping traditional notions of arts integration and instead recognize the interconnectedness of art as embodied learning.

Stevenson, L., & Deasy, R. J. (2005). Third space: When learning matters. Washington,

DC: Arts Education Partnership. p. viii.

Noddings, N. (2005). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to

education. New York: Teachers College Press.


Jane Dalton, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Art Education, University of North Carolina- Charlotte. Dr. Dalton’s research interests include teacher renewal, contemplative pedagogy, and social-emotional learning in classrooms using the arts. She is the co-author of The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons That Nurture Empathy and Wisdom (2004).

Kelly Hrenko, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Art Education, University of Southern Maine. Dr. Hrenko’s current scholarship is within the field of integrated arts and multimodal creative literacies. She uses her position as a teacher educator in the visual arts as a place where several intersections occur; between art and culture, community and school; and interdisciplinary education.

Newsletter Contributions

Would you like to contribute to the next Eisner SIG Newsletter? We'd enjoy hearing how you are applying, extending, and/or reinventing Eisner's scholarship. Please send submissions to Jodie Wilson.
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