Art's contribution to an education for our age
Merging what I saw as the essential elements from various sources I developed for myself a set of what I called Curriculum Connections for art. For me they are a concise set of aims that will target the development of a competency mindset of all the students taking my classes, not just the ones who would pursue art at the next level. Informed primarily by Eliot Eisner's 10 Lessons the Arts Teach, they act as a lens for my project design. They are, I think, what art can add to this conversation. According to Project Zero the jury is still out on whether skills learned in art class are directly transferrable to other academic areas, but I feel the introduction of these attributes will at least begin to help students make the connection.
Something I’ve been doing for the last several years is giving my students the choice of what we study. I give the class a menu at the beginning of the term and they rank by consensus the potential themes they would like to cover according to their interests. These major projects are augmented with mini-units for skill development as needed. As each project uses Form, Theme and Context as the basic principles, all units selected by the students help them develop the understanding of art they wish to acquire. I call this my Scope and Non-sequence.