chapter
7 Pages

Introduction

The arts have a strong claim to be part of education. They enrich our understanding of

the world, challenge prevailing ideologies, widen our perspectives, engage and delight

us, and celebrate our humanity. Such claims are valid but in themselves do not add much

to our understanding of art and its proper place in education. They may induce enthusi-

astic assent from people who connect with them but to others they may sound like empty

rhetoric. They also leave many questions unanswered. Does all art function in this way?

Or is it just specific forms or works of a particular quality? Does art have a unique claim

to these aspirations? For example, does not science also enrich our understanding of the

world? Once we consider the more focused implications of seeing art as part of educa-

tion, a series of other questions come to mind. What should count as ‘art’ in school?

How do we judge whether what a child produces is good? Should we make such judge-

ments? Are some art forms more important than others? Do the arts improve academic

achievement? What does it mean to teach art? The central aim of this book is to contrib-

ute to our understanding of the arts in education by addressing these and a host of other

questions.