chapter  3
14 Pages

Influences on teaching the arts

The boys in the art class are all concentrating intensely. Each of them holds a piece of

chalk in his right hand and is carefully drawing the contours of a leaf. Occasionally they

glance up so that they can accurately replicate the example on the board drawn by the

master. Each drawing is identical. They are all doing well in the task because they have

spent many hours previously copying straight lines and geometric figures on their slates.

In another art class the teacher has provided a general subject matter for the work but in

this mixed group each individual is painting a personal interpretation in vivid colours. At

the back of the class is a display of work from previous lessons, bright, varied, imaginative

and rhythmical. These two lessons are summarised from Macdonald’s (1970: 352) The

History and Philosophy of Art Education where they are depicted in photographs. The first,

taken in 1901, shows ‘Freearm drawing’, which was introduced on a national scale in

1895 by ‘The Alternative Syllabus of the Department of Science and Art’. The second

lesson from c. 1945 came after the introduction of what was called the ‘New Art

Teaching’. What factors arose in the intervening years to influence the change in

approach?