Volume 1, Issue 1, 2005
This article explores transfer of learning in the arts to non-arts learning. The analysis is presented in the context of theories of knowledge acquisition more generally. Behavioral and neuro-function processes are discussed.
Crossing high bridges offers the opportunity to ponder views from a distance: to see connections between places at the ground level or ideas that are familiar, and to capture an overview of places or ideas that are yet to be explored. The purpose of this essay is to explore the figural bridges that connect the arts with cognitive development and the neurosciences. More precisely, the essay considers the role that visual images and sounds play in early life and in the arts, then turns to neurological understandings of cognitive development, and finally focuses on these bridging relationships to teaching about the arts. More broadly, this essay is part of the author's effort to create a framework for understanding the social construction and neurological organization of cognitive development.
The first view explores our human attraction to visual images in response to the environment and to the arts. This view considers prehistoric, early historic, and recent examples of humankind's contructed visual images. A second view explores our response to sounds in the environment and sounds associated with the arts. The connections that link our auditory perception with our visual memory are also given consideration. Music and literature serve to illustrate the significance of these auditory-visual connections. A third view explores neuroscientists' discoveries of how our brain processes and integrates the information we take in, and considers the contribution of the neurosciences to our understanding of cognitive development. A final view from the bridge explores the potential contribution of the arts toward enhanced cognitive development. This view is framed in terms of future research and an analysis of the implications for those who teach the arts.
This article examines the origin of ArtsBridge America, a K-12 school/university arts education partnership. It also summarizes findings from a research study on the effect that ArtsBridge participation had on a sample of university arts students. The study indicated that the transition from student to teaching artist required transformation of abstract procedural knowledge into a more flexible and fully assimilated performance capacity that could be adapted to a wide variety of situations. In addition, ArtsBridge helped university students move from a focus on the individual (self) and domain (arts) to a larger social/cultural sphere (field). Findings indicated that important interdisciplinary connections could be made, mentor relationships developed, and a nurturing environment for the development of creativity built through ArtsBridge program activities.
Wayang and Gamelan as a Tool of Cultural Learning: Indonesian Puppets, Dance and Music in the Classroom
ArtsBridge is an ideal venue for sharing cultural information at the same time that K-12 students are exposed to exciting creative experiments in the arts. UCSC professor Kathy Foley talks about the use of puppets and dance to promote cultural learning and discusses how UCSC Artsbridge America Scholar Ben Arcangel used his teaching assignment to teach Indonesian dance in a largely Chicano school in the Wastsonville area.
In 2002, the University of California, San Diego ArtsBridge America program initiated a project that was designed to address the lack of standards-based geography content and culture-based arts instruction within San Diego elementary schools.
Picturing Peace is an ArtsBridge collaboration in which K-12 students learn to use digital cameras to communicate their feelings and ideas about peace. The photographs of three student cultures were analyzed. Both local and universal symbols of peace were found, such as nature, light, community, environment, peace signs, play, spiritual symbols, diversity, body and innocence.