Art Module Approach to Art Education
As you and your class proceed through the art modules, it is important to keep in mind the
philosophy behind the structure of the pages and activities, which are object-driven, rather than
based solely on inspiration for art production. This choice reflects our support of art education in the
schools as a discipline with its own content, theories, and skills. The museum staff has chosen a
modified Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) and object-based approach to art education in
its presentation of Web pages and in its activities for several important reasons.
Illinois State
Board of Education Goals for Fine Arts are written in language that reflects a discipline. (Ex:
"Through observation, discussion, interpretation, and analysis, students learn the "language" of the
arts.") Goal 25 supports the discussion and analysis of art through language(art criticism). Goal 26
supports the production of art. Goal 27 supports Art History and Aesthetics. (See the Goals for
standards for your grade levels.)
It is particularly fitting for a museum to
use an object-based and discipline-based
approach to art education because a
museum presents a collection of objects,
performs research on objects, and
educates about objects in its galleries, and
publications. Its art production activities
are based on original objects from the
collections and conversations with
visitors about art history, aesthetics, and
art criticism.
Students and teachers have questions
about art. DBAE provides a structure on
which to build guided explorations of
those questions and construct a
meaningful, personal, and informed
definition of what art can be.
Using a DBAE approach to teaching art encourages students to place studio production
(hands-on) decisions into a larger context. They become aware that art production involves
decisions that will have consequences in communication and meaning. They begin to place
their own work within the context of an art historical continuum.