Arting and Writing to Transform Education
This book presents an integrated approach to the education of children that teaches them how to see and describe their world – both the natural world around them and their own culture and identity – through linking the media of art and language, considered as parallel creative-expressive processes of arting (representation in visual images) and writing (representation in words). The work presents conceptual background and practical materials developed in a collaboration by two Hawai‘i elementary teachers, one with a doctorate in Education from the University of Hawai‘i (Anna Sumida) and one an Education Design Specialist (Miki Maeshiro), and a well-known Hawaiian artist and educator (Meleanna Meyer). This team of three authors, who evolved their curriculum ideas and instructional activities over several years teaching at the Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu and in community education programs throughout the state, merges interests and expertise in literacy and culture, art and science in a pedagogy that is culturally and ecologically responsive and that bridges across different areas of knowledge and skill. Their goal is one of transformative education based on the combined power and synergy of arting and writing processes.
The authors use their own personal stories to illustrate what it is like growing up outside the cultural mainstream and how empowering it is to feel a sense of one’s own identity, capabilities, and place in the world. The conceptual background they provide in Part I suggests how the learning of bodies of knowledge and practical skills in school can be raised to a higher level of exploration and personalized learning that leads to a situated and empowered sense of self, through arting-and-writing projects which center on local ecology and culture and on students’ own lives and interests. Part II describes arting and writing processes in detail, focusing on commonalities and offering what amounts to a series of chapter by chapter mini-tutorials on the stages artists and writers go through in evolving their work, each one culminating in a reflection on how arting and writing processes can work together and be mutually reinforcing. Part III provides two extensive multi-lesson units, complete with objectives, lesson plans, and printable exercise sheets given in appendices. These units illustrate the authors’ integrated arting–writing approach as applied in the Hawaiian context and as can be adapted for use in elementary and middle-school classes in other contexts. Hawaiian ecology and stories about the land offer illustrations of how teachers can integrate learning in students’ home language and culture with mainstream English language and culture. Further illustrative lesson material shows how students can explore their own cultural identity as connected to family and place through arting and writing activities.
The book is inspirational in content, suggesting an approach to educating children that will be enjoyable to teach and will engage learners in many ways and help them realize their full potential. It is also visually inspirational, richly illustrated in color with examples of student work and the work of artists and teachers, including that of the authors themselves.
Published: Nov 1, 2018
I support the authors in bringing to the attention of a global audience the creative approach to classroom practice that they have set out in this book.
From the Foreword by Sir Sidney M. Mead
[The authors] are educators in the best sense of the word because they draw forth what is most vibrant and desirable in students/teachers/community – and that is the love of learning. This in turn creates the kind of meaning that transforms and teaches us to know ourselves. Here is the purpose of life, and the point of education that seems to have been misplaced with standardization, uniformity, and the commodification of knowledge.
From the Foreword by Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer, University of Hawaiʻi