Commentary - The Case for Humanistic Curriculum: A Discussion of Curriculum Theory Applied to Art Education

Jeffrey L. Broome

Abstract


In this article I explore what role art education might play in fostering caring and sensitive relationships and experiences for children, in some small way paving a path for a more harmonious society. I first describe systemic, academic, humanistic, and socially reconstructive curricular theories, and apply these theories to trends that have dominated art education over the last six or seven decades. In consideration of the recent accentuation on individual competition in U.S. schools and increasingly frequent reports of violence, bullying, and outbursts of public vitriol, I make an argument for a renewed emphasis on updated versions of humanistic curricula in art education as a way to nurture students’ social and emotional learning. I recommend the implementation of instructional units based on humanistic themes, the use of cooperative and collaborative group activities, and the willingness of art teachers to adopt caring personas with their students. In conclusion, I reflect on how humanistic curricula can be blended with other strategies in a comprehensive fashion, recognizing that such approaches do not offer a cure-all, yet urging art educators concerned with similar societal issues to adopt the humanistic orientation and practices outlined within the commentary.

Keywords


humanistic curriculum; curriculum theory; art education

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