Essay about Adult Arts Learning

Essay about Adult Arts Learning

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Adult Arts Learning

The motivations and objectives of both providers and participants in adult arts learning are diverse. Adult educators seeking to foster transformative learning invoke the role of imagination in developing new perspectives; they view the arts as a way of engaging adults in imaginative exploration of themselves and their relationship to the world (Dirkx 2000; Kazemek and Rigg 1997). In adult literacy education, analysis of paintings and poems can be a means of developing visual and linguistic acuity, critical thinking, and aesthetic judgment (Dreybus 2000; Kazemek and Rigg 1997). Greene (in Elias, Jones, and Normie 1995) speaks of aesthetic education as a form of critical literacy to empower people to read and name their world.

For prison inmates, the arts can be a route to reconnecting with learning, developing interpersonal and reasoning skills, and exploring different value systems. For example, drama workshops in a prison literacy program draw on learners' experiences, involving them in role playing to reinforce literacy practices and helping them reinterpret their experiences metaphorically (Kett 2001). Another approach to the arts as experiential learning is the Duke University business school's Leadership and the Arts course (Alburty 1999). The program equates leaders and artists in that both know how to coach, encourage, take risks, innovate, inspire, and express a vision; both use the capacities of emotional observation and critical judgment.

Intergenerational arts projects foster the development of communication and reflection skills and formation of new perspectives about oneself and others. Apol and Kambour (1999) used dance and writing with elders and adolescents to engage both verbal and ...

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... Adult Basic Education 7, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 131-144.

Kett, M. "Literacy Work in Wheatfield Prison, Dublin, Ireland." Journal of Correctional Education 52, no. 2 (June 2001): 63-67.

Lomas, C. M. "Art and the Community: Breaking the Aesthetic of Disempowerment." In Dance, Power, and Difference: Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Dance Education, edited by S. B. Shapiro, pp. 149-169. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1998.

McDaniel, N., and Thorn, G. Learning Audiences: Adult Arts Participation and the Learning Consciousness. Washington, DC: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Association of Performing Arts Presenters, 1997.

Williams, D. The Social Impact of Arts Programs. How the Arts Measure Up: Australian Research into Social Impact. Working Paper 8. Comedia (UK), 2000. <>

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