Curriculum Development in Art Education

Alan Tomkins
1977, Vol. 10, No. 1,


In looking at some of the rationales of the Art Subject, the report 'Art in Schools •.Education Survey II', produced by Tom Keay and others at the DES in 1971, merits our attention today not so much as a work of major theoretical importance in art education, indeed as a collectively produced general survey the recommendations are extremely tentative, but more usefully because of isolated definitions of 'art' and the relationship of these definitions to particular types of educational institutions. The survey also requires scrutiny for its use of specific concepts, many of which are used without reference to their tradition; and the particular use of language. In reading this survey it rapidly becomes clear that it represents the bringing together of many minds, many pieces of knowledge and the lived experiences of individual teachers in particular institutions. This in itself makes the survey a valuable contribution to any ongoing definitions of art in schools. However, the more one examines this survey, the more clearly does one discern its authority to be less than neutral. The excessive 'reasonableness' of the work could easily lead many to make the mistake of supposing that in being described as a survey the work can be read as an impartial judgement of art educational ideas and practice of the 1970s. Whilst, balance and contrast is often maintained in isolated areas of comment, there is an overall attempt to unify and reconcile particular views into an overall rationale.

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