ERIC Number: ED328511
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
"Whose" Content, Context, and Culture in Elementary Art and Music Textbooks? Elementary Subjects Center Series No. 23.
May, Wanda T.; And Others
An analysis and critique of two elementary textbook series: "Discover Art" by Davis Publications and "World of Music" published by Silver Burdett & Ginn are presented. "Whose content, context, and culture?" is an ideological question that assumes that equitable social relations and diverse ways of knowing ought to be valued and fostered in classrooms and curriculum materials in a democratic society. While this question deserves to be asked of any subject area's curriculum material, it is a crucial one for the arts. First, there is little evidence of analysis/critique of existing materials within the disciplines of art and music. Second, contemporary discourse in discipline-based art education (DBAE) recommends equitable treatment of production/performance, aesthetics, history, and criticism and more explicit attention to sequencing content in arts curricula. (Both of the above series claim to do this.) Finally, little research in art and music education has been conducted in the natural setting of classrooms to study how curricular content and materials are used or socially mediated. Two theoretical frameworks guide the analysis: (1) From a critical sociological perspective, texts are viewed as guiding or constraining the construction of meaning, and often this construction reflects the interests of a dominant social group (class, gender, race, or culture)--particularly when the texts are used uncritically as expository, authoritative texts. What is possible in textbooks and schools partially depends on connections between schooling and its structures to economic, cultural, and political power in a larger sociopolitical context. This is one reason, for example, why textbooks look more alike than different across subject areas; (2) From the perspective of mediation, the text is viewed as another "participant" in instruction (rather than authoritative object) because teachers and students impose their own meanings on texts, and these meanings are derived from their past experiences and social relations in the classroom. Thus, neither teachers nor students are viewed as passive recipients of others' texts. Neither the curriculum nor the subject matter is to be found only "in the text." Both perspectives, however, suggest that knowledge is socially constituted and produced. Both acknowledge how and why particular ways of knowing may be mutually produced/reproduced in light of other possibilities. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.; Center for the Learning and Teaching of Elementary Subjects, East Lansing, MI.