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ERIC Number: EJ916334
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Seeing a Bigger Picture: The Visual Arts
Sandell, Renee
Principal Leadership, v11 n7 p48-54 Mar 2011
To foster learner focus and deepen engagement while embracing contemporary standards for teaching art and other subjects, teachers must help students more fully understand art images, objects, and events, present and past, so that they can understand the relevance and significance of art in their lives. Using a balanced approach that attends equally to the form, theme, and context of an artwork can help learners create as well as discern layers of meaning in visual language, as revealed in the following equation: Art = Form + Theme + Context (Sandell, 2006). This article describes the Form+Theme+Context (FTC) methodology, which provides a balanced, interdisciplinary, and meaningful approach to art that deepens learner engagement in encoding or decoding artwork. By using the FTC methodology, art teachers can rebalance traditional art theory in which modernism emphasizes form, post-modernism emphasizes theme, and visual culture emphasizes context. Further, the FTC approach also correlates with contemporary education reform's emphasis on rigor, relevance, and relationships. Those three Rs are pertinent to deepening the power of arts learning through FTC when students focus on the rigor of skill and structure (form), understanding and establishing meaningful relationships (theme), and appreciating significance and relevance (context). (Contains 2 figures.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A