UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Basic concepts for art curricula development in neo-calvinistic education Dykstra, Gerry


In this study a comparative evaluation of several views on art education that include social concerns is presented. These are expressed as concern for the aesthetic qualities of the contemporary man-made environment, the artistic heritage of the nation, the cultural values of ethnic and social groups and the moral responsibility of the individual in society. Views of four North American art educators are examined in relation to their concepts of society, education and art. In this examination emphasis is given to the identification of the different aspects of human experience such as the cognitive aspect, the linguistic aspect, the social aspect, the aesthetic aspect and the moral aspect. Because all these aspects of human experience relate to the objects of the man-made environment, the author presents an analysis of individual things and their functions in the context of human experience from the perspective of Neo-Calvinistic philosophy. Some fundamental concepts, basic to this philosophy, are conveyed in a historical survey that includes the development of Neo-Calvinism in the Netherlands and North America. The analysis of individual things is presented in terms of Dooyeweerd's theory of modal structure. This theory is part of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea, which was developed during the nineteen thirties and formed a major role in the development of a Neo-Calvinistic philosophical movement. In this theory it is argued that the aesthetic aspect functions in relation to all things, but that this relationship is not the same in every case. The primary function of each individual thing determines whether the aesthetic aspect has a subordinate or leading role in the object. Proceeding from this theory it is posited that art education in Neo-Calvinistic schools incorporate two different art curricula; a "free-art" curriculum that focuses on those objects in which the aesthetic aspect has the leading function, and another curriculum, called a "bound-art" curriculum, that stresses the study of the aesthetic aspect in subordination to the other functions of objects. The theory of modal structure also applies to the different social groups of society. Each group has its own primary function. This function gives direction to the aesthetic aspect of the individual objects belonging to the group. The social concerns in Neo-Calvinistic art education therefore are presented within context of the leading function of the different groups in society. The implications of the modal structure and the views of the art educators convened in this study are mentioned throughout the presentation of this thesis.

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