The concept of dialogue is one that is rarely applied in art education. The attitude prevails that teachers of art know what is best, that students are ignorant of "real" art, that student aesthetic experiences are trivial or worthless, and so they, the teachers, settle for a curriculum and teaching approach that reaches less than 5% of the students. The remaining 95% plus are regimented in activities less meaningful than Trivia Pursuit or are ignored altogether. Dialogue is not one sided. For knowledge to take place, the learner must have access to meaning and meaning cannot be handed down like so much information. Knowledge results from dialogue; it is not a possession to be bestowed on others. In a dialogue, the sender muse receive feedback affirming that the message received was the message sent. The receiver is responsible for this feedback at whatever level and in whatever context the message was received. The receiver then becomes the sender for the feedback is now the new message. Unless the original message has meaning in context to the receiver, the feedback is without meaning. A parroted response does not indicate that the receiver has translated information into knowledge. In the following paper, the problem of dialogue in elementary and secondary art programs is addressed. The position argued is that changes can be made. Ritualistic, rule-governed "School Art" at the elementary level and fine art oriented studio processes and dogmatic aesthetic exemplars at the secondary level will yield to teachers who care about children, their world, their art, and their learning.


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