Eisner, Elliot W(ayne) 1933-
EISNER, Elliot W(ayne) 1933-
PERSONAL: Born March 10, 1933, in Chicago, IL; son of Louis and Eva Eisner; married Eleanor Ann Rose, January 6, 1957; children: Steven, Linda. Education: Roosevelt College of Chicago (now Roosevelt University), B.A. (art and education), 1954; Illinois Institute of Technology, M.S. (art education), 1955; University of Chicago, M.A. (education), 1958, Ph.D. (education), 1962.
CAREER: Educator and author. High school art teacher in Chicago, IL, 1956-58; University of Chicago, Chicago, art teacher, 1958-60, instructor in education, 1961-62, assistant professor of education, 1962-65; Ohio State University, Columbus, instructor in art education, 1960-61; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, associate professor of education and art, 1965-70, professor of education and art, 1970—, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education and Professor of Art, 2000. Director of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation Curriculum Development Project, 1967-69; member of board of trustees of Community School of Music and Art, 1976-82; consulting editor of Curriculum Perspectives, 1981—; member of advisory board of J. Paul Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1984—; member of editorial advisory board of Kappan, 1995-2000; member of editorial advisory board of Just and Caring Education, 1995-2000; member of editorial board of Critical Inquiry into the Curriculum and Instruction, 1998—.
MEMBER: American Association of University Professors (president, 1975-76), National Art Education Association (fellow; president, 1977-79), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Educational Research Association (vice-president of Division B, 1981-83, president, 1992-93), International Society for Education Through Art (president, 1987-90), John Dewey Society (president, 1998—).
AWARDS, HONORS: Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award, American Educational Research Association, 1967; John Simon Guggenheim fellow, 1969-70; senior Fulbright scholar in Australia, 1979; Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, McGraw-Hill Companies, 1998; St. Clair Drake Award for Scholarly Achievement, Roosevelt University, 2000. Honorary doctorates from the University of Oslo (1986), Hofstra University (1988), and the Maryland Institute and College of Art (1989). Also received a Jose Vasconcelos Award from the World Cultural Council. The Educational Imagination was selected as one of the "Books of the Century" by the University of South Carolina's Museum of Education; Laureate, Brock International Prize in Education, 2004; Laureate, Grawemeyer Award, 2004.
(Editor, with David W. Ecker) Readings in Art Education, Blaisdell (Waltham, MA), 1966.
A Comparison of the Developmental Drawing Characteristics of Culturally Advantaged and Culturally Disadvantaged Children, Stanford University (Stanford, CA), 1967.
Stanford University Kettering Project Curriculum in the Visual Arts Productive for Elementary School Children, Office of Instructional Services, Department of Education, State of Hawaii (Honolulu, HI), 1969, 1972.
(Editor and contributor) Confronting Curriculum Reform, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1971.
Educating Artistic Vision, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1972.
(Editor, with Elizabeth Vallance) Conflicting Conceptions of Curriculum, McCutchan (Berkeley, CA), 1974.
English Primary Schools: Some Observations and Assessments, National Association for the Education of Young Children (Washington, DC), 1974.
The Arts, Human Development, and Education, McCutchan (Berkeley, CA), 1976.
(Editor) Reading, the Arts, and the Creation of Meaning, National Art Education Association (Reston, VA), 1978.
The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of the School Program, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1979, 2nd edition, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2002.
Cognition and Curriculum: A Basis for Deciding What to Teach, Longman (New York, NY), 1982.
The Art of Educational Evaluation: A Personal View, Taylor & Francis (London, England), 1984, Falmer Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1985.
(Editor) Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.
(With Alan Peshkin) Qualitative Inquiry in Education: The Continuing Debate, Teachers College Press (New York, NY), 1990.
The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1991, Merrill (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1998.
Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered, Teachers College Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor, with Doug Boughton and Johan Ligtvoet) Evaluating and Assessing the Visual Arts in Education: International Perspectives, Teachers College Press (New York, NY), 1996.
The Kind of Schools We Need: Personal Essays, edited by Lois Bridges, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 1998.
(Editor, with Michael W. Day) Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 2004.
Contributor to books, including Qualitative Research in Psychology (American Psychological Association, 2003) and the International Handbook of Educational Evaluation (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003). Contributor of over 300 articles to art and education journals, including Art Education, Kappan, and Royal Society of the Arts.
SIDELIGHTS: Dr. Elliot W. Eisner is a renowned Stanford University professor of education and art. He has conducted extensive research in the fields of arts education, curriculum studies, and qualitative research methodology, producing a mass of well-known works addressing issues within these fields. Throughout his research, Eisner has identified and extensively analyzed seven modes of thinking: aesthetic, scientific, interpersonal, intuitive, narrative and paradigmatic, formal, and spiritual. He has also named several key competencies being developed in art education. As stated in an Educational Leadership article, Eisner believes that students should be encouraged to "develop the perception of relationship, to make enormous visual reasoning by observing the details, to generate multiple solutions for a problem, to shift to alternatives, to make judgment, to visualize situation, to operate within the constraints of a medium, and to view the world from an aesthetic perspective." Art education is, Eisner affirms, essential for the development of these competencies.
Eisner has been writing on the value of the arts in education since the 1960s. After a shift in the 1970s and 1980s, opinions on appropriate curriculums for students have returned to a call for structure, and Eisner's original works combating this educational method have retained their pertinence and value. Many of his writings have been supplemented and republished, such as his famous work, The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice, in which Eisner attempts to explain the methods of qualitative research and how these methods are used within the arts and humanities. Eisner then further expands on qualitative research methods to show how they can be applied to the study of the classroom experience for a better overall education for students, such as in planned curriculums and well-formed educational goals.
Eisner again revisited a former work in the 1994 publication Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered. The original work, Cognition and Curriculum: A Basis for Deciding What to Teach, was based on a John Dewey Lecture, given by the author in 1980, that questioned the effectiveness of standardized curriculums and methods of evaluation. After its original publication, Cognition and Curriculum became a staple for education courses, but as standardized curriculums began to experience a return, Eisner saw fit to publish a revised version with two new chapters. In Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered, Eisner discusses curriculum and evaluation boundaries within education, advocating a leap away from the structured and standardized. He also discusses the need for the arts and humanities to rise to a level of academic consideration equal to that afforded to the mathematics and sciences. He also stresses the value of developing literacy of all fields within each individual student. The new material in Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered includes an analysis of the continuous attempts at educational reform that have failed since the publication of the original work, as well as both a rationale and solution for failed educational reform models.
In 1996, Eisner coedited Evaluating and Assessing the Visual Arts in Education: International Perspectives, a compilation of writings on art's correlation to education from prominent art and education authorities throughout the world. The book is divided into two main parts. In the first part, authorities discuss ways in which curriculum content and teaching methodology affect student outcome. The second part hones in on museum art education programs, especially on the reasons why it is difficult to evaluate such programs. The book is considered valuable because it represents an international—rather than national—collective perception on the role of art in education.
The Kind of Schools We Need is a collection of Eisner's sixteen best essays written throughout his career. As in his previous books, Eisner once again emphasizes the need for more expansive student cognition. Eisner relates how students' abilities to cognize visual, auditory, linguistic, kinesthetic, and mathematical forms of meaning can improve their lives beyond institutional education. He also explains how this can be achieved by utilizing different aspects of the arts. Writing in School Arts, Kent Anderson maintained that "the depth of Eisner's experience in and grasp of art education is apparent in every essay." Anderson also commented that "the centrality of perception in cognition is an underlying theme in much of Eisner's writing," stating that, for this and other reasons, every educational authority should own The Kind of Schools We Need.
In The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Eisner stresses the importance of including art education early on in childhood education, and of sustaining it throughout a student's education to enhance intellectual development. Eisner provides examples of ideal curriculums and sound teaching methods, emphasizing the process of such education rather than the result. He stresses that creating, criticizing, and evaluating artwork enhances a student's entire education, including those areas seemingly unrelated to art. Eisner believes that all areas of life are related to and can be enhanced by art education. Anderson also reviewed The Arts and the Creation of Mind, stating that through "insightful writing, Elliot Eisner provokes thought, delineates directions, and writes eloquently in extolling art education as a true curricular basis." Jean Caspers of Library Journal also reviewed the work, dubbing it an "eloquent book" and a "persuasive work."
"Education is an optimistic enterprise," Eisner told Jennifer Kavanaugh in an interview for Palo Alto Weekly. "If you're not optimistic, you should sell cars for a living. Education is like being a physician—you are working towards a better future."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arts Education Policy Review, March, 2001, John A. Stinespring, "Preventing Art Education from Becoming 'A Handmaiden to the Social Studies,'" p. 11.
Choice, October, 1993, review of Educating Artistic Vision, p. 249.
Curriculum Review, February, 1990, review of Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing, p. 30.
Educational Leadership, March, 1992, review of The Enlightened Eye, p. 91; November, 1997, "Educating for Tomorrow's Jobs and Life Skills," p. S4.
Educational Studies, summer, 1980; winter, 1991, review of Qualitative Inquiry in Education, p. 544.
Library Journal, December, 2002, Jean Caspers, review of The Arts and the Creation of Mind, p. 144.
Reference and Research Book News, February, 1998, review of The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice, p. 110.
School Arts, May, 1999, Kent Anderson, review of The Kind of Schools We Need, p. 56; March, 2003, Kent Anderson, review of The Arts and the Creation of Mind, pp. 56-57.
School Library Journal, December, 1991, Bud Wellington, review of The Enlightened Eye, p. 38.
Teachers College Record, summer, 1992, David T. Hansen, review of Qualitative Inquiry in Education, pp. 749-752.
Ball State University Web site, http://www.bsu.edu/ (March 13, 2003), "Dr. Elliot W. Eisner."
Center for Arts and Culture: Cultural Commons Web site, http://www.culturalcommons.org/ (March 2, 2004), Elliot Eisner, "Artistry in Teaching."
Heinemann Web site, http://www.heinemann.com/ (March 2, 2004), "Elliot W. Eisner."
Stanford University Web site, http://www.stanford.edu/ (March 13, 2003), "Elliot Eisner: Lee Jacks Professor of Education and Professor of Art," "The Faculty Appointed to Endowed Chairs," and "Faculty Publications and Awards."