Is beauty an archaic spirit in education?

Cannatella, Howard (2006) Is beauty an archaic spirit in education? Journal of Aesthetic Education, 40 (1) . pp. 94-103. ISSN 0021-8510 [Article]


This article discusses the unfashionable and taboo idea that beauty matters. A sign of the esteem in which beauty is held can be gauged by the fact that so few articles significantly address any conception of beauty in education. Yet outside a purely educational regime, matters are treated somewhat differently albeit confusedly. In contrast to a virtual silence on this issue, a defense of beauty is modestly made in this article - one that claims that education is considerably ineffective without beauty and would be a poorer and unjust system of practice if beauty were merely seen as an irrelevance, a distraction from the serious stuff of management practice. What is broadly pursued is an attempt to portray an educational praxis that involves the suggestion that an active being in the world is someone who shows themselves to be in some exhortation of its beauty. An attempt is made to map out a few of the reasons why the sense of beauty is an important condition of being, a position few educationalists, so the arguments go in this article, can choose to take lightly. In what can be seen at times as a rather tasteless, aggressive, and doctrinaire educational climate, an education that is culturally alive and buzzing with the sounds, smells, images, rhythms, freedoms, play, knowledge, and rationalities that accompany and are inseparable from social and individual existence at intimate levels of being can revitalize teaching practice in more sensitive and magical ways. By exploring some of the reasons why we should not desensitize ourselves to beauty in education, it is possible to counter-argue for a greater retention and conviction of this experience. My supposition is that beauty as a poetic force should be regarded as one of the defining characteristics central to pedagogic practice. In making this claim I draw upon a few of Charles Dickens's and William Wordsworth's ideas in support of the importance of beauty in education.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
ISI Impact: 1
Item ID: 2614
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Mrs Sue Black
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2009 09:52
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:14

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