The role of artistic plan in problem solving
by Eliza Pitri , Art Education; May 2001
Art teachers, as well as early childhood teachers, often encounter situations where they need to justify the use of artistic and playful experiences in programs for young children. As Eisner(1990) points out, art and play, like imagination and fantasy, are not regarded as a part of the serious business of schooling. I view play, and more specifically artistic play, as an essential learning medium.
According to Sponseller(1974), this perspective is an affirmation of the positive contribution that play offers to all stages of life and all areas of development.
By the time children reach 4 years of age, they develop rapidly, without participating in any formalized learning programs. By that age and through play, they learn to walk, run, jump,hide,tease,talk,build, etc.
But at this time, adults often talk to children. Why don't we stop playing and study?
The purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of artistic play and its effects on children's thinking.
Play is regarded as one of the characteristic features of childhood, but there is no single definition of what it really is. It is an obvious commonplace behavior and this may dampen the interest of investigating it. Because it takes place everywhere, it is obvious and there is no need to discover it.
Playing has been considered a phenomenon stretching across a knowledge spectrum that includes biology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Because of its multidimensionality, it requires explanations from multiple perspectives, including the perspective of art educators.
Play is spontaneous and voluntary. It is not obligatory but is freely chosen by the player. It has no extrinsic goals, its motivations are intrinsic. Fun itself is intrinsic, and the yield is confined to the player. Anyone and anything that intervenes between the player and the play interrupts the fun and distorts his or her performance. Players are concerned with the process of an activity more than its results. Goals are self-imposed, and existing rules can be modified. Play occurs with familiar objects, or it follows the exploration of unfamiliar objects. Children supply their own meanings to activities and control the situations themselves.
Educational play is, indeed, serous in that the player is deeply absorbed in enjoyment. The role of the adult in children's play is not that of an instructor or entertainer, but rather of a friend, whose presence will insure the quality and appropriateness of the experience.
If the teacher manipulates the context of children's play without limiting their freedom of choice or controlling their spontaneity, then play can become educational and, as Sponseller(1978) calls it, a medium for learning.
- The process of artmaking for individuals of all ages in an inquiry activity of exploring and expressing ideas that reflect experiences by Sutton-Smith(1972)
-Artmaking is associated with the philosophy of creative play, which is based on the premise that the more our emotions are involved, the more sensory information we receive, and the more easily learning takes place. by Monighan-Nourot et al.(1987)
-What makes artistic play distinct from other forms of educational play is the classroom context in which children function. The development of artistic play requires specific physical settings, materials, and teacher's actions, which are related to aesthetic expression and inquiry.
-As Van Horn et al.(1990) note, the spontaneity with which children turn art into play does not mean that specific planning for art need not take place.
- The goal is to allow the children to make choices, communicate their choices through their play, and receive feedback from others.
Princess in the Rainy Forest project. : It is an example of motivating the children and proving them with resources to engage in artistic play. The teacher manipulated only the context of learning (tools, materials, settings), and the students freely chose to participate in playful process that involved reasoning and problem solving. (Symbolic play) Children had to decode the visual symbol of the puppet to perceive it as a princess and also respond to the language symbol of the rainy forest. (Prediction of events, Estimation of probabilities, Reasoning about cause and effect, Drawing conclusions about the nature of things.
After children encounter a problem, they form and test hypotheses. Hypothesis testing, an ability often tied to scientific thinking, in reality occurs in all forms of thought.
-Play is a vital ingredient of this context because the child is playing with ideas that are roughly at the level at which they can be assimilated. New evidence provided through play leads children to proceed with problem solving by either rejecting and rethinking their hypotheses or accepting them.
-Play allows for diverse interpretations of situations and multiple use of materials and therefore encourages cognitive flexibility in the solution of problems. Playful art activities offer children the opportunity to manipulate actual objects, act out the problem, and develop diverse solutions.
Myungja Anna Koh