A Philosophy of Art Education: Practicing Taoism as a Way to Teach Creativity and Response to Art

Submitted by James Miller on Wed, 05/14/2014 - 16:40
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TitleA Philosophy of Art Education: Practicing Taoism as a Way to Teach Creativity and Response to Art
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWolf, A.
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2010
PublisherSimon Fraser University (Canada)
Place PublishedAnn Arbor
ISBN Number9780499231628
Keywords0273:Art education, 0318:Religion, Art education, Education, Philosophy, religion and theology, Religion, Tao te ching, Taoism, Zen

This thesis concerns practicing Taoism as a way to teach creativity and response to art. The Tao is the ground of being, the root from which the 10,000 things arise and are active. To be wise with the Tao is to intuit this truth, which can only be sensed and not seen with vision that sorts things according to appearances. It is through this insight that we are able to teach creativity as we are connected to the greater intelligence that holds all life within itself without prejudice. This is simply to be open-minded. This thesis, 'Practicing Taoism As a Way to Teach Creativity and Response to Art', is in three parts. In Part One I give the reader necessary background information about the historical origins of Taoism and discuss how its classical philosophical text, the Tao Te Ching, is still relevant today as a needed alternative to educational instrumentalism. I go on to explore emptiness teaching in Part Two of this thesis, providing a detailed example of how Taoism can be a form of pedagogy as well as a way to teach response to art. In chapter five, 'Celebrating the Life of the Artist', I also provide examples of student artwork resulting from a non-judgmental facilitation style. Finally, in Part Three of this thesis I explore both self-acceptance and Zen as a means by which we might cultivate in ourselves the truth of Taoism: receptivity to the fact of the natural world and an awareness around one's own perceptions of that world. Throughout this thesis I also include much artwork. I do this to show how Taoism--a visceral connection to life that is genuine--is essentially human creativity when applied not as artifice but as conduit.