Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2013 Issue »

    The Cream Does Not Always Rise

    The Plight of Visual-Spatial Learners and the Power of Art Education

    MICHELE K. SOMMER
    My vivid and colorful imagination turned me into a hopeless daydreamer in elementary school. My daydreams were so real that I would get lost in them. Once, in the first grade, I was so completely absorbed in a daydream that I didn’t notice all the children had been dismissed. I found myself sitting completely alone at my desk, my teacher glaring at me. I can still recall today how isolating, scary, and humiliating that experience was. I was keenly aware even as a child that the adults in my life regarded my daydreaming as a defect, and so I was deeply ashamed of it. I worked hard to learn to pay attention and follow directions like everyone else. What I wouldn’t give today, as an artist, to once again have that extraordinary mental capacity!

    This is an excerpt from Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education.

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    Michele K. Sommer is an art educator and art department chair at Rockland Country Day School in Congers, NY. Her teaching interests focus on designing innovative K–12 interdisciplinary art curricula that develop skills of creativity, innovation, imagination, intellectual curiosity, and visual literacy. Her most recent work, “Creative Visualization: Internal Landscape Self-Portraits,” which she presented at the 2012 New York City Art Teachers Association conference, integrates the use of guided imagery, autobiographical writing, and mixed-media life mask sculpture to promote the cognitive, social emotional, and moral growth of a diverse student population. Michele’s projects have been supported numerous times by the Arts Council of Rockland and New York State Council on the Arts. She has served on reaccreditation committees for New York State Association of Independent Schools and was the recipient of the 2007 Hancock-Rubinsky Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2007 County Executives Award for Arts Education.
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    Spring 2013 Issue

    Abstracts

    Foreword: Exploding Parameters and an Expanded Embrace
    A Proposal for the Arts in Education in the Twenty-First Century
    STEVE SEIDEL
    Editors’ Introduction
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education
    Edward P. Clapp and Laura A. Edwards
    Expanding Our “Frames” of Mind for Education and the Arts
    JENNIFER S. GROFF
    Expanding Our Vision of Museum Education and Perception
    An Analysis of Three Case Studies of Independent Blind Arts Learners
    SIMON HAYHOE
    Universal Design for Learning and the Arts
    Don Glass, Anne Meyer, and David H. Rose
    Graphica
    Comics Arts-Based Educational Research
    STEPHANIE JONES AND JAMES F. WOGLOM
    Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything
    Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education
    RUBEN A. GAZTAMBIDE-FERNANDEZ
    Afterword: The Turning of the Leaves
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education
    MAXINE GREENE

    Book Notes

    The Learner-Directed Classroom
    Diane B. Jaquith and Nan E. Hathaway (Editors)

    Critical Aesthetic Pedagogy
    Yolanda Medina

    Hip Hop Genius
    Sam Seidel

    Design and Thinking
    Mu-Ming Tsai (Director)

    Changing Lives
    Tricia Tunstall

    Art Education Beyond the Classroom
    Alice Wexler (Editor)