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Mapping Holistic Learning

An Introductory Guide to Aesthetigrams

Boyd White and Amélie Lemieux

Mapping Holistic Learning: An Introductory Guide to Aesthetigrams introduces the concept of aesthetigrams. These are participant-produced visual maps of aesthetic engagement. The map-making strategy was originally developed by one of the authors, Boyd White, to assist him in understanding what his university-level students were experiencing as they interacted with artworks. Such interactions are, after all, private, individualistic, and fleeting. How can a teacher foster student/teacher dialogue that might lead to enhanced engagement, much less do research, without a concrete record of such engagement? Aesthetigrams provide that record.

Recently, the strategy has been adapted to other fields of study—the teaching of literature, and philosophy for children, as well as the writing of poetry. Boyd White and Amélie Lemieux are persuaded that the strategy could be expanded into other disciplines. For example, might it not be useful for a teacher to know what a student is feeling and thinking as she struggles with a mathematical concept?

Mapping Holistic Learning is divided into three sections. Chapter 1 addresses the theoretical framework that underpins the authors’ research. The second section, Chapters 2 to 5, provides examples of aesthetigram usage within the formal education environment, in art and literature classrooms. The third section, Chapters 6 and 7, introduces two recent experiments in informal settings—one in an adult poetry workshop, the other in a philosophy-for-children workshop. It is not necessary to follow the book in chronological order. Readers are invited to attend to the chapters that most closely address their individual interests.

 

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Introduction (Boyd White and Amélie Lemieux)

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Introduction

BOYD WHITE AND AMÉLIE LEMIEUX



This book relies heavily on research conducted over the past 2 years of fieldwork in the Greater Montreal area, both in university and secondary school settings, although the beginnings of that research stretch much further back, as the next section will describe. While our examples focus on visual art, literature, poetry, and philosophy for children, it is our hope that the book will inspire teachers across the curricular spectrum to consider ways to insert attention to aesthetic experience in their respective classes. But the book is not just for educators. We hope that anyone with an interest in expanding her or his aesthetic engagement, whether that be, for example, in interactions with artworks, or the writing of poetry, will find this book useful. We have divided the text into three sections. The first addresses the theoretical framework that underpins our research. The second, Chapters 2–5, provides examples of aesthetigram usage within the formal education environment, in art and literature classrooms. The third section introduces two recent experiments in informal settings, one in an adult poetry workshop, the other in a philosophy-for-children workshop. It is not necessary to follow the book in chronological order. We invite you to choose whatever seems most relevant to your interests.

A SHORT HISTORY OF AESTHETIGRAMS

The origins of this text began many years ago. I was teaching a pre-service teacher education course...

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