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Aesthetics Primer

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Boyd White

The Aesthetics Primer is intended for anyone interested in the topic of aesthetics and how it can influence directions in education. The text is suitable for university courses that address aesthetics specifically, but also art education, values education, philosophy of education, and qualitative research methods. While examples are frequently taken from art, the primer is applicable beyond the discipline of aesthetic education. The text approaches its topic from two directions. First, there is a theoretical and philosophical section, providing a historical context for the term «aesthetics». It then provides a practical application, describing a research protocol that examines how participants respond to, record, and reflect on their aesthetic encounters. These activities result in a merging of aesthetic responses and, in the examples provided, art criticism. The implication is that the exercise could be extended to include other educational disciplinary foci as well. The research clearly indicates emerging patterns of self- and social awareness that result from subjects’ participation.