Arts Education in Iran
Harry Broudy (1979) posed this serious and thought-provoking question to policymakers throughout the world about 25 years ago. In the light of the inadequate attention paid to the arts in education systems, the question has preserved its validity to the current day, even though Broudy, along with many other education specialists, have provided rather persuasive answers to it. Their answers, although resting on different grounds, all point to the fact that art education should be part and parcel of any defensible basic education scheme, or the fourth R.
Elliot Eisner, for example, has taken up a position along these lines rooted in a different definition or conception of literacy (1983, 1998). He contends that the term ‘literacy’ should no longer be limited to reading, writing and arithmetic. A broader and a more comprehensive account of literacy should encompass all the symbolic systems and languages that have been created to perform a unique epistemic function (Eisner, 1998, p. 11). He further insists that these different languages have been created out of absolute necessity, since redundancy and repetition would have resulted in a less pluralistic situation than we are witnessing today (Eisner, 1983, p. 50). The ability to decode and encode meaning within each of the extant symbolic systems, therefore, is an essential power and skill that a fully literate (in contrast to ‘semiliterate’) individual should possess. The arts, representing the prime example of non-conventional symbolic systems, can effectively complement the range of languages or cultural tools available to the next generations for the purpose of communication and mutual understanding.
KeywordsEducation System Elementary Level Symbolic System Aesthetic Experience Educational Leadership
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