Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education
INQUIRY BASED LEARNING
Sources: Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education and http://handbook.laartsed.org
Imaginative learning through aesthetic education: for teachers, teacher educators, teaching artists, with multiple partnerships.
Reflecting educational philosopher-in-residence Maxine Greene’s teachings, LCI has developed an approach to teaching and learning now subscribed to across the country. At the beginning of multi-level professional development offerings for educators are intensive interactions with works of art – selected from the vast collection offered by LCI and its partner museums – guided by teaching artists. Educators choose works relevant to their classroom’s curriculum, and teaching artists (TA’s) and educators brainstorm ways to explore the artwork, developing a framing question called the “line of inquiry” (LOI). Before – and often after – experiencing the artwork, TA’s facilitate educators in related hands-on art making. This investigation flows between doing and examining, using a variety of learning modalities. The inquiry seeks to establish a deeper observation and analysis of the artwork, both as a group and individually. Multiple perspectives are embraced, even as the group develops a common vocabulary and understanding, and repeated encounters with the work of art allow for refinement. Connections to the classroom may lead to new questions to pursue in this cycle of asking, looking, and learning. LCI believes that this approach to fostering imaginative learning can be applied across the curriculum.
Launched in 1975 as an integral part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Institute grew out of a yearlong study funded by the Carnegie Corporation. The study, written by founder Mark Schubart and published in 1972 as The Hunting of the Squiggle, surveyed existing programming at cultural organizations around the country and discovered that most failed to reach all but a very small percentage of the student population. To work with schools more effectively, there would need to be a much broader educational focus that went well beyond traditional arts appreciation while welcoming genuine collaboration with classroom teachers. As reported on the front page of the New York Times, the study called for an entirely new approach: one that engaged children and provided them with hands-on opportunities to explore and understand the arts.
In response to this challenge, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. established a separate board of trustees for the Institute and enlisted former U.S. Commissioner of Education Francis Keppel as its first Chairman; Mark Schubart former Dean of The Juilliard School, was chosen as the Institute's founding Director. Under their leadership, the Institute developed a strong philosophical approach to arts in education that was grounded in the progressive tradition of such renowned educators as John Dewey and Maxine Greene.
Thirty years later, the Institute has expanded globally and become a strong presence in the arts and education initiatives of numerous institutions both in and outside the United States. It serves thousands of educators, and, since its inception, its educational approach has reached 20 million students throughout the world. The Lincoln Center Institute National and International Educator Workshops, a series of foundational workshops in professional development, are now hosted by partnering organizations across the nation and abroad. As part of its expansion, the Institute offers consultancies to institutions interested in its aesthetic education approach and is designing online courses accessible through the web. It plans to add a children’s book series to its scholarly texts, thus bringing its approach to the arts into homes as well as schools. (Lincoln Center Institute)