First, let me confess that I’m trapped on a plane and hungry. I’m dreaming of a great dinner and hoping I can get a recommendation when my plane touches down.
What does this have to do with quality arts education? Well, I’m hoping for a quality dining experience and here is how I imagine I’ll find it.
I’ll ask someone for a recommendation, and she’ll say, “Oh you should try (insert name of restaurant).” This begins a conversation that will teach me why this particular restaurant is being recommended. Is it because of the food, maybe even a particular menu item, or did my friend/cabbie also factor in service, ambiance, speed, cost, etc.?
A quality dining experience means different things to different people. Why should it be any different when we discuss quality arts education?
As I mentioned, and you’ve no doubt experienced, the question, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” is the beginning of a conversation. By listening and asking questions about what is being recommended and why it is better than some other restaurant, I get to know the person offering the suggestion and what she values.
Often (though not always) I feel that we, as arts educators, shy away from similar conversations about quality within our field. If you came to Dallas and asked me to recommend a restaurant, I’d definitely share some of my favorite places. And, it wouldn’t scar me for life if you disagreed with or didn’t visit any of my offerings. I know not everyone has the same tastes. Read the rest of this entry »