SOME RULES FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS (Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules)
by Sister Corita Kent

sister corita kent

RULE TWO: General duties of a student – pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher – pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: be self-disciplined – this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything – it might come in handy later.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

by Elliot Eisner

The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.

The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving
purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know.
The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
The arts traffic in subtleties.

The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source
and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young
what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

By Dee Dickinson
They are symbol systems as important as letters and numbers.

They integrate mind, body, and spirit.

They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.

They offer the avenue to “flow states” and peak experiences.

They create a seamless connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application–leading to deep understanding.

They are an opportunity to experience processes from beginning to end.

They develop both independence and collaboration.

They provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.

They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.

They merge the learning of process and content.

They improve academic achievement — enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking. They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and “problem-finding.”

They are essential components of any alternative assessment program.

They provide the means for every student to learn.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

by Stephanie Perrin


Many parents feel that the study of the fine and performing arts is a nice thing for their children to do, a kind of finishing touch to a good liberal arts education. However, they feel that what prepares their children for the “real world” of college and the work place is the study of traditional liberal arts disciplines such as math or science. What I would like to suggest, radical as the notion may seem, is that the serious study of the arts is one of the best ways to educate a young person for college and work.

In this postindustrial society what is required of workers at all levels is that they be creative thinkers, problem solvers, able to work well with others, and be able to work independently. They must be self-motivated and proactive. Schools can no longer train people to do specific tasks; we must educate students in terms of broad skills so that they can function in any number of capacities.

How does arts training develop some of these skills? Think, if you will, of the young violin student. What does she learn in the study of her instrument that helps her develop some of the skills and attitudes needed for the 21st century, whatever her ultimate career?

The ability to pursue very long-term goals.

 The young musician has usually begun her study by the age of 7 or 8 and, at 15, is looking forward to a lifetime of increasing mastery. She understands that learning is a lifelong process and not something that is “done” on the day she gets her diploma.

 The relationship between work and mastery.

 Mastery comes with hard work and practice. The young musician knows that how well and often she practices has a direct impact on the outcome. She understands that good process is important to a fine product.

Risk taking and learning from mistakes.

The violinist is willing to take risks in her playing because she knows that she learns by making mistakes. The “mistakes,” the parts that are not yet well-executed, tell her where the work is, rather than being an indication of failure.

 Ownership of the work.

Young artists all have the gift of studying something in which they have a personal investment, which they have chosen. They work for themselves, as well as against an external standard of excellence. For a teenager to “own” her work is rare in this society where 15 year-olds are always preparing for the next step. A good violinist of 15 is approaching professional competence.

 Learning by doing.

 It is a fact that the best way to learn anything is to do it. Often in schools students do not do anything: they learn about doing something, or watch someone else do it. The young musician learns by doing, by playing the violin, not listening to someone lecture about how to play.

 Learning to work in groups.

 Young musicians, as well as other young artists, often have to work in groups. Playing in a small ensemble is one of the best possible ways to learn how to work with others. It requires listening, responding, and asserting your own “voice” while supporting the voices of your fellow members, in a way that contributes to the beauty of the whole. Research tells us that one of the most important reasons Japanese education produces such productive workers is not the many hours in classrooms, or rote learning, or longer days, but the fact that children are taught in school how to work well in groups. The arts provide a natural place for learning to work in groups.

 Thinking creatively.

 Clearly the study of the arts develops creative thinking along with the development of the technical skills to give such thinking concrete expression.

 Positive self-identification.

 At the time in her life when she is developing a sense of her own identity in the world, the young violinist has the gift of seeing herself as a “musician,” as a member of a larger community of accomplished people. She isn’t a “nerd,” a “prep,” a “jock”: she is a musician. In a time when Madonna tops the list of people most admired by teenagers, to have a student wish to emulate Itzak Perlman is much to be desired.

 Acting on one’s beliefs.

 Artists are activists. They perform. They are willing to put themselves and their work before the public. If you fail a math exam, you, your parents (maybe!) and your teacher knows. But if you have a hard time with a concerto, everybody knows. Art is not for the faint of heart.


 The study of the arts helps students develop a sense of judgment, of choosing, and of asserting their choices. Only they can decide how they wish to interpret a passage. This is a quality of the self that cannot be “taught” but must be developed.

 Having high ideals and values.

 The study of the arts supports a view of the world that is idealistic, and strives for higher meaning. This is an essential quality for citizens of the 21st century to have. Further, since artists have to work so hard to become accomplished, they know that ideals are hard to reach and are meaningful only if acted upon.

Finally, there is a distinction between education and training. In American schools for the last century, we have been concerned with training; that is, turning out young people who will predictably perform certain tasks and share the same specific knowledge (back in the days when a teacher could convey most important cultural knowledge). Nowadays we should seek to educate, a different proposition altogether; to produce young people who ask questions and who can continue to learn throughout life. This distinction between training and education is analogous to the one between the technically competent musician and the true artist, able to use technique to express her own vision. We need artists in all areas and walks of life and “artists” are people who share these qualities no matter what their occupation.

Copyright © 1997 CABC

%d bloggers like this: