Maria Oraevskaya

Maria Oraevskaya

Universita degli studi di Roma “La Sapienza»

Thesis: Comparative analysis of aesthetic education programs in Russia and Italy

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Research supervisor: Prof. Pietro Lucisano

Our comparative analysis of aesthetic education programs in Russia and Italy will consist of 3 parameters:

  1. Educational idea – proclaimed goals of learning with the system of methods and means of achieving it, pedagogical tasks;
  2. Educational practice – results of observation over educator’s activity and ways he/she directs and manages educational processes;
  3. Educational result – measurement of aesthetic development level, as per methods of experimental aesthetics.

The first category of data is information we can easily take form official program documentation, descriptions, plans, etc.

The educational result data is collected using a set of diagnostic procedures designed by E. Torshilova and colleagues in Institute of Arts Education of Russian Education Academy. Parameters measured in this set of diagnostic procedures include sense of form, sense of composition, sense of style, ability to grasp and interpret the artistic intention, understanding emotions in facial expressions and aesthetic preference; it is a reliable instrument for defining the educational result.

Our main challenge now is to create reliable methods for evaluating the educational practice.

Following the methodological principles of our work, we can describe ideal aesthetic education program as having two main characteristics:

а) learning is organized as joint activity with an adult – the carrier of cultural norm;

b) emphasis is equally given to composition and construction (form and content)

Additionally, being of cultural-historical background we cannot avoid adding another important characteristic:

c) congruence with age norm (organization of learning process in such a way that it corresponds to main developmental tasks and the leading activity of this age).

Developmental education tradition gives us good criteria to define whether the teacher creates joint activity (a) and/or incorporates the leading activity of the age (c). However it is unclear, what are the observable characteristics which would indicate that the way teachers organize their activity and children’s activity during lessons promotes creative synthesis (b) in children. Therefore the main challenge for this stage of research is the necessity to provide a set of specific criteria for evaluating aesthetic education practice through observation.

We are now working to define a set of clear observable indicators – what specifically the teacher does or says – that we could check in our observation protocol to support that this educational practice transmits cultural norm, promotes creative synthesis of elements and their meanings into integrated artistic image, helps a child to overcome naïve formalism and master the «language» (sign-symbolic system) of pictorial art.

During my ISCAR SU presentation I will suggest a number of criteria for discussion and hope to initiate brainstorming to come up with more. Additionally I am hoping to participate in discussions on educational practices in Russia and abroad.