Exploring Art for Perspective Transformation


Author: Alexis Kokkos
We live in a socio-cultural reality which is dominated by an entrepreneurial and instrumental rationality, as well as by a discriminative and populist mentality. Questioning the validity of taken-for-granted sovereign perspectives is thus of vital importance. Our contact with art can serve as a pathway through which we might be empowered to identify false life values and develop the disposition and ability to challenge them.

The learning potential of aesthetic experience is, however, barely exploited within educational systems. In addition, although major scholars have contributed to a deeper understanding of the liberating dimension of processing important artworks, there has been surprisingly little discussion in the relevant literature focusing on educational practice.

Exploring Art for Perspective Transformation provides a comprehensive analysis and synthesis of theoretical views pertaining to the emancipatory process of exploring art. Moreover, it presents the educational method Transformative Learning through Aesthetic Experience (TLAE), with reference to particular examples of implementation. TLAE is addressed to adult educators and school teachers regardless of the subject they teach and their theoretical background on aesthetics. It involves engaging learners in exploring works from fine arts, literature, theatre, cinema and music with a view to promoting critical reflection on one’s potentially problematic perspectives.

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Alexis Kokkos is Emeritus Professor of Adult Education, Chairman of the Hellenic Adult Education Association and Member of the Leadership Circle of the International Transformative Learning Association. He recently edited Exploring Transformation Theory: Affinities between Jack Mezirow and Emancipatory Educationalists (Routledge, 2020).
“It is really a well written and presented book. I like it as it does exactly what it sets out to do in every respect. I think every idea it expresses is clear and accurate. The originality of the book lies in the methodology section that rests on the theory section.” – Ted Fleming, Adjunct Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York
“This excellent book covers the literature in a hugely important field thoroughly & is written in a highly accessible fashion. I think this will be essential reading for the next generation.” – Viv Golding, Honorary Associate Professor, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
"This is a beautifully written book that was difficult to put down. It's readability and accessibility make it a timely and thoughtful contribution during these uncertain times when all of us – researchers, scholar-practitioners, and educator activists – are seeking ways to generate the conditions that support learning processes that sustain transformation." – Aliki Nicolaides, Associate Professor of Adult Learning, University of Georgia, and Director of the International Transformative Learning Association
“In illuminating the essence and significance of transformative learning theory, Kokkos highlights the potential contribution of arts and esthetic experience to perspective transformation and critical thinking. Importantly, this book amply demonstrates that specialized knowledge is not a prerequisite for using art as a springboard to development of critical awareness, nor is arts-based education limited to older students and esthetic coursework, but rather, 'the use of art as an impetus for reflection can be relevant to all possible topics and, as a result, to all subject matters.'” – Kathleen Taylor, Admissions Committee Chair, Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Kalmanovitz School of Education, Saint Mary’s College of California, Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind
List of Figures and Tables
About the Author

Part 1: Theoretical Review

Introduction of Part 1

1 The Distinctive Nature of Learning for Change
 1 Introduction
 2 Assimilative and Accommodative Learning
 3 What Form Is Transformed?
 4 Transformation of the Identity
 5 Single-Loop and Double-Loop Learning
 6 Τhe Struggle for Hegemony
 7 Banking and Problem-Posing Education
 8 Critical Pedagogy
 9 Transformation Theory
 10 Transformative Learning Theoretical Field
 11 Concluding Remarks

2 Cognitive Theory of Art
 1 Introduction
 2 Art and Growth of Mind
 3 Ways of Employing Art
 4 Cognitive School and Learning for Change
 5 Final Thoughts

3 Aristotle’s Poetics
 1 Introduction
 2 Mimesis and Learning
 3 Defijining Tragedy
 4 Interpretations of Catharsis
 5 The Plot
 6 “Like Ourselves”
 7 The Function of Fear and Pity
 8 Learning, Catharsis, Perspective Transformation
 9 The Form of the Tragedy
 10 Criticism to Entertaining Art
 11 Final Thoughts

4 The Views of John Dewey and Maxine Greene
 1 Introduction
 2 Art as Experience
 3 Final Thoughts
 4 Releasing the Imagination
 5 Final Thoughts

5 The Perspective of Frankfurt School
 1 Introduction
 2 The Critique of Culture Industry
 3 A Case Study: Philadelphia
 4 Art and Emancipation
 5 A Widespread Discourse
 6 Final Thoughts

6 The Legacy of Freire and Gramsci
1 Introduction
2 The Aesthetic Dimension in Freire’s Work
3 Gramsci’s Conception of Popular Art
4 Final Thoughts

7 Alternative Approaches
 1 Introduction
 2 Emancipatory Museum Education
 3 Challenging Issues
 4 Cultural Studies, Critical Literacy, Critical Pedagogy
 5 Giroux’s View on Popular Films
 6 Using Entertainment Media
 7 Discussion

Part 2: The Transformative Learning through Aesthetic Experience (tlae) Method

Introduction to Part 2

8 The Theoretical Foundations and Principles of the Method
 1 Introduction
 2 Aesthetic Experience Is an Important Component of Emancipatory Education
 3 TLAE Is Associated with Learning for Change
 4 Both Adolescents and Adults Can Be Involved
 5 Meaningful Artworks are Addressed to a Wide Range of Learners
 6 TLAE Is Potentially Connected with All the Subject Matters
 7 TLAE Can Be Implemented by a Large Number of Educators
 8 The Educators Function as “Cultural Activists”
 9 Final Thoughts

9 The Stages of TLAE Method
 1 Introduction
 2 First Stage: Determining the Need for Transformative Learning
 3 Second Stage: Participants Express Their Ideas
 4 Third Stage: Constructing a Transformational Strategy
 5 Fourth Stage: Identifying Works of Art and Educational Techniques
 6 Fifth Stage: Exploring the Artworks and Critical Questions
 7 Sixth Stage: Critically Reflecting on Assumptions
 8 Seventh Stage: Defijining and Applying Next Steps

10 Examples of Implementation
 1 First Example: Transforming Prisoners’ Views
 2 Second Example: Challenging Racism in Elementray School
 3 Third Example: Transforming Student Teachers’ Assumptions: A Long-Term Research

11 Inferences Drawn from Application
 1 Introduction
 2 Learners’ Attitude toward TLAE
 3 Can TLAE Contribute to Perspective Transformation?
 4 The Educators’ View on TLAE
 5 Becoming Transformative Educators
 6 Suggestions for the Implementation of TLAE

12 Concluding Reflections

Appendix 1: The Use of Films, Literature and Music
Name Index
Subject Index
Artworks Index
The book discusses learning through the arts. It concerns institutes, academics, specialists and students who deal with education and art, as well as school teachers, adult and museum educators.