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By Ralph Alexander Smith

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Extra resources for Culture And the Arts in Education: Critical Essays on Shaping Human Experience

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But in his understanding of the humanities as encouraging civilizing skills, he was always careful to associate such skills—what he called the liberal arts of communication, continuity, and criticism—with their substantive subjects, that is, languages and literatures, history, and philosophy. 6 These two ways of thinking about the humanities, procedurally and substantively, provide major options for teaching the humanities today, as does Levi’s synthesis. In some moments Levi leaned more toward the procedural sense: to teach the humanities is to teach them as civilizing skills.

Albert William Levi, The Humanities Today (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1970). 8. , Ralph A. Smith, “Toward Percipience: A Humanities Curriculum for Arts Education,” in The Arts, Education, and Aesthetic Knowing, ed. Bennett Reimer and Ralph A. Smith, Ninety-first Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education, 1992), 51–69. 9. A Contemporary Course in the Humanities for Community College Students (NEH Grant ED-10555-74-412).

Percipience refers to the ability of persons to experience works of art for the sake of their constitutive and revelatory values, by which I mean the ways in which the experience of good and great art holds potential for shaping the self in positive ways while simultaneously yielding insight into human existence and natural phenomena. I call the five phases of aesthetic learning (1) perceiving aesthetic qualities, (2) developing perceptual finesse, (3) developing a sense of art’s history, (4) exemplar appreciation, and (5) critical reflection.

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