Education: The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method

Aesthetic Realism Is Education / Number 12, June 20, 1973

Aesthetic Realism believes that a person who doesn't like the world on an honest basis is not educated.The purpose of all education is, as Aesthetic Realism sees it, to find sense in the world; also honestly to hope to find sense in the world when that finding, as it often is, is difficult. It does seem that if all the knowledge provided by our many college curricula did not culminate in some good feeling about the world itself, this knowledge was not so useful. It is also true that if we have knowledge-even if the knowledge is painful-and we are proud of the knowledge, that much knowledge itself is likable and the world which makes for knowledge is likable....[T]he purpose of Aesthetic Realism is education in the strictest, fullest, most poetic sense of the word. The high point in education is when, through knowledge, the world has some likable meaning in itl... more  

 

Lecture by Eli Siegel, Educational Method Is Poetic: Serialized in 10 issues

"Education: Ethical and Beautiful" / January 3, 2001, #1448

"Education and Friendship" / January 10, 2001, #1449

"Education, Economics, & a World to Like" / January 17, 2001, #1450

"Education & What Every Child Deserves" / January 24, 2001, #1451

"What Education Is For" / January 31, 2001, #1452

"Education, Large and Warm" / February 7, 2001, #1453

"Education, Ambition, & What Millions Like" / February 14, 2001, #1454

"Education, Attention, & Love" / February 21, 2001, #1455

"For Education to Fulfill Its Purpose" / February 28, 2001, #1456

 

What Education & the Economy Are For / Number 1883, September 10, 2014

We publish an article...on the great Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method. And I am going to relate the principles behind this method to economics—and the economy from which millions of children are suffering throughout our land.

Eli Siegel is the philosopher to explain that “The purpose of education is to like the world through knowing it.” This idea is fundamental to the Aesthetic Realism method, which has been enabling children of all backgrounds to learn successfully—including children who had been thought incapable of doing so. To like the world through knowing it is why we should learn the alphabet, find out about numbers, continents, atoms, history. To like the world is the purpose of everyone’s life. Meanwhile, humanity has lived for centuries with a system of economics completely opposed to that purpose....more

This issue includes:

The Teaching Method Children Deserve / Number 1857, September 11, 2013

Here are four poems by Eli Siegel. And with them is an article—historic, thrilling, and needed—by New York City teacher Zvia Ratz, formerly of Israel. It is a paper she presented in January at a public seminar titled “The Solution to the Fury & Failure in America’s Schools: The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method!”

Yes, this great teaching method succeeds. It succeeds even with young people who had seemed unable to learn and were cynical and angry. Through it, not only do students truly learn the subjects of the curriculum—they’re excited and eager about knowledge; they become kinder; they become proud.

I think the Aesthetic Realism teaching method is one of the most beautiful things in human history, and is the birthright of every child. Every child deserves to benefit from it: to be able, because of it, to take in knowledge abundantly, to have his or her mind become larger and kinder...more

This issue includes:

How Our Schools Can Really Succeed / Number 1831, September 12, 2012

The paper we publish here represents the greatest news there is for America’s schools, and the kindest. New York City elementary school teacher Lauren Phillips presented it last year at a public seminar titled “The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method Brings Out Every Child’s Ability to Learn—& Education Succeeds!” The title is TRUE. It has been shown to be so in real classrooms, on every educational level, in diverse and often suffering neighborhoods. There is no fact more important for education and the hoping, tumultuous minds of America’s children.

At the basis of the great Aesthetic Realism teaching method are these principles, stated by Eli Siegel: “The purpose of education is to like the world through knowing it,” and “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.”   more

This issue includes:

The Answer for America’s Schools / Number 1806, September 28, 2011

We are glad to publish an article of enormous importance. It is a paper that New York City teacher Zvia Ratz presented last year at the public seminar on education titled “Through the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method, Students Choose Knowing—Not Anger & Bullying!” That title, as Ms. Ratz shows, is magnificently true...

Educators, parents, community leaders, government officials, fellow Americans: The great, kind, scientific, cultural Aesthetic Realism teaching method is the answer for American education—for any grade level, subject, any school anywhere! Teachers using it have made that fact clear in public seminars for years. And the instructors of the long-established Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method Workshop can train our nation’s teachers as they have taught Ms. Ratz and so many others....more

This issue includes:

Needed by America’s Schoolchildren! / Number 1779, September 15, 2010

In this issue we are publishing a tremendously important article by one of the most courageous and distinguished educators in America, Rosemary Plumstead. It was originally presented as a paper at the public seminar titled “The Answer to America’s Learning Crisis: The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method.”

...Eli Siegel was the philosopher to show that the purpose of education—whether in biology, languages, history, computers, cooking, meteorology, sewing, physics—the purpose of all education is “to like the world through knowing it.” Mrs. Plumstead illustrates this and the other principles at the basis of the Aesthetic Realism teaching method as she describes a science lesson she taught, and describes too the response of her students. What happened in her classroom, how her students changed and succeeded, is what parents, teachers, communities, and young people themselves want desperately to have happen in the schools of America....more

This issue includes:

Learning: Ourselves & a World to Love / Number 1758, November 25, 2009

This issue features the lecture Eli Siegel gave on March 6, 1947 at Steinway Hall: Education and Feeling Good. The record we have of it is notes taken at the time, and these are somewhat fragmentary. Yet the grandeur of this lecture comes through, its aliveness, its newness—and its importance.

I know firsthand, through my years of study with him, that Eli Siegel lived the way of seeing education that he presents here. He loved knowledge—that was clear to anyone who heard him speak. And he was interested in every field of thought. His scholarship was vast; it was comprehensive. Whether he spoke about Shakespeare, or economics, or the history of religion, or sociology, or French drama, or the movies, or a little-known American writer of fiction, or the Middle Ages, or the historians of Greece and Rome, a listener would feel, This must be his field of expertise. He wanted people to be at ease with knowledge, to see it as a friend. I am very moved as I write these words, because Mr. Siegel—representing the way of seeing that is in this lecture—made education warm to me, enabled me to love learning. And Aesthetic Realism can do that for all people.

Some decades after the 1947 lecture, its approach to knowledge took the form of the Aesthetic Realism teaching method, taught to educators by the consultants of All For Education. I won’t write at length here about the great, kind, documented, continuing success of this method in New York classrooms....more

This issue includes:

Education, Economics, & Kindness / Number 1753, September 16 , 2009

This issue is about the great Aesthetic Realism teaching method. It's about what's needed for education in America to succeed. It is also about unions and what's needed for our economy to succeed....

[The article by a social studies teacher published here] describes lessons he taught, about international trade and unions, and the effect of these lessons on his students. It stands with vividness for what the Aesthetic Realism teaching method has been beautifully, mightily accomplishing for many years: enabling students, including those in the most difficult of situations, to learn, really learn, and to be kinder. The basis of this teaching method are three principles. And each, because it is true about the very self of every person, explains also that omnipresent human activity which seems so different from education: economic...more

This issue includes:

For America's Schools / Number 1727, September 17, 2008

This issue is about the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method—the teaching method that succeeds, beautifully and kindly works. Through it, young people learn who had been unable to do so. Through it, students like learning; they grasp and remember the facts, whether about mathematics, a scientific concept, an event in history, the structure of a sentence. And it is the successful opponent to racial prejudice, bullying, unjust anger. It is what schools across America urgently need.

We print here a paper by a New York City teacher, which last fall was part of a public seminar titled “Through the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method, Knowledge Opposes Anger—& Students Learn!”...more

This issue includes:

Education, America, & Lois Mason / Number 1701, September 19, 2007

As a new school year begins, we publish an article on the teaching method that truly succeeds in having students learn—students of all ages and diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods; students, too, who felt they'd never learn, who felt both scornful and hopeless about education. This article on the great Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method is by Lois Mason....

Tragically, Lois Mason died this summer. She was one of America's most respected and beloved educators, and this issue of TRO is both an honoring of her and a presentation of that vibrant, practical, kind approach to education which she loved and which teachers on all levels are learning now....more

This issue includes:

Education: The “Having-to-Do-With Other Things” / Number 1622, September 8, 2004

We are proud to publish five beautiful short poems by Eli Siegel, and also an article by Barbara McClung about the great Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method. Mrs. McClung is a New York City elementary school teacher. Her article is part of a paper she presented in May at the public seminar titled “The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method Makes Every Subject Truly Anti-Prejudice—& Students Learn!”...more

This issue includes:

The Biggest News about Education / Number 1610, March 24, 2004

How important is it that through the Aesthetic Realism teaching method, as students learn the subjects in the curriculum they become kinder to each other? There is nothing more important for America. This issue includes "To End the Crisis" by Avi Gvili, teacher of English, who writes: "In the over six years I have been using the Aesthetic Realism teaching method, I’ve seen students who had all but given up on school and said they hated books, come really to like reading and writing—something they never imagined could happen."...more 

This issue includes:

Education: For Respect or Contempt? / Number 1518, May 8, 2002

Aesthetic Realism asks: "Is reality to be known by us, understood, valued, cared for; or is it to be conquered, manipulated, used to glorify ourselves while lessening other things and persons? ‘The large fight ...,’ Mr. Siegel wrote, ‘in every mind ... is the fight between respect for reality and contempt for reality’ (TRO 151).

Contempt has its economic forms and also its forms in the educational field. Just as a person can see the material world, with its goods and wealth, as something he should have in a way that makes him superior to others—so we can look on knowledge and learning acquisitively, snobbishly, exploitively too....more

This issue includes:

Education Can Beautifully Succeed! / Number 1359, April 21,1999

...The success of [the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method] is a beautiful, documented fact. For over two decades, in the midst of an ever-intensifying "crisis in education," teachers using the Aesthetic Realism method in New York City public school classrooms have been accomplishing what America is desperate for. Because of its infinitely kind logic, students want to learn and do learn the subjects in the curriculum, from science to reading, math to history. What is more, they come really to care for knowledge. And this includes children who had once seemed unable to learn....more

This issue includes:

The Most Respected Teaching Method / Number 1341, December 16, 1998

...Every year in public seminars at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, teachers...have documented, with fresh, vital illustrations from their classrooms, the magnificent success of this method in teaching subjects from science to history, from mathematics to art, in classes from kindergarten through college, and in some of the most economically beset neighborhoods in the city. New York City teachers have shown year after year, not only the Aesthetic Realism teaching method's beautiful ability to have students learn, to have them see knowledge as a friend—but that through this method, prejudice and racism in all their ugliness really change: students of different ethnic backgrounds become friendly to and regardful of each other!

Eli Siegel is the philosopher to show that "the purpose of education is to like the world" (Self and World, Definition Press, p. 5). And he identified that thing in us which curtails—and may curtail intensely—our ability to learn: it is contempt, the "disposition in every person to think he will be for himself by making less of the outside world." He showed that this feeling—that we are more if we can make something else insignificant—is the cause both of mental difficulty and of cruelty, including the cruelty that is prejudice. To have contempt for the world is to feel a triumph in disliking it....more

This issue includes:

Attention: An Aesthetic Matter / Number 1339, December 2, 1998

...Mr. Siegel...explains, definitively, the trouble people have about [attention]: what stops a person from giving attention.

In recent years, difficulty with attention has been talked of mainly as a clinical matter. Many children are said to have "attention deficit disorder"; and they have been given, abundantly, the drug Ritalin as the supposed mighty pharmaceutical bringer of attentiveness. Ritalin is now being questioned... more

This issue includes:

The Only Thing Big Enough / Number 1325, August 26, 1998

The Aesthetic Realism teaching method is an urgent necessity for our nation's schools—and it is also beautiful. This method succeeds where others fail (a fact documented for over 20 years), because its principles are true and beautiful. They are the greatest pedagogical principles in existence, and were stated by the greatest man of thought, and the kindest: Eli Siegel....more

This issue includes:

The Beautiful Teaching Method / Number 1306, April 15, 1998

There is a tremendous urgency about this issue of The Right Of, because it is about the teaching method America's schools are desperate for. It is about the teaching method that really works, that enables children, including those in some of the most economically ravaged neighborhoods, to learn successfully and with pride; the method that can stop the horrible racial animosity in the schools of this nation, and has done so with real students in real New York City classrooms: the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method. And this TRO is also a celebration: of how beautiful, kind, glowingly true, steadily successful Aesthetic Realism and its teaching method are! ... ...more

This issue includes:

The Success of Poetry and Education / Number 1238, December 25, 1996

...I have the honor and happiness to comment here on two of the greatest facts in human history: 1) Eli Siegel has explained—after centuries—what poetry truly is. And 2) the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method is the means—proven for years, including in public schools in some of the most troubled neighborhoods—of students' successfully, eagerly learning. It is the means of ending racism and other cruelty at last.

The Aesthetic Realism explanation of poetry and Aesthetic Realism's historic, infinitely kind success in the field of education are inseparable. I love Mr. Siegel with all my mind and life for showing that the difference between real poetry and what may look like poetry but is not that, is the most important difference in the world. That difference stands for the fight in every person—including every child in a classroom and every teacher. The constant fight in us, which Aesthetic Realism describes and explains, is: Should I see this world as something to know, to value justly, to respect; or should I have contempt? ...more

This issue includes:

Through Aesthetic Realism—Education Succeeds and Prejudice Ends! / Number 1044, April 7, 1993

Here are two poems by Eli Siegel. And with them we print an article by Sally Ross—one of the papers presented on January 28 by New York City teachers at the public seminar "The Success of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method: Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!" Science teacher Sally Ross is also a student in the most important education course in America: The Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel as Teaching Method, conducted by the Aesthetic Realism consultants of All For Education.

This article, in all its vivid and thrilling particularity, is representative of what teachers of different subjects, grades, and New York neighborhoods have been gratefully documenting for years: the Aesthetic Realism teaching method is the answer to the agony in our schools. It is the proven, magnificent method through which students successfully LEARN, including students who had seemed unable to learn—and through which, also, students and teachers become kinder, and respect for what another person is takes the place of prejudice....more

This issue includes:

For more, see the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method page


The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known online:

*Current Issues: The most recent issues in which Aesthetic Realism explains the news, happenings in people's lives, events in history, and some of the most moving works in literature.

*National Ethics: What honest criteria can we use to be good critics of ethics on the national and international levels? Aesthetic Realism looks at ethics as to loyalty, international affairs, & more.


*Literature / Poetry: Discussing many great works of poetry and prose. Criticism, wrote Eli Siegel compactly, is showing "a good thing as good, a bad thing as bad, and a middling thing as middling."

*Love: How Aesthetic Realism describes the purpose of love—"to like the world honestly through another person." Discussion of what interferes with having real love—today and in history.


*Racism—the Cause & Solution: The Aesthetic Realism understanding of contempt as the cause of racism, and the place of aesthetics in respecting, pleasurably, people different from oneself.

*The Economy: Why our economic system has failed to meet the needs of the American people, and the Aesthetic Realism understanding of good will as the basis for successful and fair economics


*Education: The success of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method in having students learn to read and write—learn science, social studies, art, every subject—and be kinder, less angry, less prejudiced.

*Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore: Talks given on August 16, 2002, Eli Siegel's Centenary, placing Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism, his work, in terms of world culture and history.


*Art: "Aesthetic Realism sees the purpose of art as, from the beginning, the liking of the world more..."

*Archives: The rich education provided by Aesthetic Realism in issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known which are online.


Aesthetic Realism Foundation online

The most comprehensive source of information about Aesthetic Realism is the website of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—and the sites connected to it, including this one. You can start, for instance, at the Foundation's home page. Then, go on to biographical information about Eli Siegel, who founded Aesthetic Realism in 1941. You will see how the education he began teaching in those years continues now in Aesthetic Realism consultations and in public dramatic presentations and seminars at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—as well as in the Foundation's Outreach Programs for seniors, young people, libraries, teachers. Meanwhile in the schools of New York, the dramatically effective Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method has enabled students to learn, to love learning, and to pass standardized examinations for three decades. And artists since 1955 have exhibited at the Terrain Gallery for which many have written commentaries (including on their own works), based on the philosophic principles of Aesthetic Realism. You can read about Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education online, as well as about every person on the faculty of the Foundation. As editor of TRO her commentaries are in every issue (see, e.g., "Nature, Romanticism, & Harry Potter"; "Clothing and Emotion"; and "Jobs, Discontent, and Beauty"). In the Aesthetic Realism Online Library, you'll find the largest single repository of reviews, articles in the press, lectures, poetry; and The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known. In 2002, Eli Siegel' s centenary, the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore, the city where he grew up, wrote on the meaning to America of Aesthetic Realism and its founder. So did the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, in the U.S. Congressional Record.

Selected Resources online

People in America's diverse professions—the humanities, the arts, education, the social sciences, medicine, labor—have written on the value of Aesthetic Realism. They describe the way Aesthetic Realism teaches people how to understand themselves more accurately; how the ability to be just to other people is enhanced; how one's professional attainments are augmented. Language arts teacher Leila Rosen, for example, writes on the Aesthetic Realism teaching method. Anthropologist Arnold Perey writes on the way Aesthetic Realism opposes prejudice and improves international understanding. And there are many others. Historically, new knowledge has often been met unjustly. This was true about the new, innovative thought of Louis Pasteur and John Keats, Beethoven and William Lloyd Garrison, Jonas Salk and Isaac Newton. And it has been true about Aesthetic Realism. Documenting and opposing this, the website "Friends of Aesthetic Realism — Countering the Lies," written by more than 60 individuals, refutes the falsehoods of the few persons who have attacked Aesthetic Realism and lets the facts speak for themselves. People who want to express their opinion of Aesthetic Realism, and have the knowledge to back it up, have created blogs and websites and have written numerous articles. See, for example, composer and educator Edward Green; essayist Lynette Abel; photographer Len Bernstein; teachers Ann Richards, Christopher Balchin, and Alan Shapiro. Others are listed in "What People Are Saying." The education of Aesthetic Realism enables a person to understand oneself more exactly than has been possible before, and to like the world honestly, authentically.


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