Education About Asia: Online Archives

Japanese Art for the Classroom: Images, Texts, and Notes for Teachers

Download PDF

There are many reasons to bring art into the classroom. Of course, discussions may focus on art as art, i.e., the aesthetic, stylistic, or historical aspects of a work, but there are many other functions for which art may be used to achieve pedagogical objectives. Below, I describe a few of them, with examples available to me locally. A clearly related issue is HOW to bring the art into the room. For small groups, the best option is obviously the work of art itself. Some of us are lucky enough to have useful items in our own collections, or available through local collectors, galleries, or other sources. Students respond wonderfully to actual objects, though a few comments on treating them with respect and care (such as noting that only pencils should be used for notes when objects are being viewed) are often required. In most cases, of course, we need to use reproductions—color slides, prints, or perhaps images downloaded from the Internet and displayed using a digital projector. Here again, students usually respond well, and the range of items that can be presented is greatly enlarged. Full color versions of the objects illustrated in this article are, for example, available online at