A survey publicized by the King Car Education Foundation yesterday said that 65.7 percent of adolescents are unable to name even one famous local artist and that aesthetic experience is seldom linked with students’ daily lives.
King Car executive director Joyce Tseng (曾清芸) said that the foundation has conducted biannual surveys about students’ aesthetic experiences since 2008, and the survey results all showed that adolescents in Taiwan generally lack motivation for and perception of aesthetics.
She said that while the Ministry of Education named this year “the year of aesthetic education” and planned to allocate billions of New Taiwan dollars to promote aesthetic education, it is important to teach the concept of linking art with daily life among the public.
Lo hsien-yun (羅先耘), who supervised this year’s survey, said that its results — collected through a questionnaire filled out by 1,685 fifth and sixth graders at elementary schools, as well as junior-high and senior-high school students — showed that although access to art appreciation and related information has become easier, active participation is still relatively low.
Only 34.3 percent of the students polled were able to name at least one renowned local artist, Lo said, adding that while 44.4 percent think aesthetics-related workers are professional and 21.3 percent admire them, only 30.7 percent of the respondents were involved in aesthetic creation themselves.
The survey showed that nearly 96 percent of the students like music — the most favored aesthetic form — eighty-three percent of the students like pop music, more than half of them like movies and paintings, while the least-liked aesthetic forms were literature and architectural design.
“When aesthetic experiences are being transformed into knowledge that adolescents have to memorize [to get good grades], they do not feel touched by the experience,” an elementary-school art teacher Ji Meng-jyun (紀孟均) said.
He said that when aesthetics are treated as a discipline and evaluated through a rigid index, students might lack motivation to participate in associated extracurricular activities, and teachers also find it difficult to deliver aesthetic education in creative ways.
Chao Wan-chih (趙婉芝), a twelfth-grade student studying advertisement design at a vocational high school in Taipei City, said it was depressing that while she considers art appreciation to be subjective, she and her classmates have learned to limit their creative styles and conform to a standard that allows them to gain higher test scores.
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