Sunday, January 16, 2005

Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method and the Drama

The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method brings a vital new dimension to the teaching of drama, a subject students generally do like, and makes that like deeper. From the classroom they take lessons about respecting people and the world that are invaluable. This method is based on the work of Eli Siegel (1902-1978) who lectured extensively on the drama and a wide variety of subjects including religion, history, all the arts. Eli Siegel was an educator, poet, and founded Aesthetic Realism in 1941. With this method students see the deeply sensible, beautiful structure underlying, for instance, dialogue between Brutus and Cassius in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a witty remark in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, or the closing of the door at the conclusion of A Doll's House. From the opening scene to the final curtain they see how the plot, the characters, their motivation and the words they use are related to ourselves, to themselves. They are so much more than entertained by the drama. They learn from it in the deepest way about how to see other people. It has been my privilege to use this teaching method with children as young as 10 to 18, for nineteen years, studying texts, learning how to write about the drama, and also I have produced many plays with young people, in Special Education, honors classes, and regular classes throughout the New York metropolitan area, and I begin by serializing a paper I wrote which was published in the New York State English Council's journal "The English Record," which I have also presented to colleagues in professional conferences and at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in an education seminar.

My serialization of The Miracle Worker will appear soon.


More Information About Aesthetic Realism:

For classes and events, go to the website of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. You can also learn about the current Terrain Gallery exhibition.

The writing of Rosemary Plumstead on science education, Donita Ellison on art and Leila Rosen on English are essential. Each of these educators is an authority on the crisis in education and what can have young people really learn in America today.

The Aesthetic Realism Online Library contains essays, lectures, and critical works by Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism. There you can see articles in newspapers and journals about Aesthetic Realism. There is also information about the Eli Siegel Collection, Eli Siegel's 25,000 volume library.

In 1955 Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites? was published. I have carried this broadside in museums in New York and London and these 15 questions, beautiful in themselves, have opened my eyes to what you find there.

Find out more about Eli Siegel. Read my statement in Countering the Lies. This website was created to tell the truth about Aesthetic Realism. Here you can see the statements of many many people, giving their careful opinions- including the mayor of Baltimore, and a member of Congress.

The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known ,edited by Ellen Reiss, is a bi-weekly journal which serializes lectures by Eli Siegel. The editor's commentary relates what is in the lectures to our time.

Ellen Reiss teaches the Aesthetic Realism Explanation of Poetry Class and professional classes for consultants and associates. Barbara McClung and Lauren Phillips tell about one of these on a subject of great importance, ADHD. Read more here.

In Racism Can End Ms. Reiss describes the state of mind at the root of all racism and what must be seen for that to change permanently.

The great English poet, John Keats was maligned by the press in his day. Ellen Reiss uses this to give perspective to current matters.

Renowned columnist Alice Bernstein writes on civil rights and culture. She is the editor of Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism.

Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology is the website of Arnold Perey. He is the author of Gwe, a novel against racism, and the children's book, Were They Equal? published by Waverly Press.

Aesthetic Realism Resources has articles on love, the arts, economic justice, the questions of men, women, parents, and many other topics of interest.

The photographs of Len Bernstein are powerful, beautiful, often very surprising. Len Bernstein: Photographic Education Based on the Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel. He tells of how his artistic eye has been educated by Aesthetic Realism.

At Lynette Abel: Aesthetic Realism and Life you can find out about the great education for women that is in Aesthetic Realism and her report of a class on a play about World War I, The Miracle at Verdun, is one of the most stirring anti-war statements I have ever read.

Miriam Mondlin is a writer on economic justice, unions, and she is an authority on the subject of stuttering. Go to Aesthetic Realism and Self-Expression.

The beloved Scottish poet, Robert Burns, is a person whose art and passion Ellen Reiss shows the relevance of for our time.

More links

Steve Weiner's blog has a terrific paper: Simplicity and Complexity: Roy Lichtenstein's “Stepping Out.”

For my website go to Aesthetic Realism & Our Lives by my husband, Christopher Balchin, and me.

How Can Racism End? is Christopher's blog in the US. In the UK, it is Aesthetic Realism Is True.