Background and Objectives
Compared to verbal, analytical, and logic-based education, teaching the skill of observation and perception has been widely overlooked in the preparation of American students. One of the experiences offered in the first academic residency focuses on the practice of intentional observation to enhance the leadership skills of students and strategies used successfully in the visual arts to tackle leadership dilemmas in the area of education in order to enhance leadership potential in our present and future leaders.
The Learning How to Look experience, helps Union Institute & University students bring into focus the practice of intentional observation. Through this practice, students are led to intentional reflection in their role as a leader and how to better make a difference in their community.
What is "Learning How to Look"?
Learning How to Look is a reflective experience encouraging three primary ways of looking, sensing, and reasoning, in order to make decisions about a body of art with which the student often has little or no familiarity. After they have developed these skills, students are then able to transfer these skills to educational settings and authentic situations and challenges.
The first set of practices is called inductive looking - where the student becomes introduced or initiated into a particular way of seeing in order to make sense of the world. She/he reports on what is going on by withholding judgment. She/he uses the visual field to make inferences of a generalized conclusion that is based on particular details.
The second set of practices is called deductive looking — where the student begins to make judgment-based decisions that allow them to take away details or issues that do not belong to the mainframe; she/he derives a conclusion by reasoning and estimates a conclusion about particular concepts by focusing on necessary general or universal premises.
The final set of practices is termed abductive looking — where the student begins to rely on her/his describing, interpreting, and synthesizing capacity to move beyond a position that appears generic to the problem/issue. She/he branches away from the main axis and delves into possibilities. What are the possible solutions to the same, one problem? How else can it be solved for maximum benefit? How can the problem be viewed differently in order to come up with a better solution?
Through this learning experience, a deeper understanding of our place in the world and the ways in which we can bring about meaningful change takes place.