This myth, related to the one on creativity, argues that what is educationally significant for children is the process they undergo while making something, not what it is that they make. It is argued further that when attention is devoted to the product rather than to the process the child's growth is likely to be hampered; one would be, so to speak, keeping one's eye on the wrong target. It's not what a child makes but how he makes it that is important.
I will not take the tack that just the opposite is true. I will not argue that the product is what's important, not the process. I won't do this because I believe that dichotomizing process and product is wrongheaded to begin with. In the first place, there can be no product without some type of process. The processes we use at whatever level of skill shapes the qualities of the product that will be realized, whether that product is ideational or material. Similarly the product or end-in-view that we aspire to create shapes the means we employ and provides a criterion against which choices in the present are made. Further unless some of us here are mind readers we will never be able to see the processes the child is undergoing. What we see are the manifestations of those processes: what they produce. It is from these products that we are able to make certain inferences about process. To disregard what the child produces puts us into an absolutely feckless position for making inferences about those processes. In addition without attention to what is produced we have no basis for making any type of judgment regarding the educational value of the activity in which the child is engaged. Process and product therefore cannot be dichotomized. They are like two sides of a coin. Processes can be improved by attending to the product and products improved by making inferences about the processes. To neglect one in favor of the other is to be pedagogically naïve (p.11).
- Eisner, E. (1973-74). Examining Some Myths in Art Education. Studies in Art Education, 15 (3), 7-16