The term aesthetics was a term first used by the German philosopher Alexander Baumgarten in 1744 to mean “the science of the beautiful”. Aesthetic education is often used synonymously with arts, music, drama, and dance education. However, aesthetic education is a more encompassing term, involving all aspects of education that fosters the creation of beauty and creativity in each individual student.
Maxine Greene defines the term aesthetic as “an adjective used to describe or single out the mode of experience brought into being by encounters with works of art.” She further defines aesthetic education as “an intentional undertaking designed to nurture appreciative, reflective, cultural, participatory engagements with the arts by enabling learners to notice what is there to be noticed, and to lend works of art their lives in such a way that they can achieve them as variously meaningful. When this happens, new connections are made in experience: new patterns are formed, new vistas are opened. Persons see differently, resonate differently; as Rilke wrote in one of his poems, they are enabled to pay heed when a work of art tells them, ‘You must change your life.’” It is important to note that Maxine Greene differentiates between aesthetic education and art education.