Sunday, November 30, 2003

“Authentic Learning is consentual and self-sustaining” Peter London, Nation Art Education Conference, New York City, March 2001

Saturday, November 29, 2003

This is a copy of the press release sent out when the choice based art pages were launched on the knowledgeloom.org website (see link at the right)

Knowledge Loom Launches New Spotlight—Choice-Based Art Education

I looked at a painting by Paul Gaughin. He made a painting with two girls sitting down cutting flowers. I made a picture that had two girls. It is of me and my mom. She was doing a braid in my hair to go out to eat. We had the same clothes on and we both had braids in our hair. I was making hair things.
A Third Grader’s Artist Statement

If you visit The Knowledge Loom (http://knowledgeloom.org/tab), an interactive best-practice website created by The Education Alliance at Brown University with initial funding from the U.S. Department of Education, you will see the tempera painting that this third-grade “Gaughin” created. It’s just one of several samples of student work that you’ll find on one of The Loom’s newest spotlights: “Choice-based Art—Teaching for Artistic Behavior.” The spotlight also allows you to listen in on a conversation about the pedagogy of choice-based art education and add your own thoughts to an online panel discussion. Though many educators advocate for a student-centered approach to learning, The Knowledge Loom is the first interactive Web resource with this model as a focus in the art room. Choice-based art classrooms simulate studios, offering effective organization of space, time, and materials that enable students to create work which is individual, compelling, and personally meaningful.

Just what is involved in choice-based art? Katherine Douglas, seasoned classroom teacher, practicing artist, and long-time proponent of this way of teaching explains, “Sometimes artists are exploring materials which ultimately give them their ideas, and so, these materials must be in the control of the artist. In a choice-based classroom we make certain that our students are in control of their materials, even our very young students . . .Some of the best art emerges from student exploration.” Douglas and her colleagues at the Teaching for Artistic Behavior Partnership developed the content for the Loom’s art-focused spotlight, based on their many years of classroom experience and their own work as artists. Douglas sat down recently with John Crowe, chair of the Art Education Department at Massachusetts College of Art, and Mary Anne Mather, one of the creators of the Loom, to discuss the differences between traditional and choice-based art education. As Crowe states, in many conventional classrooms “the art teacher essentially is the artist, and the students just carry out assignments. They are not really independent explorers.” A full transcript (along with audio) of their conversation can be found at http://www.knowledgeloom.org/tab/tab_transcript.html.

The spotlight offers best practices in art teaching illustrated with actual classroom examples.

For more information, call Mary Anne Mather at (800) 521-9550, extension 226.

Friday, November 28, 2003

P. 56: “we need to treat teaching as a form of personal research.” Elliot Eisner

It was very interesting for me to become a choice teacher. I had my little
“bag of tricks” which art education programs give their future teachers. I
found them to be exciting, useful and essential. When given the choice to
participate in these experiences or not, my students, over time let me know
that a good number of these activities were of minimal interest or use to
them. Over time, these experiences have receded, as the observed needs of my
students took their place. The constant feedback available to a choice
teacher is a fascinating, ongoing, real world form of research.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I have friends who are high school art teachers and some of them complain
that their students want to be told what to do and appear to have few
“original” ideas. An examination of the elementary art education that their
students have had can offer clues to the origin of this problem. If
student ideas are peripheral to the work of the art classroom and materials
are controlled by the teacher, students have had little practice in doing
the real work of the artist. It is difficult to begin this process at an
advanced age.
I believe that young children understand that artwork should come from within
them unless they are told differently by an adult. When students first come
into my classroom they are told “artists are people who make images and
structures about things that are really on their mind. I, as your art
teacher, really look forward to getting to know what those things are and to
helping you find a way to “say” them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

P. 48: “When working with students, surprise is always present to some
degree. Therefore, the need for improvisation by the teacher is always
necessary. The surest road to hell in a classroom is to stick to the lesson
plan, no matter what.” Elliot Eisner

Sad to say, I feel that this strict adherence to lesson plans and teacher
ideas is the rule rather than the exception in many elementary and middle
school art classes. This comment is based on
1. Teaching practices of art colleagues in my school system.
2. Comments from my TAB colleagues about the way art is taught in their
systems and, often, about the supervison they receive from their art
directors and/or principals.
3. From workshops at state, regional and national conferences where art
teachers stampede to the “give me a gimmick that I can mimic” presentations.
4. From a reading of the lesson plan ideas presented in Arts and Activities
and School Arts magazines, whose circulations are an expression of their
5. From comments I and other TAB speakers get when we speak at conferences.

Monday, November 24, 2003

by Elliot W. Eisner
New Haven: Yale University Press 2002

p. xiii: “Experiencing the aesthetic in the context of intellectual and artistic work is a source of pleasure that predicts best what students are likely to do when they can do whatever they would like to do.”

P. xiv: “It falls to those of us in education to try to design the situations in which children’s efforts become increasingly more sophisticated, sensitive, imaginative and skilled.”

p. 3:”Work in the arts is not only a way of creating performances and products; it is a way of creating our lives by expanding our consciousness, shaping our dispositions, satisfying our quest for meaning, estpablishing contact with others, and sharing a culture.”

This is what I am reading these days.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

It is important for educators to have a place to connect with each other. Art teachers in particular are very isolated in their schools. We need to create a place for art educators to support and mentor each other.
Best Practices for a Choice-Based Approach to Art Education

These practices, for the most part, are based on research inside and outside the field of art. They draw from well-respected findings in the fields of learning theory, psychology, sociology, and business. Their founding principle is a belief in the importance and impact of personalized learning.
PERSONAL CONTEXT -- Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers students real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through art making.

PEDAGOGICAL CONTEXT -- Choice-based art education supports multiple modes of learning and teaching.

CLASSROOM CONTEXT -- Choice-based art education provides resources and opportunities to construct knowledge and meaning in the process of making art.
ASSESSMENT -- Choice-based art education utilizes multiple forms of assessment to support student and teacher growth.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?