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[teacherartexchange] Graduate and undergraduate students have much to offer


From: Pam (pgstephens_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Apr 30 2005 - 11:35:16 PDT

>>Those of us in the classroom are very short of time for doing research.
>>Graduate and undergraduate students have much richness to offer, thanks to
>>the ties of the Internet.<<

Yes, I absolutely agree. University students have much to offer if they are
provided opportunities. Re-tooling two courses to make them more
learner-centered and problem-based will be a challenge, but I think that the
outcomes will be well worth the time spent in re-tooling.

I also teach a required junior-level writing course that all art ed and
studio majors take. In trying to make that class worthwhile, one of the
assignments is that studio students produce their artist's statement for
their BFA exhibitions and art ed students produce their philosophy of
teaching. I just don't see the point in university student wasting their
time writing papers that do not contribute to their own needs or the needs
of the educational community. For the other technical writing (expository,
formal analysis, and a research paper), I require that students select an
artist who contributes to their understanding somehow. Studio artists try to
find an artist who connects to their own production while art ed students
might research an artist for use in a later lesson plan.

What I am seeing is that studio students develop thoughtfully planned and
beautifully articulated artist's statements to accompany their BFA shows.
Art ed students are delving deeper into understanding an artist and finding
meaning in artworks. This will translate into better lesson plans later on.

An aside, one of my studio students researched James Turrell this semester.
As an unexpected surprise, Turrell is being granted an honorary doctorate at
next month's commencement. Because of her research, she and other class
members were introduced to his "Roden Crater" that is soon to open near
Flagstaff. We are all very excited to hear and meet Turrell---an excitement
that might not have happened without utilizing the idea of student-produced
problems and solutions.


Pamela G. Stephens, PhD
Northern Arizona University
Art Education
P.O. Box 6020
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6020

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