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Re: [teacherartexchange] REALLY! Elephant paints self-portrait


From: Anne Verrier Scatolini (avscatolini_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Apr 09 2008 - 21:13:17 PDT

Bravo on your teaching to the test comparison...are we training
circus animals in our schools...? unfortunately yes
On Apr 8, 2008, at 8:55 PM, Marvin Bartel wrote:

> Thanks for sharing this.
> It is a video where we see the elephants drawing and painting to
> entertain tourists in Thailand.
> How do we imagine their trainers taught them?
> My guess is that they use step-by-step art lessons. They use the
> standard behavior management teaching practices written about by B.
> F. Skinner who also invented teaching machines. I am sad to
> observe that these method also describe what some teachers are
> using in our schools. This is teaching for the test and to cover
> content standards.
> If I allow kids to do copying, work from drawing formulas, if I
> show them how things should look, if I show examples before the
> lesson, if I make suggestions, etc., am I using appropriate methods
> for training obedient animals to perform tricks to impress an
> onlooker? Kids love to please me if it gets the candy coated
> praise rewards. Even others who have not learned the tricks will
> praise them. This is behavior management to please the expert, the
> tourist, etc.
> I would rather see kids learn to think on their own by creating
> their own art in response to their own ideas and concerns. Can I
> teach and reward idea generation, experimentation techniques,
> imagination rather than imitation, and honest observation skills?
> Can I reward independent thinking and avoid teaching for tests that
> only test the ability to parrot things back.
> Next time students come to me for suggestions on how to improve
> their artwork, can I ask them a thinking question about the artwork
> instead of giving them my ideas about how it should look? Can I
> ask them to try an experiment that would help them learn to figure
> out or discover which way to solve the problem. Can humans become
> independent thinkers who are able to draw well because they have
> had an art teacher that has shared the secrets of learning to see,
> observe, and express---not because they were trained on some how-it-
> should-look drawing formulas?
> Marvin
> Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
> Adjunct Instructor in Art Education
> Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
> studio phone: 574-533-0171
> "Art is me when I am myself." ... a kindergarten girl when asked,
> "What is art?"
> "You can't never know how to do it before you never did it
> before." ... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.
> ---
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