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While participating a monthly departmental critique of A.P. student's work I
came across an interesting dilemma. When analyzing the work of students who
are not in my classes many times knowledge of the assignment is helpful in
the assessment process. How successful does the work fill the structure of
the teacher's guidelines or what aspect of the A.P. portfolio does it
address? Interestingly another view emerged when looking at this work. How
much of what is included within the work, directly or indirectly, is the
result of the teachers influence. When, where or is there a line of too much
As I looked at a well constructed painting I realized that the choice of
colors that made the work successful were simply part of the assignment. The
student didn't choose to use this combination, these colors were just part of
the instructions. Other times what appeared to be the students insight,
(color sophistication) was simply the instructor's advice during the
production process, e.g. "....add more complement to this area so that it
won't be as intense and stand out so far."
But where does it end, how much of the teacher is or should be in student
works, or does it matter and that's why we use the label 'Student Work.'
(some or much of this came from the teacher)
Many times I have taken a pencil or brush and demonstrated within a student
composition, "..this is the way that I would paint this tree, now you choose
how to do the rest." To this approach some of my colleagues react in
disdain, "I would never actually touch an other's work." But to that I ask
the question is our task to teach art by any means possible or is our it our
goal to have our students leave the class with works of art.
How much of the time while we guide our students down the path of creating
art do we put the product's importance, the work itself, in front of the
process of art education?
Santa Monica H.S.