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Lesson Plans

Re: Is it the product or the process?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 10:45:51 -0400

In response to the question of how much input the teacher should have into
"Student Art/School Art", I'm glad this issue has been raised. In writing
curriculum, I've been dealing with the discrepancy between what we say and
what we do. When we discuss aesthetics and try to get kids to understand what
art is, it must be very confusing when we never allow them to actually BE
artists. I have come to the conclusion that I would like teachers to
understand and communicate the difference between "skill-builders" and
"art-making activities". When we ask 23 kids to draw a scene using 2-point
perspective, can we really call that art? No, but it can be argued that it
is an important thing to teach. But there must another step. Once they've
learned the skills that artists use, they need to be afforded the opportunity
to include or exclude those skills in their own work. I like the analogy
I've heard about skills (perspective techniques, color theory, etc) being
related to vocabulary words. Once they understand the meaning of the word
and how to use it, they can synthesize them into a sentence all their own to
express themselves (not to express something on the part of the person who
taught them the word). So if we teach kids tricks of the trade that we know,
we should also respect them enough to allow them to make artistic decisions
for themselves. Therefore the criteria for a lesson can be much broader. An
example would be studying Faith Ringgold's work as personal narratives and
having students explore that function of art. What can they tell us about
themselves through their art?

Kathryn Cascio