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Lesson Plans

Re: Is it the product or the process?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Weis (othrweis)
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 09:42:45 -0500

>April 1996
>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
>teacher involvement?
>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?
>David Wood
>Santa Monica H.S.

In response to David Wood's comments on product or the Process, I would
like to raise another set of questions. As studio faculty at the college
level I and my colleagues are asked each year to consider AP portfolio work
for potential college credit in our program. The quality of the portfolios
that we see vary widely even though they have received highly favorable
assessments. Usually there is no additional documentation from the student,
only the work itself. Not only do we wonder about the faculty role in
constructing the work in the portfolio, but we also have no idea of the
processing of ideas that resulted in the artifact that we have before us.
When we interview the students after separately reviewing their work we
most often find them ill prepared to discuss the ideas behind the work or
to give us any insight into the context or nature of the course itself.
Personally I would like to have a course syllabi attached to the portfolio
with goals and objectives, some background about how the course was
structured, faculty names and numbers where they might be contacted, and
something that would allow us to see this particular students work in
context with other work from the same class. The latter might be done by
simply providing photographs of work in the context of a group crtique or
in images of the class in session. Our job is not only to assess objects
that result from class work, but to try to assess the level of development
that a student has achieved in processing their own ideas.

Dick Weis
professor of Art
Green Mountain College
Poultney, Vermont