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Although I am not currently teaching AP art history in a high school setting,
I am conducting research regarding different approaches for presenting art
history in various environments. In short, the ideas evolve around
empowering the students to make and develop their own connections and links,
while encouraging the teachers to become facilitators.
- Consider starting with what interests THEM. Next, let them research
artists, events, ideas, and places that connect and relate. Empower them to
take charge of finding the information, making the connections, and
presenting their findings to the class. The information can be compiled and
presented as a "mind-map," or on a computer using an HTML or video program
(Adobe Pagemill and Premiere are pretty easy to learn and use). Research and
presentations can be (and perhaps should be) highly interdisciplinary and
- Every community has local artists. Invite several local artists to work
with your students, share their ideas, their work, their processes. Ask each
student to select one aspect of the artist's work (an idea, a process, a
theme, a topic, etc.) and to curate a virtual exhibition based on this
element. I did this with a college-level art history class and they LOVED
it. They said, however, that it was much more difficult than if I told them
who and what to study ... they had to THINK about and make their OWN CHOICES.
- Work collaboratively with a local museum or gallery. Have students select
a work from the collection to research, to make connections, and then create
a work in response to their findings. Donate their research to the museum or
gallery, thereby making the student's work "real." Work with the museum or
gallery to enable the students to curate an exhibition based on the works of
art they select and investigate. Again, when I tried this the students said
it was more challenging, but they felt as if their work had more validity,
more importance, and that it was more "real."
Just a few more ideas to add to the growing list!
communities, organizations, education, technology
Elizabeth B. Reese
415-B Peoples Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
fax - 361.883.9905