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Re: Pinch Pot Ideas and Creativity Questions


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 24 2002 - 13:26:48 PDT

Joe Cox wrote:
> That leads me to another question how do you teach creativity? Last year when I gave my students an
> assignment that relied more on their imagination, I was really disappointed in the work (art I and ceramic). I find
> that most of the time the student will fall back on what is safe or what they know, even if it things learned in
> elementary school and not try to take risks with their artwork. How do you over come this obstacle?

My students, though often blessed with a lot of natural talent, tend to
do the same thing. I think it's partly relying on what's safe or a
desire to produce something "good," therefore drawing the same things
they already know they can do. Of course, laziness and insecurity
probably affect some kids, too. Why waste brain cells dreaming up
something new and different?

Years ago, the dancer/teacher Jacques D'Amboise spoke at our state
conference. He was an excellent speaker, and what he said has always
helped me a lot when planning lessons. His main theme was: Art is about
limitations. He gave an example of teaching young people about creative
movement: he told them to simply jump up in the air, landing in the same
place. The boys especially would just jump up stiffly, legs together,
arms held at their sides, and land heavy-footed on the floor. Then he
would ask them to jump again, but add something to the movement that
would still keep them landing in the same spot. A few kids would catch
on, and maybe kick out one leg, or thrust their arms out. Then the
light bulbs would go on and they would start adding more expressive
gestures to that simple jump, still landing in the same spot.

I don't normally give truly open assignments; there are always some
parameters of size, number of colors they can use, types of themes or
subjects, etc. (they're all "landing in the same spot"). Somehow, I
think those limits create sort of a "safety zone" that helps free them
up enough to take risks--do you understand what I'm saying? I'm not
sure I'm wording this well. For those students who enjoy really
stretching the boundaries I modify the assignment so they can forge

Hope this helps...