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How important are Ps and Es if they miss the BIG IDEAS?


From: Judith Decker (jdecker4art_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 05:36:03 PDT

Greetings ArtsEdNetters,

I was going to stay out of the current Ps and Es
thread for high school. I have thrown my hat in many
times.... so I am just going to let Amanda Linn keep
talking - She sent this to me and gave me permission
to post it.

From Amanda:

I think art education is headed for big trouble if we
don't take off our narrow blinders and start making
obvious connections to what about studying/making art
can potentially make a student a "better" adult. We
pay the concept a lot of lip service- "oh visual art
is so important- children get to express themselves"
but don't go further than that and certainly don't
back it up enough with concrete examples.

And then she added this in her reply back to me:

I don't pretend to know everything, but I know what
makes sense to me- and I am always examining research
that supports as well as doesn't support what makes
sense to me. I think there are people out there who
are doing work with students that is similar to what I
have tried to do with my students- I think that we are
not the ones that always take time to speak up and I
guess we should- and SUPPORT what we do with EVIDENCE
and be able to articulate WHY art matters. Truth is,
most of what we do is difficult to quantify with
numbers and charts- which is what some people want and
need to see to believe- BUT we can be more vigilant in
asking students to respond to art and art experiences,
documenting those responses. Assume that students of
all ages can tackle complex problems....

As I always ask- What is going to matter in the next
50 years?

My being able to perfectly shade a sphere?
My knowing a lot of facts about color theory?
My memorzing all the elements and principles so I can
pass a test only to forget them a day later?

My experiencing the concentration, observation and
patience it takes to create marks on a surface as it
relates to a personal art work?
Experiencing the effects of color in my inner and
outer world?
Developing critical thinking and observation skills so
I can not only see how the elements and principles of
art are used to communicate the intention of the
artist but also so I can see an image (or read text)
in the newspaper, magazine, on the internet, or on
television and DECIDE FOR MYSELF what that image (or
text) might mean and how does that meaning effect me-
does it manipulate me? enrage me? comfort me? trouble
Back to Judy....

For those who want Ps and Es examples in isolation -
the posters from Crystal Productions are very good -
money well spent (see page 4 and 5). You get all 14
posters (17" x 22") for only $59.95. Just imagine how
much time it is going to take you to make you own? I
didn't dwell very long on each element and
principle...We got right down to business making art -
and the Es and Ps were meshed in (as well as
aesthetics and such). I didn't have time to drill as I
only saw the kiddies for 12 weeks - and most of them
for only one twelve week session during their middle
school years. Oh sure- the high school teachers
complained that the kiddies didn't "know anything"
when they got them....but I never heard them complain
about "work ethic" (the kiddies worked hard to learn
it their way then). There were so many kids wanting to
take art in high school they had to turn them away.

I went for meaning first... We also valued our
time...Art takes time to make. See what you can do to
value the artist's time. Artists I talked to at Ann
Arbor weren't selling much this year. We need more
buyers of art. More to come on this topic.

Judy Decker

Judy Decker
Incredible Art Department
Incredible Art Resources

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