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[teacherartexchange] Project Runway


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 18 2006 - 10:57:56 PDT

Hello folks,

I must admit I am finding every ways and means of avoiding what I
have to do before I go back to school. And always , the thought is
what will I do different this year.

I Hate TV and never watch it. I can't tell you anything about the
popular choices or any trivia since the '80's. But, this summer
I've been stuck at home and when I want TV to put me to sleep, I
channel surf.

And I found Project Runway.
I must say I am hooked and have tried to find all episodes I missed.
And, I think, there is something to learn from this show.
(For those of you who don't know, PR is fashion design challenge show)

I am absolutely intrigued with the teaching skills of the Parson's
school expert (Tim Gunn) who oversees the design challenges. His
attitude and insights prod and inspire the contestants. They "wait "
for his approval and his gentle manner is effective. And isn't this
just what we face in the classroom? Sometimes all it takes from
him is "grimace" and a question....

Any how
The problems to solve may be something for us to learn from. I
especially like the " team problems." Teams and group work is
something Ithink we often avoid in art because of the notion that art
is an individual expression. But in the "real world" artists and
designers have to work with all kinds of other opinions and goals.
Learning how to arbitrate, convince, and express the best solutions,
I think , becomes as important, as anything.

I'm looking at all the classes I teach , (and I run the gamut from
Photo to Advanced & AP, to Digital and an aesthetics class) and
ultimately I have to wonder just what it is I want the kids to exit
with? Especially those kids that will not be going on to art careers.
What do I want them to carry with them?

I want most, that they were given a problem to solve, and somehow
found a solution, and somewhere along the line learned that a change
here or there may have made the visual more "readable" or "sellable"
or more of a "twist" on what was or what can be. I want them to
have every opportunity to make a contribution, whether it be
individual or part of a team.

The one thing apparent in all of the contestants of PR is a sense of
self confidence. Even when they get "booted" they believe in
themselves and their abilities. That's what I want to give.


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