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Re: [teacherartexchange] Learning by copying?


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_6_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 17 2008 - 10:41:50 PDT

I always hate this issue. I think most "talented " kids start out by
copying and then somebody recognizes and tells them they are talented
and they get stuck in a comfort place. Getting to the next step
becomes a problem.
Most kids can't even copy- so I think it shouldn't even be something
that comes into the basic levels of art instruction. Of course,
there is a rich history of serious art students copying the masters,
but that includes an analysis of the master's process, thinking, and
applications of historical perspectives.

What is the point of copying? .... to get a product with some kind
of sense of accomplishment?
Instead, can't we pose problems with multiple solutions and make the
pride in the idea?

I worked in all kinds of art and design jobs for 20 something years
before I started teaching. What I learned was that skill was not
as important as ideas. I did plenty of jobs where my skills paid my
rent, but the jobs that required my ideas is were I made my
progress. There is always some one who can make something look
good.. there aren't that many "someones" who know how to get an idea.
> what do you want to have students accomplish if they do copy/
> imitate? What will they gain?

I deal with curriculum all the time. I have to put the standards into
the curriculum . When I look at lesson plans across the board it's
always mostly about the product. There are 6 Standards....

1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

2. Using knowledge of structures and functions

3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

4. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of
their work and the work of others

6. Making connections between visual arts and other discipline

  but I think the "weight" in giving kids the opportunity to succeed
is not distributed in 6 ways. Why can't a kid who is very good at #4
get the same regard as as the kid who can make it well? I have had
lots of students who love the history and the criticism and
connections and they get their own opportunities at the art show as
guides, reviewers, display makers. Accommodating all the interests
and styles is what IS differentiation in the art classroom.

Copying has nothing to do with Standard 3
> Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to
> communicate meaning

I'm going to be bold and say that copying doesn't accomplish anything
but refrigerator art. Teaching kids how they they can take/steal,
abrogate, transform, translate, mutilate, and connect is how we can
measure learning. I really think , if we think we are making life-
long learners and future consumers, we have to be absolutely
sensitive to how each child responds in the art room and give every
opportunity for each child to be successful in one of the standards.

Awhile back Marvin asked about to incorporate team/group work in the
art room. I f we put all the kids on design teams and let them copy
and sound off from each other, then we may best be able to
incorporate true brainstorming and idea generation.

I'm just thinking out loud here, I think that's what is best about
these lists.

On Aug 17, 2008, at 9:49 AM, Jeff Pridie wrote:

>> Do you allow
>> your students to copy as part of the learning process? If
>> not, why?
> Andrea,
> Thank you for posing this question again at the beginning of the
> school year as it makes all pause and "think" our position on this
> issue. So many are impassioned by the "originality", "copying"
> issue. There are the purest and those who are not.
> I think the bottom line on this issue is what do you want to have
> students accomplish if they do copy/imitate? What will they gain?
> If they do not copy/imitate? What will they gain?
> Another point here is for students to be honest with viewers if
> they have copied or imitated a work of art. They have re-created
> the image using their own skill level and techniques but the
> original image was not their own. The same thing can be said if
> they trace or opaque a piece of work. Drawing the line between free
> hand drawing and using devices. Honesty of how the image came
> about, was produced is something I think is the core of the
> debate. Some students the copy/imitate is about the only level
> they will get at while other students will migrate to the original
> concept. We as teachers have to facilitate the movement to original
> but also be mindful some students by their own learning style or
> commitment may never reach that level (not penalize them because
> they cannot).
> I wonder how many "Artist" could come to terms with some of these
> same questions about copying/imitation? How honestly they could
> examine their own processes?
> Jeff (Minnesota)

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