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Re: Decreasing Arts Enrollment

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From: Sid Miller (sidmill_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 15:51:39 PST


Hi Leo, I think that many of us walk a delicate balance between making our
classes real and entertaining the kids. It's easy to design a totally
comprehensive course--most of us can look at our college classes and go from
there, but remember that only a few of your students will be art majors. Many
kids just choose art because they like it or like you or their friends are
there, and they have no particular skills, and really no great interest. Any
time the assignments get difficult they don't produce or don't get it or don't
care. Many of my classes have a majority of kids like this--or at least a
good minority. They are also often kids who are not motivated by grades and
have no discipline and just want to be cool in art. I would like to run over
them many days, but then, they are better off in our art classes than out on
the streets breaking windows etc. I always feel like this is a popularity
contest, and my fellow teacher across the hall and I always make sure that we
display our work out in the halls, run our classes in a loose way, listen to
music, talk, move about--a nice pleasant relaxing environment--what I would
choose regardless. We allow these unmotivated kids to stay with us and are
always nice to them--not to say we will give them grades--many will flunk. We
have as many foundations classes as we can squeeze in (we already teach a 7
period day--whew!) We run an open studio class at night for anyone who want
to come and work. We promote our classes when spring scheduling starts. I
often hear teachers on this list saying that they won't compromise their
principles etc., but there simply are not enough serious artist students in a
school population to fill all periods for your art teachers. We do provide a
serious atmosphere for those who seem motivated but we make many others feel
very welcome. We have the most popular classes in school and work hard to
keep it that way. When scheduling time comes, ask all your students who they
know in school that is a really good artist. If they're not in art classes,
find them and invite them--talk them into it. Many talented artists never
take art classes because they are on college bound schedule and the counselors
will always tell them to take another science to look more competitive for
college. Make sure you stay on good terms with your guidance
counselors--bring them cookies--paint signs for them--tell them to put kids in
your class. Make murals in the hallways--kids always love to be a part of
permanent stuff. Promote!! Sid

LEO DAVINCE wrote:

> Looking for anyone that is experiencing the constant
> challenge of keeping Arts course alive in Secondary
> Schools. Are your enrollments going down? How are

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