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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Dec 08 2002 - 09:04:19 PST

Woody writes:
> My district wants me to include exemplars I use with my lessons. By that they
> mean "examples of student work". I seldom use examples of other students
> art when introducing a lesson. I don't want students to copy ideas done
> in previous years. I want to foster creativity and innovation. I have tried
to explain
> to the school district that the term "exemplar" is special to me as a
> art educator.
> I have always tried to teach my lessons
> around "exemplars" (reproductions of important art images) and that term
> is important in my teaching. I hate to see the meaning of the term
> diluted by it's use to mean a good example done by a student.

Yes, apparently the term "exemplar' means to show examples of proficiencies
to meet the standards. Just another reason why the standards are not so
great when it comes to creativity. What about the kid that knows he /she
will never obtain excellent according to the example shown?
I don't even show historical examples until after the student production is
done. The historical is used to point out that there are universals, that
themes run across eras, and interpretation is a matter of personal

I think this goes along with the other thread running this list about "lazy
juniors." What I think is happening is an abuse of the "group activity"
idea. At least where I am, in the middle schools everything is "group."
When we get them in the high school, they don't know how to think for
themselves. I'm not talking about art, but the core subjects. I see kids
that have been dependent on the group to make decisions, or in fact
dependent on a strong member of the group that makes all the decisions and
does the work. Individual responsibility has been taken away from our
students... show them an example of what they have to do for an A, a C a D
and they will do just what they have to... to get just what they have to.

So, I ask? How do we set high expectations without the intimidation of
examples that will only be copied? How do we set expectations of discovery?
and how do we show what practice and learning is all about?