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Re: thanks...student character


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Dec 06 2003 - 11:52:53 PST

I've been thinking a lot recently about what Larry S. says about "student
Most of the time I can hardly blame the kids. They are used to a world of
enabling and instant reward and we are guilty in fostering that. There is
certainly nothing wrong with building self esteem and giving every
opportunity for success and even saying every thing they do is wonderful
but I wonder too, if the lessons in failure are not as well esteem building.
Success in art making is half about the materials and understanding the
capabilities of the materials to fulfill the idea and art making is about
understanding that sometimes the choices of the materials fail.
It is a dilemma facing the kid who has put effort into a project only to
learn that the technique was inadequate. But that is how we learn----
through failures. I too, remember my college instructors who would smash a
piece, or draw on my drawing or tear it up and say everything you do is
not so precious Kids think their 15 minutes of invested time is like
dealing with precious! and it only made me try harder.
God forbid I should touch a kid's work they will cry and parents will

I came across this article in Education Week

In Defense of Failure
By Jessica Hoffmann Davis

>> A frequent rationale for including the arts in education is that they provide
>> opportunities for success to children who do not succeed in other areas. I
>> have been thinking that an equally good reason is that they provide
>> opportunities for failure to children who succeed in other areas. Indeed, the
>> arts provide opportunities for failure for all kinds of children. This may be
>> one of the most important reasons they should be included on a regular basis
>> in general education.
>> Making sense in, through, and of art is demanding work, requiring the use of
>> sensibilities and skills not central to performance in other disciplines.
>> Even
>> as arts education advocates struggle to demonstrate that arts learning
>> provides opportunities for using problem-solving, critical- thinking, or
>> metacognitive skills that may be useful in non-arts subjects, the arts pose
>> unique challenges to learners, challenges for which non-arts subjects may not
>> have prepared them well.
> "Every mistake is on purpose. Figure
>> it out!"
Don't all our children deserve the opportunity to experience failure in a
medium that invites revision and growth?

I have no answers to Larry's thoughts, I suspect thinking process is some
old fogie idea in this age of push buttons. I only continue to give more
weight to process than I do to slick results. Any day, I would much rather
have a kid who struggles through the process than one who can mimic what has
been done. It's the struggle that will ultimately make the statement even
if I don't see it.