Patricia Knott wrote:
> 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.
I'm always so grateful for your stands on difficult issues. At the HS
level, I favored depth over breadth. With these 5-8th graders, it's
been difficult doing that. The 7th and 8th graders' previous art
teacher seemed to have a lot of "happy hands" activities that would take
only a day or two to complete. After just four days of calligraphy last
week, the 8th graders were "tired" of it--even though they'd only been
practicing basic Italic strokes and letters--and wanted to go on to
something else. I'm sticking to my guns to see that they complete the
simple project, then they will have to choose another alphabet to learn,
along with a more involved project.
However, I question myself daily HOW deep and involved should their
assignments be? Is simply learning the basics of callig enough for this
level, or do go beyond the basics? I only have them for nine weeks, and
there're sooo-oooo many things I want them to learn!
As far as struggle and failure go, I'm all for allowing the students to
veer off the assignment a bit if they want to experiment a bit (as long
as they're not simply trying to take the easy way out). I've found that
they will often challenge themselves with something more difficult than
I thought they could handle. I tell them that even if they don't like
the results, they're not going to fail the assignment because they
tackled something more challenging. Their experiments have inspired a
few students to try it, too, though the majority of the students will
stick with the assignment as I've given it to them.