I teach art to first grade students. When I am demonstrating a project, I
try to make my example as "generic" as possible, and talk about it as being
just one idea.I don't leave my example up, because I don't want 22 clones
of my idea. I usually give some clear guidelines or frameworks for what
I'm looking for, but always leave them lots of room for individual choices.
I generally ask for some ideas from students, as well. If possible, I
also show some student examples. I also make generous use of visuals; for
example, if we are doing drawings of animals, I have many photographs or
posters of animals up to use as inspiration, as well as art reproductions
with animal subject matter. As students are working, I continually
circulate the room, talking to and asking students about their ideas,
sometimes giving suggestions. I talk about the interesting ideas I see
happening and how wonderful it is that everyone's work doesn't look the
same; (wouldn't it be BORING if everyone's work looked the same?). I also
will ask at various times for everyone to get up and step back from their
work so they get a different vantage point; telling them this is a process
artists use to evaluate their piece; sometimes you can tell what else needs
to be done when you look from a distance.
As far as what aspects of art production do I consider most important; in
general, I am interested in how they are able to use their own ideas. An
interesting piece to this has been using the aesthetics game "token
response"; where students judge artworks on different criteria such as
originality, neatness, how long it takes to make the art, would this look
good in your home, etc. It gives another aspect to talk about as far as
the focus of a particular piece of artwork. I don't know if that makes
sense to anyone else, but it does to me.
I'm very interested to hear other people's responses to these questions.