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RE: AEN hs rant


From: Hillmer, Jan (hillmjan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Feb 27 2004 - 09:42:31 PST

Is art always fun? Are fun and entertainment always the same thing? Can art classes not be fun? Can art classes be fun and not learning experiences? Once I was told that kids weren't having fun in my art classes. My immediate respnse was "but are they learning?" My long term consideration is that the previous art teacher had a radically different style than mine. Fun + Art It's a thought struggle for me - but so is art. I don;t always have fundoing my art - it's more about personal exploration and expression. WHich then might mean that the art room is where students learn how to express themselves and think about other folks' expressions. What about fun.......?


I have seen this as well. Sometimes I think that we have told them how to compose and arrange with the concepts of good composition and design and they just want to play. It's like maybe I should just let them play and then go on from there. The one's who truly have the gift will more than likely do a good piece because it will seem right, others just want to play and not think.
I once had an art 4 class who was very uptight about their work. I let them use finger paints (from a kindergarten teacher I know) for an entire period. When they had completed this activity they said it was fun using the finger paints, but they had nothing of value to show for it. It got this "play" thing out of their system and they seemed to be more receptive to instruction, where they knew they would be getting a better product. They still liked being able to play. I believe that art students like guide lines and instruction that will give them a good finished product, and when left alone, they will play but eventually come back to a more thought out work that will give them some pride.
Ken Schwab
Art teacher, Leigh High School, San Jose, CA
Website: <>