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Lesson Plans

Re:"I don't have art talent"

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Mark Alexander (Alexander)mamjam)
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 08:16:39 -0500

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Please accept my apologies if this is a repeated post. I assume it got lost
out there somewhere. I sent it out to the list on Friday morning, but 24
hours later I still haven't seen it come in on the list. In any event, I'd
like to pay my two cents now.


>Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 07:15:35 -0500
>To:nalin (Nalin), artsednet
>From:(Mark Alexander) mamjam
>Subject:Re:"I don't have art talent"
>Dear Lorena and ArtsEdNet,
>Comments such as "I am not creative" "I have no artistic ability" or other
>self depricating comments are much too often heard. This seems to be a
>pervasive attitude, that can spread like the flu. It saddens me to find
>people who claim to "have absolutly no talent" and who "can't draw a
>straight line," especially amongst the staff in the school where I teach.
>I frequently comment on it in the teacher's room, and have asked them to
>NOT betray these feelings to their studnts. It is my belief that the
>teachers these teachers had (art or otherwise) in elementary and high
>school did not provide opportunities to for take risks and simply to enjoy
>the journey of drawing and art making. I would like to adjust this
>attitude for the future generations, starting in my classroom. Are there
>any ArtsEdNetters who have ideas and suggestions on how to do this? Does
>anyone have suggestions for what to say to adults who have this attitude
>problem? Please post to the group. Thanks Lorena, for bringing this
>important issue up. I am going to change the subject line to read: "I
>don't have art talent"
>"If you think you can, you can...if you think you can't, then you can't."
>Mark Alexander
>Lee H. Kellogg School
>Falls Village, CT 06031
>At 11:06 PM 2/20/97, Nalin wrote:
>>This list is always so willing to suggest ideas and has had such a wealth
>>of experiences that I hope the group feels this is an appropriate subject
>>for this list. I have a couple of things on my mind that just keep
>>pestering me because I not sure how to address some issue that have
>>occurred in the art methods class I am teaching for Elementary Education
>>First is the continual reference by these students that they "are not
>>creative" "have no artistic ability" or some similar statement when the
>>creation art work is presented. I do include their art work prodcuts along
>>with other assignments to determine their grade. But I have tried to
>>lessen their "level of concern" by including many types of assignments
>>(such as creating a game to teach/introduce or reinforce art concepts or
>>written activities) along with the art work.
>>It seems to me that this is some thing like the crutch I use to explain my
>>poor spelling abilities. I love to excuse myself by saying, I'm an
>>"inventive speller" or "Artist don't need to spell, they make pictures."
>>but the bottom line is, I do have to put some effort into spelling and
>>often have to use the dictionary. How off base am I? And how can I
>>re-direct this thinking? It is almost like the flu, when one student hears
>>it they catch it too.
>>Secondly, how much attention should be given to art work that elementary
>>ed major actually produce?
>>My evaluations (for the five of 22 who cared to comment) suggested that my
>>standards were too high (too professional) and they felt that any effort
>>should be accepted. "After all this is their form of expression" This has
>>me questioning my expectations. Personally, I do not feel that I expect
>>any more from them than say a high school freshmen level, but given the
>>time constraints of one semester there are gaps in their understanding
>>especially of design concepts. Critical concepts are covered and
>>demonstrated but the connections do not seem to be internalized. More time
>>would be one solution, but I'm afraid that isn't possible. I have had only
>>four production assignments in the past and this term only three. I
>>suppose, it could be "whiney" attitudes that I am encountering this year
>>(since had not felt this way in classes I taught in '93-'95)
>>I would really like to know, how others have dealt with these situations.
>>Maybe to the group, these really aren't issues, but I feel perplexed when
>>thinking how to go about keeping their success level high and still
>>maintain the level of quality work.
>>Lorena Nalin
>>Adjunct instructor
>>(quite possible for the last semester)

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