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Lesson Plans

Re: "I don't have art talent"

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Christine Merriam (
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 11:20:33 -0700

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>Mark Alexander wrote:
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

I have several thoughts on this issue! My students are always saying "I
messed up" or "My work is cheap". I have come up with a retort to
them... "that attitude and language constitute foul language in my
classroom, which is not permitted"... they laugh, but it does stop the
ripples of self deprecation.
Adults who say things like this need to be challenged. I ask them where
they got the impression... and usually find a way to point out that they
are creative problem solvers in some aspect of their lives, which is
another essential aspect of being an artist... so they are artists!
Also, I share the fact that I can render or draw, but prefer to work in
multimedia such as unground pigment (jewelry)... Sometimes this helps.

The thing that is driving me nuts now is the overwhelming majority of my
students who think there is only ONE RIGHT WAY to do things.... which I
fight constantly. The most effective way I am dealing with it is to
praise kids who make a major mistake in following my directions, yet
come up with a creative solution to the problem, which may result in an
artwork that is quite different than my examples.

2+2 might not equal 4 in my classroom :)


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