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Lesson Plans

Re:"I don't have art talent"

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Becky Alexander (Bekalex)
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 03:43:45 -0800

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Oh, Rosa!!

Thank you!!! This might have worked with me!! I know that I try to do
this with my students and I see the results when I give believable, honest
praise. It's very easy to do. When I think something positive about their
work I say it!! (I monitor carefully all "criticism" and use it to teach

I had one student this year (age 4) who told me "I can't" no matter what I
asked him to do. When he finally wrote his name he was so proud! I was
proud with him! Another student brought me a fairly difficult project one
time, the pride that he'd done it in his eyes. I had no response. I just
looked at him. Looked at it and hugged him. One of my personal "precious
moments." He came to me later and hugged my knees. (!)

Your response, Rosa, is exactly why I subscribe to this list! Thanks again!!


>To Mark and all the others who have been discussing students who feel they
>are not creative or don=B4t have art talent! I feel that I come across this
>problem every so often also. Both from my students at the University
>(teachers department) and have even heard from a five year old; " I cannot
>draw a tree, or a sun or anything else for that matter". I am a firm
>believer of that the best way to aproach this is with "the sword of
>praise", I can honestly say that I have the best success(probably wrong
>spelling) with these student by praising them enough. Of course I so my
>teaching as well, I use the DBAE methods in my teaching even at University.
>And I do believe in the importance of teaching the
>elements of art. But what I feel is the single most important thing to
>battle this is;to praise students. It has of course to be believable, but
>it is so easy. Once you have made a student feel he can do something well,
>something special, something better than before( and this is easy) then
>each time you do this the student grows and to watch this is of course the
>biggest delight to any teacher. I feel that if I do this it really works
>99% of the time. I have had students say they can do nothing of what I
>expect them to and then after finding things to praise them for they
>actually walk out with happiness and feel more competent than when they
>came and most important of all feel ready to come back. Maybe this sounds
>too simple to some of you, but try it. You cannot believe the impact praise
>at the right time of the right thing can do. So remember that to build up
>the confidence , and then with it comes the joy to create, you must make
>your students feel special, that they can do something that is new, better
>or special compared to their previous activities. Hope this makes sense to
>you. Regards from Iceland, Rosa
>>Please accept my apologies if this is a repeated post. I assume it got los=
>>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 othe=
>>>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 enjo=
>>>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 wealt=
>>>>of experiences that I hope the group feels this is an appropriate subjec=
>>>>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 al=
>>>>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 =
>>>>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 he=
>>>>it they catch it too.
>>>>Secondly, how much attention should be given to art work that elementar=
>>>>ed major actually produce?
>>>>My evaluations (for the five of 22 who cared to comment) suggested that =
>>>>standards were too high (too professional) and they felt that any effort
>>>>should be accepted. "After all this is their form of expression" This =
>>>>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 ti=
>>>>would be one solution, but I'm afraid that isn't possible. I have had o=
>>>>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 whe=
>>>>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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