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Lesson Plans

Re:"I don't have art talent"

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Mark Alexander (Alexander)mamjam)
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 07:15:31 -0500

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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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