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Lesson Plans

Re:"I don't have art talent"

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craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 23:18:13 -0500

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I have certainly enjoyed where this discussion has gone...which originated
with Lorena's posting about her elementary education students and has
evolved into a larger realm of dealing with students' fears about drawing
and the creative process. I appreciate hearing various teachers' schemes
for dealing with this problem. Whether we use the popular "left/right
brain" approach or some other method, I feel it all comes down to the issue
of motivation. Without the desire or "fire in the belly," students are
going to be resistant to our attempts to engage them in drawing or some
creative act. In short, they gotta want to do it!

I feel this is particularly true with older students and adults who no
longer experience joy in working with art materials. For me, this group is
a real challenge. Like other art teachers, I have a "bag of tricks" I use
to dissolve some of the fears expressed by my students e.g., I have a
"magic wand" which I wave over them while chanting and telling them I'm
giving them a "special power" that will enable them to be creative...(but,
its only good for an hour so they better get to work ;^) I also tell them
there is always an element of risk involved in the creative act and that
having to face a blank sheet of paper can INDEED be a scary thing. But,
rather than allowing our fear to control us, we need to forge ahead! Sure,
we MAY not acheive our goal. But, every artist studio is littered with work
that "didn't work" for some reason or another. I'm reminded of a quote
from Thomas Edison that went something like "....I have not failed. I've
just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I feel that one of the obstacles we have to get over with our students is
the notion that everything they do in art class will be a masterpiece. Even
Picasso had bad days! I think the use of process-portfolio assessment
helps in this regard in that students keep a record of their sketches,
first attempts, successes, failures and works in progress. I also feel
having students evaluate their work from time to time and suggest ways
pieces may be improved puts alot of the responsibilty for their performance
and development on their own shoulders.

It's a wonderful thing to see some students break through their fears over
the semester and experience the "joy of creating." But, it's also sad to
see some other students who leave class with their walls of fear pretty
much intact. For them, the "magic wand" didn't work. I suppose it's true
"you can lead a student to water, but you can't make him drink."


P.S. This quote seems more appropriate here:

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within
himself. Galileo

CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax

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