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Lesson Plans

Re: classroom management or misunderstanding forms of resistance?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Teresa Krzeminski (krzemin)
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 20:13:34 -0500

You raise an interesting point. What you are forgetting is that the
original call for help was asking for strategies that work with behavior or
attitude problems in students in the upper level elementary and middle
school age students.
I teach grades 1-8. My time with these students is extremely short. I am
trying to cover a massive amount of information in a comparatively short
amount of time. Most of my students ARE learning that art is hard work,
but they are also learning that it's hard work that they can enjoy doing.
The more I infuse art history into my lessons, the more observant my
students become of the fact that art is all around them. Here's an
example: with my first grade classes (6 and 7 year olds), I did a Piet
Mondrian project. The objective was to enhance ruler use and to introduce
the primary colors through the works of Mondrian. One of the youngest
returned to the next art class with a L'Oreal Studio Line hair spray bottle
of his mothers. He recognized that the design was similar to Mondrian.
I think that 99 percent of my students do not resist. It's the 1 percent
that take instructional time away from the others who must be redirected.
As an educator, I will use the so called archaic forms of classroom
management if the situation requires. I feel that if they are reading
about art or thinking about aesthetic issues, the important thing is they
are still THINKING.
To address your question as to why students are disruptive, I can tell you
this. Sometimes they do know why they act out and they have told me.
Because I ask them what's going on in their life that is making them act
this way. The answers I have gotten are things like they are tired, or
another classmate was bothering them in the previous class, or their mom
left and they don't know when she's coming back. One fifth grade student
who was having big behavior problems was out of school for a few days at a
counseling center. When he returned he came to me because he wanted me to
know that he got help and that he figured out a lot of the reasons for his
behavior. Once I know the reason for the behavior, I can address the issue
and in doing so build a relationship with the student. This has, on more
than one occasion, turned into a feeling that "someone really DOES care
about me in this school." For many, the art room is a place of personal
Lots of my students are very needy emotionally. Only when I know have this
information, can I help this student.
But there are students who themselves don't know the reasons for their
behavior, or at least don't want their teachers to know the reasons. Then
the situation becomes disruptive, because it's affecting the other students
in my class. It's then that the techniques discussed in the many responses
are needed and used. Sometimes when the disruption is removed, the others
can again focus and THINK about what they're doing.
If we, as a society, knew the REASONS behind rebelling, we could solve all
of the world's problems from theft and robbery, to nuclear weapons. What
we have to remember is that we may be teaching someone who could come up
with that answer. I won't let disruptive behavior interfere with that
students education.

> From: kmt127
> To:
> Subject: classroom management or misunderstanding forms of resistance?
> Date: Tuesday, February 10, 1998 1:07 PM
> Much of the discourse on classroom management has focused on the
> of disruptive students, neglecting the more important questions around
> students are disruptive. Even more disturbing is the need for educators
> use studio production as a reward and textual work (reading and writing
> about art) as punishment. What does this do to reinforce the the
> between art, as pleasure, frill, and entertainment, and discourse about
> art, book work, study, reading and writing, as illegitimate hard work
> has little to do with pleasure? Does this reify the notions that those
> engaged in researching and writting about art history, art theory and
> critical discourse are less productive, creative, and important than
> making art (see a number of responses to this listserve)? Does it
> reinforce the notion that art is about doing and not thinking? Does it
> come close to seeking the underlying reasons why a student is rebelling?
> So why are students rebelling? Is it based upon a condemnation of
> underlying repressive ideologies that characterize schooling in general?
> In order to address classroom management we must move away from archaic
> forms of discipline and punishment and try to understand why students are
> resisting certain forms of pedagogy. Can we not discuss how artists
> (some) resist forms of oppression and rebel through their work, in so
> providing a language for students to use when critiquing certain forms of
> schooling?
> Busy work, reading and writing as punishment, and feeding crackers to
> students , as if they were a k-9 salivating at the sound of a bell,
> transmit and legitimate the structure and ideology of schooling as a site
> of useless information and textual knowledge as punishment while limiting
> the potential to readdress student resistance into critical processes of
> challenging the status quo.
> Kevin Michael Tavin Ph.D. Candidate
> Dept. of Art Education
> The Pennsylvania State University
> School of Visual Arts