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Lesson Plans

Re: Marginalization & behavior

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Gary Bogus (gbogus)
Fri, 13 Feb 1998 20:15:39 -0800

Right on! Thanks for the real-world input. Please take a look at the work
of Tim Rollins and KOS (kids of Survival) There is some dispute in some
circles about his work with disenfranchised kids; real-life success always
sparks debate. The bottom line is that their work is excellent- museum
quality- and he runs a real tight ship. Those kids can never go back to the
'hood the same. Also, when talking to folks who survive seriously deprived
childhoods in urban America, I note that they feel that schools have failed
them not because they denied them their voice, but because they failed to
provide an enviroment any less chaotic than the one they faced at home.
This is one reason why parochial schools, with their "love the sinner but
hate the sin" authoritarian atmosphere, have been far more successful than
urban public schools in providing a safe and successful learning
environment. (Not to say that your school, if public, is not)

I have been a major gad-fly in the town vs, gown dispute, so I will use
this time to clarify some responses:

1) "management" (in olden days called discipline) is everyone's least
favorite teching job.

2) Teachers teach art because they love it. No one likes being in a class
because they "have to". Teachers who love art are surprised when kids (for
whatever reason) don't. This becomes a big issue when we lobby to have art
for all the kids; we all too often get kids who don't want to be there.

3) Huge changes in what and how art is taught are to our benefit.
Multicultural inclusion - once a radical idea- is part of all good art
instruction, as is the inclusion of crafts and folk arts. More and more I
am hearing that "my granny-uncle-father is an artist" because they make
quilts, paint murals, or, in one instance, was a highly respected
chopped-car designer.

4)Art is no longer just studio production. Early in this discussion I
mentioned a terrible fifth grade class which was a disaster in studio
production, but who loved to discuss and write about art. Who are we to say
that everyone should be hands-on artists? The best part about DBAE is that
it lets kids be critics, (societal AND artistic!) historians and
aestheticians. Why does writing about art have to be punishment? For some
children, it is safer and more radical than production. Why force them to
do something they see themselves failing in when they can succeed somewhere
else? Is this a lesser "art?"

On this topic, I hope that some doctoral research will be made available to
us in how to work with marginal youth who have difficulty with studio
production because art making is not part of their home know,
making art is "gay". Not everything they learn at home is helpful....or

The biggest misunderstanding that my part of the discussion has spawned is
that somehow misbehavior belongs only to the marginal and underclass. I am
sure that everyone will agree that poor classroom behavior occurs at all
schools, across social and economic lines. Priviledged kids can behave just
as badly as the underpriviledged, sometimes for the same reason, sometimes
different. Four great rules I learned while working with seriously
emotionally disturbed teens, and which have served me well as a parent,

*talk to your kids, and LISTEN when they talk

*offer kids choices whenever possible

*set firm limits, and stick to them (and yes, your limits may be different
from Betty-down-the-hall; kids need to know that everyone is different and
different limits should be repected! )

*keep your sense of humor

Anyone have others to add?

J. in Berkeley