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Those other subject areas all want children to learn the same stuff (the
same way to spell words, the same way to add, the same dates in history,
etc.). While art educators also, at times, want their students to learn the
same concepts of color mixing, dates in art history, etc., the big
difference is that in most situations we put most of our energy into
encouraging each and every child to develop their own unique approach,
individual interpretation, and creative solutions to problems. There have
been times when I thought to myself that maybe my students would learn
color mixing better if I made them all conform to the same color wheel
pattern and format. So I pre-printed a diagram and tried to supervise paint
mixing very strictly, telling them they had to match my example perfectly.
But as soon as one said "can't I make my color shapes into hearts?", I said
sure, then when another asked if his yellow/green wasn't close enough to my
example to use, even though it was definitely greener, I said OK. I seem to
have an automatic character trait that says no, everything does not ever
always have to be the same. That's why I'm an artist and an art teacher.
And just as hard as it is for me to push conformity, I imagine it is
equally difficult for people very comfortable with conformity to push
individuality. That's why we need K-12 Art teachers! We represent and
encourage a different way of thinking and doing and children need exposure
to these just as much as they need all their school subjects.
Sandra Hildreth <shildret>
C.L.A.S.S. (Cultural Literacy through Art & Social Studies)
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617